Monday, November 23, 2015
Popo de Elefante
At the end of October we invited a few friends around for a light spot of Halloween cheer. We even had a theme - worst nightmares in food and dress.
Unfortunately for us, my "agoraphobia" costume suffered a fatal structural failure half an hour before the party started (the damned pigeon fell off my head), and on a warm October night, Mr "Arachnophobia" Tabubil flatly refused to wear 6 inches of fiberfill around his chest. To show willing, he hot glued a few wads of stuffing and a couple of spiders to and old t-shirt. He looked a nightmare all right - a nightmare of last-minute design, and he lost his temper along with his stuffing.
That's sort of how the evening went. Our friend Sal - rather a man's man - had found the food something of a stretch. He's not a natural cook, so I set him a simple quiche - eggs, cheese and icky food coloring in a pre-made bought pastry shell. Half an hour before the party (right when I was wrestling pigeons) he called from the supermarket in a panic - the recipe had been in imperial measurements and he'd converted everything to grams to eight decimal places, but he was having trouble figuring out what sort of eggs he should buy - vitamin fortified? Omega 3? Grade AA? Grade A? Did he need to buy a baking dish?
He arrived at the party 45 minutes late, looking cross and flustered. He handed me a bag of chips and a jar of salsa.
"The whole afternoon's been a horror show." He said sourly. "I hate supermarkets. Why didn't you tell me that a quiche has too cook for an hour? Believe me, the chips count."*
*Speaking of horror shows, you wouldn't believe what a little pulverized walnut does to the look of guacamole. It's unspeakable. Five stars and two hearty thumbs up. I recommend it for all your holiday parties.
And then there was the dessert. Mr Tabubil and I own a recipe for chocolate mousse. I may have mentioned it once or twice before, in passing. To do it right, you soak raisins in rum for an entire week beforehand and you use rather a lot of heavy cream -
A triple batch of it makes a rather nice bowl of popo de elephante (elephant poop.): a voluptuous tureen of turds, studded with oozing alcoholic raisins, the heavy smell of rum rising up like drunken heat in summer* from the swirl of well-set soup -
*I might have used two full cups of rum in the raisins, and I might have tipped what was left in the bottle into the bowl as I stirred. Waste is a terrible thing.
After a couple of hours staring at the guacamole, our guests ate lots of it. With a pleasantly buzzy fruit drink on the side. The blood-red ice hand floating in the punch bowl was a nifty touch. They giggled. And drank some more. And ate a second helpings of the mousse -
Not to put too fine a point on it, a lot of our guests got pished.
One young lady had three glasses before we caught her. She giggled, climbed carefully onto the sofa and closed her eyes - right next to Sal - who is Bermudan and treats his relationship with rum like a religion, but who was lying with his head on the back of his chair and his feet up on hers, sort of snoring, and cradling his third bowl of elephant poop.
We really had radically overestimated how much mousse we'd need for a party of 12, and the next morning we still had a couple of liters of the stuff.
We gave it to our neighbors. They brought the bowl back the very next day - licked clean.
Looking at us sort of anxiously, "That was the best dessert" they said "that we have ever had in our lives - would you like a plant?"
And they thrust a potted fern at our chests.
It must have been some seriously good mousse.