What's in a name? As it turns out, absolutely everything.
If, for example, this were the International Incident Spreads Party, or the Tortes Party - or even the Cheese Party - what I have made here would be a modest success. The bottom layer is a goat and cream cheese mousse, lightly flavored with fresh cherry juice. On the top perches a layer of goat cheese and fromage blanc mousse, dotted with fresh chopped basil. There is a scrumptious sour cherry spread from Croatia's Dalmatian Coast sandwiching the two layers together, and the whole lot is topped with crumbled pistachio. Tastes good, and with a bit of set design it even looks sort of pretty. But nonetheless, this wiggly loaf is a failure.
Alas, this month's party - hosted as ever by our lovely hostess and founder, Penny aka Jeroxie - is a terrine party. And as a terrine, my dish is an unqualified disaster.
It's entirely my fault. Terrines require patience and planning, and lately, between work and my personal life I have not had the luxury to employ either one of those admirable qualities, particularly not when it comes to my cooking. Making a terrine is fussy and more like baking than savory cooking generally is, in that one must stick to amounts and recipes and procedures and ratios to avoid a mess. I did none of those things, and a mess is just what I got. My top layer was too heavy for my bottom layer, and it squeezed the cherry spread out and down the sides of the bottom layer, causing unsightly dripping and massive slippage in the process.
For once, though, I am not beating myself up about something turning out less that perfect. I'll learn proper terrine technique when I take garde manger in the spring, and frankly I think I will need that sort of enforced classroom discipline to ever have one come out in the artistic and symmetrical way that they should, as I am not naturally drawn to making one. In general, I am more of a play-it-fast-and-loose sort of cook.
But wait, Trix, you may be saying: Your dish looks lovely in the photos. Well, yes, it does (if I do say so myself) but that is really proof of the power of photography to mask flaws rather than any comment on the value of my dish.
After all, this lovely glamour shot:
...came from this cheesy carnage (Note the toothpicks holding the layers together! How very un-terrinelike):
Who knew food blogging could teach us so much about perspective?
To see what everyone else brought to the party, make sure to check out the links below.