Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yes We Cater! ( A Mouse Bouche Goes Public)

Dear Mouse,

People keep asking me how to subscribe to our blog. What's the best way to let them all know that they can simply enter their email address in the "Subscribe" box to the right (scroll down)?

Oh, there we go.

So ... we did it! I feel almost exactly as if we opened a show on broadway to rave reviews! Well, no, really, way OFF broadway, and then at theatre festivals around the world, and THEN back to one of NYC's most beloved venues finally to mount a groundbreaking production that had been denied the rights to open here for years - Oh wait, no, that's Elevator Repair Service, the brilliant downtown theatre company known primarily for their luminous stagings of great american novels and their excellent taste in desserts.

We are not caterers, but we played them on Monday for the ERS benefit.
Let's recap, shall we? The rehearsal process AND the show.

Friday Night: Tiny Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Boo is dying to make these little sweets and The Mouse suggests an added sprinkle of coarse sea salt. We've never made the before, and so we read almost every one of the conflicting user reviews online (not recommended). Follow the recipe exactly,it's perfect. Don't follow the recipe; add 1/4 cup of flour. They're too crispy. They're not crispy enough. (My fave, from someone in Russia: 'Replace the chocolate chips with raisins and grated swiss cheese.' ???!!!) We decide these people are all crazy (swiss cheese???) and we will follow the recipe exactly. The result? They are FLAT FLAT FLAT and crumble at the lightest touch. !!! Take it from us; you should add 1/4 C flour to the recipe. The next batch is perfect.

The Boo forgets to sprinkle sea salt on at least two batches before baking. We'll serve them anyway. Whatever. The Mouse yells at The Boo for eating batter.

Saturday morning - Spicy Chocolate Bacon Bark!
The first HOT HOT weekend of the year! Let's celebrate by ... .baking! for hours ! in a tiny kitchen! And, since it's going to reach 90 degrees, why don't we make the one item in the menu that must. be. kept. cold. or will become Floating Bacon Goop Smeared on Kitchen Table. This is the one item we kind of made up ourselves, so it has to go well. We melt bags of chocolate, put trays of bacon in the oven, pour/spread chocolate onto parchment paper, sprinkle cayenne on bacon, crumble and scatter over the chocolate, and chill it. Once it's solid, the Mouse breaks up the bark with scary knife while The Boo frantically shoves the pieces into plastic bags before melting can set in. We get it back in the freezer with only minimal damage to rug/table/clothing. The Mouse yells at the Boo for licking her fingers.
We get a text from The Baker: "What does it sound like when bacon barks?" Ha ha.

Sunday night: Lemon Bars.
The Boo gets sleepy and accidentally forgets half the butter - half! - while making the second round of shortbread crust. The Mouse Saves the Day with a carefully overseen gradual re-mixing technique and all is well. (Ok, here I have to weigh in on this recipe, from Ina Garten. The flavor is PERFECT, but, for my taste, the crust-filling ratio is off. Next time I'd do a thicker crust and just a leeeetle less lemony goodness. Easier to eat, less goopy and overwhelming.) The Mouse chastises The Boo for criticizing Ina. Sorry, Ina.

My other regret is not making them Rosemary Lemon Bars!!!!! Wouldn't that have been great??!!

Monday: The Day of the Show, Yall: 430PM, Mouse House: We cut remaining lemon triangles, put bacon bark on ice in cooler, defrost mini-cookies, and put on catering uniforms (heels, jewelry, cute dresses). Mouse's Boyfriend pours vodka-sodas and surreptitiously packs garbage bags, paper towels, and napkins, none of which we would have remembered. Bless Him. In a stunning, historic role reversal, The Mouse has a meltdown (we will be late, the bark will melt, the lemon bars will stick together, the other caterer will hate us and not give us platters, we shouldn't dress up or attend the actual party) while the Boo says "I think it's going to be fine."

We arrive. There is both a 'playing space' (out on the floor) and a Backstage Area for the Food Folks! We're immediately at home. We know how to do THIS.

Half Hour: Guests in room, tiny savory snacks going around. M&B are hovering and plating and getting in the way of the servers. The Boo gets a white wine and speculates that we have made way, way too many lemon bars. The Mouse is drinking absinthe. What could go wrong?

NOTHING! ISn't it gorgeous? Business Cards by EKT.

15 Minutes: packed room! M&B are playing both sides like pros, socializing in their cocktail attire and talking shop with other actors... then dashing madly backstage for last siftings of powdered sugar and checking of Bark Status. The Mouse wisely sets up a glass of water and a stack of towels for The Boo - I mean, either of us - to wash hands between plating.

10 Minutes: We're undercover among guests, somewhat guiltily eating the savory snacks as they come around.

5 min: Plate the bark! Now! (pic)


Look at them go!

I think you'll agree, Mouse, that the show went well. The servers coming backstage almost immediately saying "We need more bacon bark!" Our business cards disappearing from the trays too! The cookies - GONE before we know it. Fred Armisen, Fran McDormand, and Lili Taylor are out there eating OUR FOOD. Platter after platter of lemon bars goes out and comes back empty. We drink more absinthe and high-five each other. The other caterer takes The Boo aside and asks if we'd be interested in doing other events. Why not? In the end, this is all that's left:

A volunteer begged us for the leftovers. Flattery=Effective.

Afterwards, when you went home to study (Finals!! during all of this!), I took a seat in the balcony to watch the post-reception show. The ERS actors took the stage with the celebrity guests, reading from great American novels. The audience was boisterous, appreciative, attentive, drunk. And looking down at all 150-200 of them, I realized that they all (probably) had bacon bark, lemon bars, and tiny salted chocolate chip cookies INSIDE THEM. Whoa. I've never felt so close to so many humans at once. Or so omnipotent. Like Tim Curry at the end of LEGEND, where he's about to be defeated by Tom Cruise and hurtle into space, yelling, "IIIIIIII ... Am a PAAART... Of you AAAALLLLLLL!!!..." ? (Just me?)

Only, like, nicer, in a cocktail dress covered in butter, a little teary-eyed, and applauding wildly. Go ERS. Thanks for eating.


The Boo.


Mags said...

Wow, I love this! I'm teary-eyed, again. It's cinco de Mayo and I'm drinking sangria at home and reading food blogs. I'm so proud of you guys. signed, your kooky former babysitter

April said...

"...I realized that they all (probably) had bacon bark, lemon bars, and tiny salted chocolate chip cookies INSIDE THEM." This made me laugh. Don't forget Frankie Faison, too! Sure hate that I didn't get to take home some bacon bark, but I know it was for my own good. xo

Anonymous said...

You guys rock! I'm so happy for you....what a thrill it must've been, I wish I could have been there.... The cookies looked great, and I know they must've tasted great too - it's in your blood! - ok, so....new career? Want a partner?
Love, the Tante

annie said...

there are no words. well, some. thrilled! grateful! proud! honored! love! xoxox, annie & gerry!

Anonymous said...

you are hilarious, witty, unique, talented writers, cooks (chocolate and bacon - who woulda thunk?! salt on chocolate chips?! ) wish wish I'd been there - next time! ...but this romp and description particularly delicious - think you've got your book deal right there.."I realized...chip cooks inside them..." fantastic!

What an elegant association - I've seen ER - they are amazing artists all and deserve all the dessert and support ...max

rebecca said...

Um, I am really bummed out that I missed an opportunity to add my own sweat to the bacon bark. Next time I'm in New York it MUST happen. And perhaps our very own food porn shoot is in order, hmmmm?

Anonymous said...


Keri said...

Yay for cooks sharing delicious treats. I wish I could have eaten some. Congrats to the two of you!!

matanzera said...

so excited to read this - congratulations you two!

M. said...

Will you cater my WHOLE LIFE???????????? please.

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