The Martha Mother Load

First, it’s not the greatest day. 1)My grandmother passed away this weekend. She was quite elderly, and had been fading for some time. We knew it was coming, but it’s still sad and we will miss her. She was a special lady who had an incredible influence in my life. I’ll be writing a special post about her later this week.  2) I am sick. I haven’t been sick like this for a couple years. But I suppose it has to happen once in a while.

But that does mean that I can sit with the laptop on my knees with the Today show on, with a coffee next to me, and surf the  net and post on my blog without any real guilt. (Sometimes I feel guilty doing that, there is always so much else to do. Mostly I get over it though. But it’s a tough 2 or 3 seconds.)

So I can talk about my amazing, death-defying, Mother Load of Martha Points.

We did not have the kids with us this Easter, so I at first assumed that it would not be marked by any sort of celebration. It then occurred to me that I have all these friends I love, I barely get to see them, and some of them are also little-kidless and perhaps would, like us, be finding themselves without egg hunts or chocolate. I was right.

I didn't get a picture of the juleps. But the champagne and the daisies make a pretty tableau, don't they?

We didn't get a picture of the juleps, but the champagne bottle and daisies are festive, aren't they?

So, first things first. Menu. Menu menu menu. Now, knowing my friends well, as I do, I knew there would need to be cocktails. And in a firm celebration of it being springtime, despite the torrential rain that pelted the house during the event, I decided on mimosas and mint juleps.  I had no idea how to make a mint julep, in fact I’ve never in my life consumed one. But I decided it was really just a southern mojito and that I could handle it.

So that was the easy part. And then, while flipping through the new Martha Stewart living magazine, I saw this recipe:

I need a team of lighting specialists too.

This is a meyer lemon crepe cake. Doesn’t it look lovely? Of course, it’s beautifully lit and sitting in front of luxury wallpaper. But it still looked tasty. So we decided to do this. And I sort of blocked out the fact that this would involve making crepes.

I have made crepes many times, but always with a friend’s electric crepe  maker. The kind you dip in the batter and get a paper thin, perfectly round crepe every time. Well, that friend lives in South Carolina now, so I don’t get to borrow that apparatus any more. In general, I hate buying unitaskers. The wafflemaker being the possible only exception. So I decided on a crepe pan instead, thinking that I could handle the crepe making in a proper crepe pan, and the crepe pan can, in fact, be used for other things. A paper weight, for example. Or ping-pong paddle.

Note the snazzy cake pedestal.

So here is my version of the above cake. I decided, while making crepes, burning my fingers and using every grasping tool known to man trying to get ahold of crepes to flip them without ripping them to shreds, that if you are the Martha Stewart food production people that you have the luxury of making 1000 crepes to select the most perfect 15. I did not have that luxury, the batter recipe made 17 crepes, which meant that I could only discard the worst 2. Which, trust me, I did. And while mine did not have the amazing uniformity and height of the one from the magazine, it did, by all reviews, taste delicious.

After other thinking, hemming and hawing, the menu ended up being Cuban sandwiches and warm potato salad. I have no photos of that process, but other than Himself accidentally purchasing chop style pork instead of roast style pork (my fault, I did not know that pork shoulder had multiple formats) there was no really funny drama to relay.

But I need to talk about something else, cause this is where I really score on the points. This is where I did myself proud.

Here’s a photo of the table:

The cats had been soundly banished by this time.

Those are your typical, plastic Easter eggs, spritzed lightly with gold spray paint. I had seen some features describing upscale plastic eggs that offered more in the way of lovely and less in the way of cellophane-wrapped-mass-produced-Easter-Basket-ness, but none of these seemed to be available within within a reasonable amount of zip codes, and after four stores I stopped looking. The “nest” is green eyelash yarn. Which my friends, during dinner, wore in many creative ways. Sadly, I have no pictures of one lovely lady wearing hers like a boa, and another who turned hers into a Yarmulke.

Here is a close up:

The eggs had silly conversation starters in them, “Who’s your favorite muppet?” And “List three songs in your life’s personal soundtrack.” But one egg on each plate had a silly fortune that I had written just for the occasion. This, I swear to the heavens, was the only reason I made place-cards. I don’t do place-cards, I don’t do assigned seats for a casual dinner party, as anal as I am, I am  not that anal. But in this case I had to. The fates forced my hand. Although, I will say that my anal-deocorating-ness rendered me absolutely unable to do something like write the person’s name on the egg with magic marker. I.Could.Not.Do.That. I tried. I had the marker in my hand. I scribbled on one throw-away egg. And then I could not make myself scribble on the rest of them. So, immediately before guests were due to arrive,  I was at my computer, furiously cutting and pasting graphics and word-art so I could make festive little place-cards that in a scrambled flurry of trying to NOT look like I had procrastinated anything I flung into the water glasses.

My friends, being the amazingly talented and gracious people they are, offered to bring things, and given the mounting psychotic energy I was giving to the eggs, the nests, the pursuit of non-chipped dishware and crepes, I heartily took them up on. Here’s a photo of a scrumptious roasted red pepper humus and an Armenian dish called “Borek,” which is an amazing concoction of Phylo dough and many cheeses.

Please don't drool on your monitors.

Please don't drool on your monitors.

My friends are not only lovely and fun to be with, but damned talented in the cooking department. Here are a few pictures of them.

Friends and food. What could be better?

Nobody's chewing. Not typical of the day.

The only bad part of the day was that as soon as we all sat down at the table to eat, the nagging scratchy throat that I’d been paying little attention to over the weekend turned into a raging fever. I couldn’t eat. I spent two days on the food, and I could barely get three bites of it down. I was satisfied to note that others consumed with much gusto, the silly questions and fortunes made for a very fun and lively dinner and nobody gave me crap for being too goofy or hostess-y, and everyone was too polite to mention no one seemed to notice my non-uniform crepes.

And then, as I crawled shivering into the shower to try and quell the chill, my amazing, incredible, talented, loving husband, cleaned the kitchen by himself. After Easter dinner for 7. Have I mentioned that he’s great in the last six or seven words? No? Then it bears repeating.

So now what everyone’s waiting for….THE POINTS!

Previous score: +5 points

  • Buying and spray painting eggs: +5 points
  • Writing silly questions/fortunes and printing them on decorative paper: +5 points
  • Making nests with yarn to house the spray painted eggs holding the silly questions/fortunes: +5 points for commitment to a lovely table, -1 point for excessive cuteness.
  • Acquiring chip free dishes for $16: +5 points for dishes with a +3 point bonus for thriftiness
  • Fresh flowers: +5 points
  • Crepe making: Ok, this one’s hard, I want to give myself major points for the crepes, but I did not nail the execution. A Russian judge would no doubt mark me down. I award myself +8 points for the crepes, -2 points for a slow learning curve, for a net of +6 points
  • Zesting actual lemons without zesting any actual fingers: +3 points
  • Learning a new cocktail: +3 points
  • Having champagne on hand for mimosas (that’s so 60’s cocktail party of me!): +3 points

For a grand total of: + 47 points!!!!

So at this point I feel like I can pretty well ignore my house for the rest of the week with impunity. I can coast on these points for quite a while, I think. And given that I have a 100 degree fever, I may just do that.

Oh, and Himself, for helping me clean, cook, craft and prepare, and then cleaning an entire kitchen all alone while I huddled under hot water, gets +20 points into his own personal account.

I will advise him to budget wisely.


  1. OMG. Seriously, I would have given up at the crepe making without the specialized equipment. Your cake looks amazing even with the 2 crepe buffer. I would have awarded myself 1000 points for what you did and take the rest of the year off…but I am kinda an underachiever in that way.

    1. It occured to me later that I could have awarded myself one point for each usable crepe, but of course I always think of these sorts of things later. It’s sort of the way my brain functions.

      But I do love that “take the rest of the year off” idea…

  2. Your crepes were as round as they needed to be. The dessert was delicious beyond expectation. Oh, Meyer lemons- yum! It was a delicate creation- not tough like cold pancakes can get. It was easy to fork into and the consistency and flavor were perfect. The candied lemons on top were outstanding. You deserve more points than you gave yourself. Thanks again, Lori.

  3. LOL! Loved this post, too! (I came over from Tablescape Thursday.) I LOVE the idea of using eyelash yarn for Easter grass — brilliant! (Note to self: Do not attempt anything involving crepes.)

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