I angsted a bit about whether the imitation crab would be kosher. I thought I knew that kosher traditions didn't allow chicken with milk because it would remind the consumer of meat with milk; I worried that a similar logic might prevent imitation crab. Fortunately, Monica reassured me at dinner that imitation crab is allowed.
I had planned a berry cobbler for dessert, but while I was at the store, I saw that strawberries were on sale. That inspired me to make the Strawberry Lemon Curd Tart. Fortunately, I managed to pick up almost everything I needed from memory; I didn't have to make another trip to the store.
I made the lemon curd before dinner. Lemon curd always involves a bit of playing chicken--the more it is cooked, the thicker it will be (and I prefer lemon curd to be thick and smooth), but if it overcooks, the egg yolks will scramble. So there's a constant tension of "is it thickened now? What about now? Now?" I'm pleased to say that I judged it well; the lemon curd was lusciously thick and smooth.
While making the lemon curd, I realized that lemon curd is nearly a direct consequence of principles I've learned from Shirley O. Corriher's Cookwise: the lemon juice is basically water. You want the fat of the butter to add creaminess and to keep the flavor in the mouth longer. So, since you're combining water and fat, you use the egg yolks as emulsifiers to keep them from separating. Voila--everything about lemon curd is explained except the sugar.
The Crab and Corn Cobbler depends on a basic white sauce. I succeeded pretty well at this; the sauce was nicely thick. However, I put the cobbler into a deep pan, where a wide one might have been better; it was pretty goopy when served.
I managed to get everything ready almost as guests started to arrive. I was proud.
After dinner, then, I made the tart pastry (in the heart-shaped tart pan). Eli cut up the strawberries. Once I filled the pastry with lemon curd, Monica arranged the strawberries beautifully on the tart.
There was one thing I had neglected to provide for, though: red currant jelly for the glaze. But I managed to find some apricot jam in the fridge, and I knew that apricot jam could be sieved for a glaze. I didn't want to bother with forcing it through a sieve with a spoon, since that's been a big pain when I've tried it before. So I got out the food mill we were given as a wedding gift. With the finest disc, it did a good job of yielding a clear glaze without much work. (It might be too coarse for straining raspberry seeds, though--perhaps we'll improvise something with a layer of cheesecloth.)
I guess I've food-geeked through this whole post. Sorry about that.