Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cooking in the New Year

I was planning on updating the blog last night but I ended up getting too wrecked. Not drunk, physically destroyed by my attempt to make dinner and do fifteen things at once after getting home from work. The results left me unable to type or do anything requiring two hands. More on that later! <-- nice teaser

The night started off poorly. While peeling some of the remaining potatoes from the farm I dropped one into the garbage can. After coming up with a long string of creative curses I was interrupted by Jen's optimistic appraisal of the situation. She postulated that the potato would be fine if we just washed it off. While that is probably true I converted her to my way of thinking when I removed this comically dirty potato from the trash.

I should have been able to sense the palpable foreboding in the air after this incident.

Jen served up some of the Pate Rustignac we'd gotten in Paris. Jen wasn't as taken with it as I was and that may have had something to do with the weird coagulated fat that it was packed in. While the fat was a little off-putting I found it to be delicious on slices of bread.

For the next course Jen made the Tagliatelle from my stocking with a little of the Clairette, some shrimp, scallops, garlic, lemon zest, and seafood broth (also from my stocking) that I'd enriched with some lobster shells.

We determined that the Clairette was a little too sweet for dinner so we corked it up and opened a bottle that had been given to me by some coworkers. This was much more dinner appropriate. Things were really shaping up after the potato debacle!

Jen also prepared our third course which was a classic winter salad for us: mixed greens, lemon, goat cheese, pomegranate, and pecans.

For the main course I seared some beef tenderloin steaks and accompanied it with a lobster bordelaise sauce and truffled mashed potatoes (one of the few remaining farm share items left). Unfortunately during the plating of this meal, tragedy struck.

I took the filets out of the oven and put the pan on the stove. Then, while rushing around and plating up the entree I foolishly picked up the 350 degree pan in a shocking recreation of a restaurant injury I sustained in 1996. Unlike the 1996 fiasco I was not a terrifically inexperienced cook. I wish I could blame the 5 ounces of Champagne I'd consumed for this injury but unfortunately it was just good old-fashioned careless stupidity.

As I reprised my cursing from the earlier potato incident`I ran my hand under the thankfully freezing water coming from our kitchen faucet. It was then that I started to smell burning accompanied by a fearful scream by Jen. I turned around to see one of our nice towels from France on fire. As I held my hand under the water I threw the towel to the floor and stomped out the flames.

That made the plating in the previous picture the last real thing I did that evening. This was likely the most painful burn I've ever gotten. No amount of aloe or ice could completely dull the pain, even accompanied by four Maximum Strength Tylenol and half a bottle of Champagne.

I tried leaving my hand off the ice but I could only stand a maximum of 45 seconds before I had to clutch at the ice again in desperation. While I was no longer able to type in this state I was sort of able to eat with a fork, with my left hand, if Jen cut up my food like I was a tiny child.

Jen had made some chocolate chewies earlier in the day and I enjoyed a couple of them while I polished off a little brandy to further dull the pain. I was pretty sure that the worst of the evening was behind me until the ice pack I was holding broke open and spilled all over my pants.

Then, thinking the worst was again behind me, we somehow lost the TiVo remote and we were forced to watch FOX coverage of the ball dropping which was probably the worst TV coverage of anything I've ever seen in my life. The guy actually started telling some lame story, missed the beginning of the countdown, then had to catch up at around the eight or seven of the countdown. Then they cut to a horrible Robbie Knievel stunt which they filmed at such a poor angle that it made it look like he didn't jump anything at all.

At some point in the evening I fell asleep holding a fresh ice pack. Luckily my experience had taught me that burns hurt like hell but the pain only lasts about six to eight hours. By the time I woke up in the middle of the night the pain was 95% gone. I woke up this morning with a stiff and sore hand but I had regained the ability to type (and complain).

So it was a great start. Get ready, 2009! This is gonna be my year!

1 comment:

Jen said...

I want to say, I thought -- DESPITE the terrible burn -- that we had a lovely New Year's Eve: top 10, for sure! And Nate will agree, once the blisters go down.