This is a very long story.
A story that will take you on a journey through several days in the lives of LPK and I…a story where we’ll discuss my marriage, holiday gifts, wines of Napa Valley and the fact that I am a hopeless mess in the kitchen.
So, LPK and I said we weren’t going to do Hanukkah this year. This decision sprung from the fact that we have been eating at obscene restaurants. That’s what I TOLD him. But the truth? LPK is the hardest person in the entire world to shop for.
For his birthday in Mid-October, I got him golf lessons which he was happy about, but not really psyched. He is the type of guy who just buys something when he wants it and doesn’t have lofty consumption goals he cannot achieve. Further, he is someone who purchases extravagant and creative gifts for me, so I always feel guilty that there’s nothing he wants or nothing I can give him as a surprise.
But I try. And I fail. I am so boring. Our Anniversary (Cotton), I got him some shirts and something else so lame that I don’t even remember it. His Birthday, I lean towards “event” gifts: Concerts, Classes, Courses (The 3 Cs). Hanukkah - I tend to get him a few small gifts and then cook him a huge dinner complete with BLT Popovers and labor intensive dishes. So I intended to do the same this year and not bother spending money on something he doesn’t want.
Without notice, the holiday started and obviously true to his nature, Lee bought me presents. And they were pretty awesome. A handbag I don’t need and something that was a HUGE surprise.
Let’s just say I NEVER EVER EVER thought I’d thank a man for buying me a frying pan.
But he did. And I did.
He bought me these:
There’s back-story here.
When we got married 2.5 years ago, LPK and I got in a fight in William-Sonoma. Though I hadn’t done much cooking, I knew you needed at least one stainless steel pan (or a non-non stick pan as LPK would say) for searing things. Eggs belonged in a non-stick and everything else could go either way. These opinions were based on theories, not practice…however as I’ve learned more and got comfortable in the kitchen, these theories were proven right. I even had a cooking instructor literally have a fit that I only had non-stick pans. However, just months into our engagement, this was not the time to have this fight. Not wanting to be upset by a stupid argument about a stupid thing, I let him have his way. But I’ve never let him forget his mistake. I’m SO rarely right and he is an insufferable know it all. So I’m allowed.
Time and time again, LPK would be bummed out about the lack of ‘crust’ on any of our meat dishes...and time and time again, I would mock him.
And mock him I did - Until the 4th night of Hanukkah when I received shiny new All Clad Copper Core Stainless Steal pans. And guess what I got him? Nada.
Last night, I made Mama Chang’s Shrimp and Scallion Stir Fry, a recipe I pulled out of the August 2010 issue of Food and Wine - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mama-changs-stir-fried-shrimp-and-scallions
There was no reason to use the new fancy pants pans because the shrimp I had in the house was pre-cooked and frozen. (Whatever, don’t judge). LPK decided to open our last bottle of 2009 Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc to go with dinner. Without realizing it, he opened the 2007 Cakebread Chardonnay Reserve.
Obviously, there no use crying over wrong wine and it's not the end of the world...Even typing that sentence makes me sound pompous and ridiculous, but you have to understand that I typically HATE Chardonnay. We purchased it in Napa on our trip this summer after tasting it with an extremely amazing shrimp risotto and with a tapas style fish bite (seen above). I planned to recreate our trip experience this spring for Valentine’s Day – another holiday I don’t care about and fail miserably at experiencing.
When paired with a ginger based dish, the wine tasted like the crappy old Chardonnay I love to hate - so I vowed to make something more complimentary the next night when LPK was out of town. Because we didn’t finish the bottle and why waste perfectly good wine even if it IS Chardonnay.
The Cakebread website had a recipe for Vinegar Chicken – and I happened to have all the ingredients in the house. http://www.cakebread.com/recipes/index.cfm?recipe=CHR_Chicken_Vinegar.html
Even better I could use my new pans!
Yet, you don’t get to see any pictures of this dish for a great many reasons.
- I always forget to take pictures.
- I am lazy.
- I get a nasty look for every single moment the kitchen is dirty, so when LPK is home I scurry to clean up.
But today, there is a better reason. Today there was a FIRE.
I am still not sure the reason for it, but I am thinking perhaps my frying pan got too hot too fast and started to burn. It was pretty awesome because I knew how to put it out and more importantly because LPK is out of town. For those of you who don’t know (and you all know, because 4 people read this), LPK’s nickname when it comes to house cleanliness is Sleeping With The Enemy. He gets crazy when the dishtowels aren’t in line, so you can imagine how he would feel about grease fires. And you may be able to brainstorm how happy he’d be that I fucked up my new pan on its first outing.
He doesn’t beat me or anything. I just would feel badly he was so upset. Although pans are used for COOKING and making stuff is messy and things get dirty along the way. Normal Wear and Tear, Assface is a phrase I may get printed on a Tshirt. Every time something looks mildly worn, he looks at me with a puzzled expression and says, What happened here? Um, Life. Life is what happened. Instead, I reply with a Normal Wear and Tear, Assface.
I was a little worried when Sleeping With The Enemy saw the pan he might lecture me like a child or stop buying me things. Then I remembered Rule #4 of Marriage. What They Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Them or Stop Oversharing, Stupid.
So the internet directed me to this product:
It worked. It fucking worked! I think it should be called Bar Keeper’s BEST Friend.
I only needed to go over this pan TWICE with this stuff and it looks brand new again. Therefore, LPK will never have to know about the hot spot (get it?) I got myself into!
And in case you were wondering, the Vinegar Chicken was just ok and wasn’t my favorite compliment to the 2007 Chardonnay Reserve.
At least my house is once again a Chardonnay free zone….with Spotless Pans.