#227 (new appetizers – part 1)

I think the next party I’m planning would be a small plate themed gathering. Some folks (and in that I mean my girlfriend S) think that tapas or small plates require less preparation than a full four or five course meal. If fact it’ll actually take more time as there would be more, chopping, slicing, puréeing, and visual artistry than say making a steak or roast dinner. 

Given my previous experience in the four parties I hosted the past 12 months and the many parties hosted when my oldest son was a small child, this one would blend and test my culinary art skills (not saying I have any professional training), time management, and superb coordination. Oh who am I kidding. It organically comes together on its own. 

Opportunity for an experiment…

S was attending a staff party this past Saturday in which I was her date. She volunteered us (and us being me) to cook something for the party. So I took up the challenge and thought about introducing a new appetizer, or perhaps two. It depends which one tastes better. Maybe what I make for her gathering , I can add them to my arsenal for my upcoming event. 

Now S is really a good cook. But she cannot reproduce the exact taste every time she makes a dish, which is problematic as I think there should be consistency from the first time they taste the dish to the next time you serve it again. She knows she brings that unique gift of having inconsistent flavors each time she makes a dish. The main reason is because she substitutes ingredients and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. 

My style…

I don’t precisely measure anything, but I do keep the same ingredients I used the last time the dish was successfully served. Rather than measuring, I eyeball it and taste as I go. Although the amounts of each ingredient might be slightly different each time I make the dish, the flavor is pretty consistent with my previous batch. I also go by color, smell and texture. 

Typically I give myself a few days to create several batches so that I could tweak the flavor profile before presenting it my partakers. This time I did not have that luxury. 

Saturday morning I woke early and travelled an hour south to S’s house. I was determined to make at least one batch before the final version I would present to her coworkers and her boss. S of course had a different idea in that we just make one batch and go with however that one comes out. So I had to emphasize that’s not me, and that’s not how I operate, and that’s not what I’m going to do, especially if I’m the one cooking. 

Do you remember back in grade school when two alpha males squared off in the playground and the other kids would chant, “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”? 

No one was chanting this phrase, but I sure felt the tension as she had other plans she wanted to do that day. In the past I’ve given into her crazy, full schedule day to which we either showed up late to an event and/or we were frantically scrambling to get out the door. Oh typical Pisces – late to everything. 

Just settle down…

After I took my stance, I said calmly but assertively, “I’m going to the store to buy the ingredients for tonight’s dinner. You can either come with me or not.”  I waited a few minutes, then I left (without her). 

I bought the ingredients and returned to her house. I didn’t know where she went as her garage door was open and her vehicle wasn’t in sight. I suspect she had to run one at least one of her children somewhere. I entered her back door that led to her kitchen. I cleared out a space in her always cluttered kitchen counter to begin my prep and cooking. 

Cook and dishwasher…

When I cook, I also wash, dry, and put away the dishes I used – which is how I’ve always been. I think it is because I don’t have ample amounts of cookware so I need to keep a clean pan handy. It’s also partly of my OCD. So while the first batch was cooking and I had about twenty minutes, I started in on the dishes I used as well as the pile of dishes left from either the night before and/or earlier this morning before I arrived. 

The oven timer sounded informing me that my creation was ready. I set my first batch on the counter to cool and kept an eye on her cat, which has a bad habit of jumping onto the counter. Ensuring my food was not in jeopardy of being consumed by her cat, I turned my attention back to the dishes. 

After the dishes were washed and drying on a rack, I sampled my first batch. It wasn’t bad. It needed a bit more spice (for me), but other than that I think it was just right for her coworkers. I left a few samples out for S to try whenever she returned. 

The other appetizer…

S still hadn’t returned so I started on the second appetizer option. I’m not sure I’ll bring both, but at least I would have something I could be proud to present not only to her party but to mine in the next few months. 

By the time the second appetizer was done, S had returned along with a peace offering of my favorite Dutch Brothers drink. Along with the drink was her apology for our earlier verbal scuffle. That’s the part of our relationship I don’t like – the contention between us when we disagree on what we have to do. Usually I give in as it’s not worth the energy to fight on noncritical matters. 

I tackle the hard stuff first while she likes to play first and work later. Thus my house is clean and most of the time things are in their places. Her house is the opposite and regularly decorated (or accented) with piles of clutter made evident by the various drop zones established out of habit over many, many years. Her kids complain of the messiness but, like their mother, they contribute and don’t do anything to rid their house of the piles until it has accumulated well beyond a quick tidying exercise. When they do start on the cleaning it take several days. 

I’m not sure that’s a characteristic of a being born under a particular sign or just laziness. I think it’s the latter as my younger of the two sisters have the same decoration techniques. My sister was born in April and S was born in February. 

#relationships #life #forgiveness #patience #singleasianmale 

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