What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kung Hei Fat Choi

What could this possibly portend? (Other than the fact that I'm probably PMS-ing...)

Chinese New Year. We like to celebrate it because it's another chance at a new start. Plus, it's an excuse to make something deliciously Asian other than stir-fry. A reason to stretch past our usual culinary comfort zones.

And this year we had the benefit of a guest, my mother. It's amazing what one more dinner plate can do for a menu. Normally I have to cut out many things I'd love to make, because there aren't enough people to eat all that food.

So, to summarize, I was extra excited about this holiday. And all that extra enthusiasm translated into extra disaster. Especially with the aforementioned PMS. (I didn't know I was under it's cloud until the kitchen catastrophes started piling up and I overreacted like a hormonal teenage Scorpio.*)

My biggest mistake was probably not taking the time to write out an Order of Events. I'm a listmaker. I dig lists. I like planning and had plenty of time to do it before dinnertime. My comfort zone generally is to have just one Major Headache recipe involved in a meal. By that I mean something fussy and/or unfamiliar. This time I had two, and it ended up breaking me.

I've thought about including recipes... but I really followed the ones I googled. So, I'll simply include links.

Lion's Head Meatballs
Vietnamese Spring Rolls (with instructions on how to roll here)
Noodles (mainly for the sake of our rather finicky daughter, but they ended up working well)

Everything was humming along very nicely. I actually consciously thought to myself several times how wonderfully it was all going. I got started prepping things early. I noticed... actually noticed that I was in a really good mood. Not feeling stressed like I usually do before special "feasts." Yeah. That should have scared me. Next time I'll know.

Countdown of Catastrophes:

1) My new timer just didn't work. I set it for 16 minutes, for the rice spaghetti. Who-knows-how-many minutes later, I glanced at it to check how much time I had left. It was off. That's really what started everything falling apart.
2) The pan I'd gotten out to soak my spring roll wrappers in was too small. But I tried to stick with it anyway.
3) Rolling spring rolls is really, really hard. Especially if you have no idea what you're doing. They are sticky. And hard to roll tightly. And I had no idea what to try different. My brain actually snapped while rolling the fourth one. I felt it snap. I lost all grip. It was rather scary.
4) I checked my lion meatballs and it looked distinctly like my greens were not cooking fast enough. Oh, goody! I love it when the main course is late!
5) I suddenly realized I had made an entire package of noodles, instead of just what my daughter would want to eat, and had no idea what to DO with them to make them... Asiany.
6) I suddenly realized I was almost out of time and hadn't bothered to make any sort of dipping sauce for the spring rolls.
7) I suddenly realized I wanted to throw the spring rolls against a wall, to see if they'd stick.
8) The timer (that I'd reset for a guessed amount of time) went off for the pasta. Oh, goody, nothing else was done yet... the noodles will get cold and everyone hates cold noodles!
9) Crap, I hadn't stirred the noodles enough and some had clumped together. Everyone hates clumpy noodles!
10) In my rush to get the spring rolls ready, I used my Silpat as a cutting board... because my cutting board was full... and completely f-ing killed it.

Wow. I need another piece of chocolate, just from recounting all of that. Whew. And they say that whatever happens on New Year's Day (regular or Chinese) is auspicious for the year to come. Yikes!

So, in the end... it was all pretty tasty and not deserving of all the drama. I served the Lion's Head Meatballs on the noodles, instead of on the greens. I'd made 8 meatballs instead of 4, since 8 is a luckier number for the new year. So, instead of looking like lion's heads, it looked like eyeballs. I wonder if that's considered lucky?

*Apology to any Scorpios... but really... you've gotta remember what you were like. I've got a 10-year-old Scorp just beginning her journey into painful irrationality... I think I know of what I speak.

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About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.