Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Best Laid Plans and the Valentine’s Day Beef Stew

My first entry is in honor of my wonderful husband, K.

OK so how many of you out there have spouses/partners who do not cook for whatever reason? Well K is one of them, but today is Valentine's Day and my birthday to boot. We decided to stay in tonight because we went out to dinner last night. He asked me what I’d like him to make for dinner. How sweet right? This from a guy who doesn’t cook. By the way, my Valentine’s Day gift to him is to leave him alone today and let him have time to himself. I know it sounds strange but he LOOOOVES his alone time.

Anyway, back to the dinner. I asked him to make something that he would like to have for dinner and expressed that I would be happy no matter what it is. He decided on beef stew, of course a man would want beef stew on Valentine's Day. But I was happy nevertheless, I don’t have to cook tonight after all. So me being the overly controlling, oldest child that I am, I helped him find a simple recipe from my collection of cookbooks. While he was out grocery shopping for some other essentials I laid out all the ingredients to make it as easy as possible for him to make this Valentine/Birthday dinner-stew. The recipe calls for “curry powder”. We don’t use store-bought “curry powder” in our house so I even prepared a mix of spices which would be appropriate for beef. I can only imagine what would have happened if he had to make his own spice mix. The whole plan would have been aborted, I’m sure.

homemade spice mix
Now, this all happened early in the afternoon. I figured I did all I could, I’d leave the rest to him and stay out of it. Around 5:30 pm just as I was thinking “I would have started on dinner by now if I was him”, I heard him going down to the kitchen.

I heard pots and pans noises coming from down there and shortly thereafter I heard him running back upstairs. He says the beef was supposed to be marinated. OH NO!? I failed to tell him to read the recipe in advance! What to do?!! What to do?!!! He says he’s going to make the “OTHER” recipe. OH NO!? What “OTHER” recipe?! I had shown him several other recipes earlier in the afternoon, which one was he referring to? I asked if he needed help, and he said “No, thanks” and ran back downstairs. For a few moments I paced back and forth. Should I go down there? Should I stay here? It took all the will power I could muster to stay out of the kitchen and not completely take over as I usually do. Even when I heard him shout “OH SHIT”. But, I did it! I did not interfere.

He chose a recipe from a Good Housekeeping cookbook, not a book I would have chosen. I mean I picked that cookbook out of a clearance bin at the bookstore, it was practically free, and I have never made a single recipe from it. Oh, AND he improvised. Imagine that my husband who does not cook is taking liberties with the recipe. He threw in the spice mix which I had prepared for the first recipe. He did come back upstairs a few times during the cooking process, he looked a bit stressed out and unsure, shrugged his shoulders and said “I hope it comes out OK”. So how did it turn out?

Well... We ate at 10pm, that's how long it took. I was starving and beginning to feel a bit faint. I was too tired to even take a picture of it or include the recipe he used, sorry.

I have to say, I am very proud of my dear husband. What a loving gesture to step out of his comfort zone and do this for me on my birthday.

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