Just knowing that G tried to send me a message last night made me happy this morning.
Though my chances of eating a breakfast were decent, I still wasn’t feeling up to making anything. Instead, I started on a project for the day. Just something to keep me busy and keep my mind off of stupid shit for a while.
Then my day got a whole lot better really fucking fast.
First off, I sent that picture of the “Mystery Meat” to Alton Brown through Twitter with inquiries as to what cut it was and how best to cook it. I did this at about 8 AM sort of forgetting that he’s in California right now shooting stuff and to him it’s 5AM. D’oh. The chances of him seeing my message are not good. Oh well.
The friend who helped me move the couches offered to buy me lunch in an attempt to get me to eat something. I tried to turn him down knowing that he is also poor and his bank account shouldn’t suffer due to my self-negligence. He insists. IF he’s going to insist, then I would like to try a Thai restaurant just up the street within walking distance. He says he has never tried Thai food, but is willing. (God it always BLOWS MY MIND when people tell me they’ve NEVER tried a whole GENRE of food. To someone like me, that’s like saying you’ve never tried bread.) I am very much looking forward to going.
At about 12:30, Alton answers me.
I’m sure anything labeled a “mystery” piques his interest as he is also a very curious creature. He gives me an idea to what he thinks it is and denounces the crappy labeling. I mention back to him that it was the only poorly labeled item out there and that, combined with the low price, riled up my curiosity so that I just had to purchase it. He answers me AGAIN instructing me to braise it and get back to him about it.
So not only an instruction, but also a request to answer back to him yet again.
This has quickly turned into the best day of my life.
I chat a bunch with PFH#1, who will be on his way home from NYC tonight. He sends me funny videos and we have a good time in between me working on my project and finding braising recipes. (I’ve actually never braised anything before, so I’m freaking out slightly.)
4:00 rolls around and my friend comes over. We wander over to the Thai hole-in-the-wall. I order something with tofu and, being that I know how Thai food works, order it “Thai hot, not American hot, I know what I’m doing here…I know what I’m getting myself into, and I would like it THAI HOT”. The owner is impressed that I know my food. My friend also orders his dish “Thai hot”…I realize he is trying to impress me with his adventurous spice level choice, but he does not understand how hot it is going to be. He keeps claiming that he “likes” hot food. Ok…you’re own grave buddy.
I eat mine without so much as a sniffle. It’s nice and spicy, probably could even be a little hotter. I look up at my friend and he is just POURING with sweat. I mean, I’ve never seen a man sweat so much while eating. He has to use our entire pile of napkins to wipe down his face. I can’t help but laugh loudly at his predicament. The owner comes over and looks at me and says “Well you look like you’re doing just fine! You on the other hand, sir, would you like some more water?” Holy crap I just busted out laughing. He enjoyed it, he ate every last bite. I ate a bit more than half of mine. I gave him the leftovers since he paid for it anyway, he should have them.
The entertainment was priceless.
He hangs out here for about an hour talking about geek stuff with me, then leaves so I can start making dinner. It’s going to take at least 2 hours to braise this “meat” so I have to start it soon.
Braised Mystery Meat (courtesy of PERSONAL AB instruction)
Braising instructions taken from: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/braising_meats.htm
4 veal shanks (Obviously I used “mystery meat”)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 and a half cups parsnips, roughly chopped
1 and a half cups turnips, roughly chopped (Used carrots and sweet potato instead)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine 1 cup beef or veal stock
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
1) Season the shanks with salt and pepper and brown them in a large skillet with the olive oil, for about 5 minutes on each side.
2) Place the shanks in a large ovenproof casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.
3) In the same skillet you browned the shanks, sauté the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes adding more olive oil if necessary. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for a few minutes more, being careful not to burn the paste or the garlic.
4) Add the stock, wine, and herbs and bring to a boil.
5) Pour everything over the shanks and place the casserole dish in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. 6) Add salt and pepper to taste at the end.
*HOLY SHIT! This was by far the best “meat’ I’ve ever made. I mean. Goddamn. It just fell apart, it looked gorgeous, it tasted fantastic, I couldn’t have been happier. I hope that my pictures are pretty enough for AB as I will be Tweeting them back to him. I want to make him proud SO badly. Food and cooking mean absolutely EVERYTHING to me. I’m hoping I’ve got his attention enough now that he will answer my questions more often seeing that I am a good cook (or I’m at least passionate and try REALLY hard) and worthy of his instruction.
Alton is probably the only person other than PFH#3 who can get me to eat.
His timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.
Oh, the best day ever does not end, my friends.
I get a message from, whom I affectionately call, “my girlfriend” (the girl at work that I have a crush on) late last night asking me if I can take a shift for her Friday. I am somewhat confused as I’m fairly certain I already work on Friday, but I go to check anyway. I do. BUT. It is an opening shift, she wants me to work her closing shift.
If I close, I get to work with G all night.
I tell her that I already work, but that if she needed just the EVENING off, I could TRADE shifts with her being that I’d rather work the later shift anyway. This answer pleases her. We have traded shifts for Friday. I get to work with PFH#3 and will get a ride home from him later that night where we will surely laugh loudly together and chat a while before I go inside. I am incredibly happy.
I have a good connection at my apartment now due to my brother being amazing. I can now stream episodes of Food Network Star. I stay up watching one of them.
I am INCREDIBLY happy.
I will surely eat breakfast in the morning.