Friday, September 17, 2010

I look like a drowned cat in a fancy dress or birthday dinner part 2

After finding the tenderloin and successfully trimming and cutting it, to say the rest of the meal planning went perfectly and without a hitch would be an understatement.

Everything was going my way. Everything was going perfectly. Which is a far cry from what always happens every single birthday.

Let me remind you about the chocolate cake I failed to put flour in. Or the lopsided, pieced together banana cake with candles that wouldn't stay lit.

For the first time in Idle Husband birthday history, everything was going smoothly. I even had time to do all my excercising and go for a walk on the treadmill and I even baked bread just cuz.

I got out a fancy tablecloth and set the table with my good china. I cut the last of my roses for a nice bouquet. I even found some vases that could double as candle holders and set up some tealights.

I wanted this dinner to be really fancy. Restaurant quality. I had even decided to put on one of my fancier dresses for the occasion which is a far cry from the pajamas I normally wear for dinner.

I had just finished washing my hair and the bread was still in the oven, when I decided to sit down and take some time to make up a fancy looking menu for our meal. I had thought about doing it earlier, but I decided to do it only if I had extra time.

imagine it without the 'F', 'N', and ampersands
I also wish I could have spent a little more time fiddling with silly things no one ever seems to notice like the spacing and it would have been even better had I managed to get it printed out

I was just in the middle of finding a fancy font when I got a phone call. A text message phone call. Have you ever gotten one of these? A text to landline message? IH sends them infrequently, but I've decided I really hate them. It's hard to understand and it's really hard to replay them. So here's what I heard: I am coming home glark glorkel. I didn't know if that meant I'm coming home right now or I'm coming home in an hour. I had no idea.

I thought I'd do the smart thing and stop moving menu items up and down and start cooking the items on the menu. If he was coming home, I actually had only 20 minutes to get dressed and get everything cooked and the potatoes would take at least 30. Sigh. All my planning and IH arrived home to find me with wet straggly hair,  in a dress thrown on over my pajama pants, disaster mess kitchen with potatoes boiling, and half a menu on our computer screen.

So he got to watch me as I ran frantically back and forth between the kitchen and the office to read what the internet said about cooking steak since I had no idea how to cook them properly and I didn't want to use my old just stick 'em in the oven routine. They were filet mignons afterall. So I ended up overcooking the mushroom sauce and the potatoes were in the oven about 20 minutes too long.

I guess it wasn't much of a disaster and it was so nice that he wanted to come home early and spend the rest of his birthday with me, but you know how it is. When you plan things a certain way and they don't turn out that way. Sucky surprise failure.

Ah well. The resulting meal was in fancy dress, in candlelight, and it was so. delicious. The filet mignon was fantastically melt-in-your mouth. And it was super easy to cook -- in hindsight. It just felt all mad-dashed and out of control at the time. All I did was pan sear them for about 3 minutes each side and then I finished them in the oven which took about 15 minutes and constant checking (we don't like steaks bloody). I'm pretty convinced that the third meat thermometer I've purchased in the last two years is completely flawed in its temperature readings.

The only thing I could fault was the nutella mousse. The recipe called for a bit of gelatin to be added, but I don't think it needed it. We ended up with little granules of gelatin which gave the smooth mousse a kind of sandy texture. To think the one thing I thought would be fail-safe, the one thing I made way back at 11 a.m., would be the one thing that truly failed in the execution department. Surprising.

Another year, another birthday. I really liked this fancy dinner idea, though. I think I might make it a tradition.

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