Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Number 8

A couple of months ago, Will and I ate dinner at a restaurant somewhere in this massive metropolis of Birmingham, and he enjoyed a steak with béarnaise sauce.  I tasted said steak, and thought the sauce tasted better than what I imagine a passionate kiss from Christian Bale must be like (Will, sorry, boo booJ). 

So, béarnaise sauce...that sounds French.  I'll try that! 

Rewind to a couple of weekends ago…Will's hunting and Jack's with the g-parents, so I'm in for a weekend of “me” time.  I'm thinking this was the perfect weekend to practice béarnaise sauce.  This will be one more conquest to check off my list, right?  I do some research and find a recipe for béarnaise sauce. I spend about 30 minutes in Publix trying to decide which type of white wine to buy for this recipe.  I've never cooked with wine, so, I’m thinking there must be some art to finding the right one.  I settle on the classic and cheap Sutter Home Pinot (good choice, right).

I get home, and realize I have a little time to kill before I start cooking.  So, I curl up on the couch and turn on the ol’ TV.  Now, let me just say this because I have to.  I’m normally not the type of girl who watches Lifetime movies.  Scratch that, of course I am.  Most girls are.   So, I get wrapped up in a real tear jerker, and I mean tear jerker.  You know the one…it causes you to do that uncontrollable, hyperventilating cry until you realize you’re talking to yourself about how sad this movie is?  (Insert look of hope that I’m not the only person who does this).  I do have to admit, however, part of the reason for the tears had to be related to the fact that I popped the cork on that vintage bottle of Sutter Home I bought for the sauce, a little early to get a taste J

Once I’m able to calm myself down enough, after this horribly sad movie, in order to work with a hot stove, I begin to make this white wine reduction for the sauce.  It’s pretty much a conglomeration of white wine (not much left to cook with at this point, by the way), white wine vinegar, and shallots.  I make this reduction, and then realize I need a double boiler to finish the sauce.  Don’t have one.  So, I take a trusty stainless steel bowl and hold it over a skillet of simmering water.  After what feels like hours of whisking my arm away, I’m finished.  I tasted the sauce, and I must say…it’s pretty close to what the restaurant’s béarnaise sauce tasted like.  I was pretty proud of myself.  An hour later, I took an Advil or two and went to bed. 

Last week, I decided to cook the French meal, number 8 on my list.  After practicing the sauce the weekend before, I felt pretty confident.  Normally, I can’t stand when Will stands over me in the kitchen while I’m cooking, watching and tasting (and burning his tongue every single time, no matter how many times I tell him, “it’s hot”).  But this time, as I’m cooking my fancy sauce, I found it to be really comforting.  On a nightly basis, Jack’s in the kitchen about every 3 minutes, either playing basketball with Will or running behind me at the exact moment I turn around, in turn, almost causing a mass collision in the kitchen.  Can we say stressful?  Tonight’s no different, except for the fact that I’m different.  It doesn’t bother me that he’s like a tiny tornado in the kitchen.  I look around at MY little non-traditional family, and I realize how lucky I am to have a boyfriend that wants to be around me so much, he’ll stand in the kitchen just to talk to me.  And, a son who’s so happy and loving, he wants to be near us all the time  Instead of being so ramped up because I’m trying to finish cooking, I’m actually taking the time to enjoy “just being together” as a family. 

In the end, I’m not sure if my meal was 100% French, but it was close enough for me.  I made steak with béarnaise sauce, lemon asparagus, and chateau potatoes.  It was a hit!  Jack even tried it.  According to Will, the sauce was “on fire”! 

I went into this “list project” thinking it would be fun.  I had no idea how much I would learn.  And, it’s just the beginning! Moral of the story…sometimes it takes what feels like a “Lifetime” of experiences, tears, and maybe even a cheap bottle of wine to realize what you love most in life.  My “me” time showed me just how much I love the two men in my life, and how much I adore being with my non-traditional family.