Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

J and I are currently living in a POS sublet--a place that J has derisively nicknamed "The Flop House"--while we are waiting to close on our new house. This will theoretically happen on Friday, but that's another story.

The Flop House is unfurnished, and of course, the relocation benefits would not move us from our house in Columbus to a POS sublet to our new house, so we rented a U-Haul trailer hitch and brought the bare minimum for basic comfort. Of course, I've been finding over and over that I have forgotten something necessary for basic comfort. Like a spatula. I brought many things necessary for cooking, but no cooking utensils beyond the pots, pan, and baking dish I had packed. You've never really cooked breakfast until you've tried to flip an egg with no cooking spray on the frying pan (non-stick my ass) and the only utensils available to you are a fork and a knife. I like eating eggs by the individual molecule, don't you?

I did, however, bring our blender. We love smoothies for breakfast, and I figured it would do in a pinch if there was a need for a food processor, and why on earth would we need that in the 6 weeks we were in the Flop House?

Famous last words. Lafayette has a wonderful farmer's market every Saturday morning. This past Saturday, we overspent on produce because everything looked so fine. We bought gorgeous tomatoes, and I made plans for tomato-mozzarella-basil salad. We bought a bunch of fresh basil, because I had no idea that a "bunch" of basil was another word for "more basil that you can comfortably shake a stick at." The woman who bagged the basil suggested we make a big ol' batch of pesto. I haven't made pesto since I was in college, but it's delicious and we have the basil.

So, last night I made pesto. Those of you who know me recognize that patience and a methodical nature are NOT exactly my most striking qualities. I knew as I stuffed fistful after fistful of basil into the blender that this was not going to work. And yet the mad scientist child part of me just kept on stuffing, giggling madly. I threw in pine nuts, garlic (whole cloves), parmesan, and then poured a generous dollop of olive oil, figuring that might grease the blade enough to be able to handle the over-stuffing.

The blender made an unpleasant noise.

I shook the blender. Sometimes that works with smoothies.

It continued to make an unpleasant noise.

I took the top off and pushed the stuff down with a knife. Yes, the blender was still running. And yes, they are allowing me to become the mother of small child. The blender blade nicked the knife. Of course, I had used one of the fiddle head butter knives that are my favorite. See note above regarding patience and methodology.

I enlisted the help of J, a mechanical engineer. He found something flattish to push things down, and it worked.

Pesto, done! But of course, I am master chef and I am unsatisfied. The pesto just isn't smooth enough, in my humble opinion. (This coming from a woman who last made pesto literally 1 decade ago and last ate it probably 2-3 years ago. What can I say? I have an exacting nature). I add a little more oil. I start the blender running again. Of course, the pesto at the top is not coursing evenly down to be smoothed.

You can probably guess what I did next.

Back into the blender with the fiddle-head butter knife. The blade nicks the knife a few times, and then it takes matters into its own hands. Meaning, it pulls the knife out of mine. Anyone familiar with either the laws of physics or slapstick comedy will know what happened next. The blender, wiser by far than the chef, turns itself off. But not before throwing the knife into the air, and covering the walls, ceiling, and my maternity shirt with pesto. (Of COURSE the top wasn't on the blender. Why on earth would anyone do something that intelligent?) The knife now also makes a sharp right turn at the end, which will make it convenient to butter toast around a corner.

There were no major casualties, with the possible exception of my shirt. J enjoyed making fun of me while cleaning the ceiling. Plenty of pesto was left in the blender, so we were not forced to eat it off of the flat surfaces of the kitchen.

However, an hour later we were eating salmon with pesto with a side of pesto pasta and some truly fantastic salad. J said, "Dinner is *really* good tonight. Thank you."

In cooking, the ends justify the means.


  1. I am glad the knife did not butter your eyeballs.

  2. Oh my! I don't know how you lasted for 6 WHOLE WEEKS with only the bare minimums! You probably felt like it was Christmas morning the day you were finally able to move out of that place and into your new one. And I'm with Jessica... glad the knife didn't butter your eyeballs!! Haha :D

    Thanks for linking up with us for Ghosts of Blogging Past!!

  3. HAHA this made me laugh. It is reasons like this I don't touch machines in a kitchen.

  4. The Flop House? Like, a brothel? Eeks. And I suck at cooking, so no matter what I did well or what I did wrong, it would all suck in the end.

  5. non stick my ass... I die!! I hope the six weeks went by quickly!? Thanks for linking up with us!

  6. Oh and just saw you're an O-H-I-O'er! Me too!

  7. Thanks to everyone for visiting. I hope you all take off your coats and stay awhile!

  8. HA! I had a blender mishap with hot soup once. It'll make you swear off blending for awhile.

    I can never get pesto smooth enough at home either. WTH?

  9. Oh my goodness - sounds like quite the adventure. No wonder you were blogging - have to find the humor! Glad the only casualty was the butter knife edge and your shirt (who cares about the ceiling, that wasn't yours anyway)

    stopping by from #bloggy past