David was there to greet me at the airport and upon arriving back at the house I quickly gave it the once over...nothing terribly dirty, nothing noticeably missing, nothing broken...everything perfect (or so I thought). He failed to mention that he had tried to defrost a PLASTIC container of soup IN THE OVEN...and well...you can imagine what happened....needless to say the oven was VERY clean when I went to use it Thursday evening to make nachos....and when I say VERY clean...I mean very clean. The remnants of a cooking explosion I had a few months ago was gone (and I had scrubbed that mofo).
On Friday David had to go to class and left me to catch up on some sleep and to potter about and to do my thing. So...in true housewife manner I planned supper (chicken stew using left over chicken thighs from the night before) and well...of course...I baked a cake (duh!).
So I spent my first afternoon back in the house baking a lovely, moist and totally moorish chocolate and vanilla marble cake. The recipe comes from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. A recipe I stole from my housemate Becky's cookbook. A recipe that is so easy and delicious you can't help but make it a staple. Tessa adds single cream into the batter which makes it just out of this world!
When 5 o'clock rolled around and David came home I was like "check me out, I made a cake...I am just about to start the stew....I am totally NOT jet lagged".... And then I had what I think of in my head as a total Julie Powell moment. Julie Powell is the government secretary turned blogger turned famous author. The author of Julie & Julia....basically I am in love with her, and Julia of course, and on Friday night I found myself having a classic Julie Powell moment. If you've read the book/seen the film you will get this.
So I'm totally cocky, cake is baked and I am ready to remind David of what he's been missing the last six weeks...I go to the fridge, I take out carrots, celery, wine. I go to the cupboard, I take out potatoes, onion, canned tomatoes. I cut some fresh thyme (somehow it survived). I am already to peel and chop and brown the chicken...THE CHICKEN!!! "um David, where did you put the left over chicken?"
"oh, I put it in the freezer"
Dinner is ruined! The chicken is in the freezer, we have no other meat, only veggies. And this is when I had a classic Julie Powell melt down...one where only her husband Eric can make things right. Throughout her project Eric, on countless occasions, poached eggs...ran to the store for provisions, flipped crepes, mixed drinks....anything to avert or diminish crisis...
And that is what David did for me. "We could just have vegetables? Or we can defrost the chicken in boiling water?" EWWWW on both accounts...but the veggies on the counter and the thought of just vegetables for my welcome home meal together depressed me....so the kettle was filled up and put on the stove and we waited...and waited...and waited....
Defrosting chicken in boiling water is disgusting...especially when it has skin on it....I had this vision of browning the skin making it nice and crispy then slowly cooking the chicken in the stew till the meat fell off the bone.....well when thighs are defrosted in boiling water first, the skin is basically boiled and it smells and it looks gross and so, in the end off with the skin, out with the bones and the meat was instead chopped up.
I put too much wine in the stew, leaving nothing for me to enjoy while waiting the hour and a half it took to cook....but in the end, it was yummy and warm and the meat was tender and the sauce was just winy enough.
Thank you David and thank you Julie Powell for making me accept my meltdowns. And in the end I knew I could count on my cake! And...I could