Thursday, September 5 2019

mixtapes, steak, and baking

794 words

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Dear Journal,

Good morning everyone! Yesterday was a very busy day. After work I took Rod to Hy-Vee to pick up some sides. I had a chuck roast that had been dry aging in the fridge since Sunday, and I wanted to pick up some sides. Rod brought along his giant giraffe to Hy-Vee too, but even with the extra member in our party we were in-and-out pretty quickly. Rod and I have a pretty good Hy-Vee system at this point, and very few things can throw it off.

Speaking of getting thrown off, just as I was loading the groceries into the car, some dudes pulled up next to us and handing me a mixtape. I gave the guy three bucks - partly because I like to support local artists, but also because he said I looked groovy and I was very flattered. Rod, Giraffe, and I listened to the mixtape on the way home. We only made it about ten minutes, but I think that’s all we needed. And even if we had liked the mixtape, I don’t know how I would have tracked down the band because it doesn’t have anything written on it. So I suppose I would have to comb through the tracks and just listen to the “shoutouts” or whatever. Let that be a lesson, I guess. If you’re at the stage in your rap career where you need to boost concert attendance by handing out mixtapes in the Hy-Vee parking lot, then you’re probably also at the point in your rap career where you need to write your name on them.

After we got home, Rod helped me cut up a shallot, but then lost interest and decided to go watch TV. I really couldn’t blame him, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing with the giant piece of meat in the fridge, and he must have felt the vibes. Even though it was really meant to be braised or cooked like a pot roast, I didn’t have time to do any of that, so I opted to just cook it like a giant steak with a reverse sear. The three pound chuck roast took about 45 minutes to get up to medium, and afterwards I seared the hell out of it on cast iron and basted it in butter. I still had some rosemary and garlic around, so I put them to work. I let the steak rest while I threw together some peas and carrots. I thought I was in the clear and had pulled it off, until I cut into the steak. The good news was that it was cooked perfectly - cooking a steak right is just a matter of reading a thermometer correctly. But the meat was chewy, and there was an abundance of unappetizing fluid on the plate. So the moral of the story is that while you can cook a chuck roast as if it were a giant steak, it won’t taste like one. It was still perfectly edible, and my hungry family graciously just filled up on end pieces, bread, and sides, but just something to remember for later. While cleaning up, I joked with Marissa that after proving I can turn an inappropriate piece of meat into a barely passable steak, cooking a real steak next time should feel pretty easy. Kind of like how baseball players practice with weights at the end of their bad - so when the weight comes off and they step up to the plate, the bat feels lighter. In the same vain, I should see if I can reverse sear a shoe.

After putting Rod to bed, Marissa painted and I kept the cooking party rolling into the evening, making more batches of palmiers in between Wednesday chores. The first batch of palmiers turned out terrible - the hearts unfolded into what looked like angry crab pincers, and they burned, but I found a good system and the batches started to normalize. Soon I had the hearts in-tact, golden brown, ready to be paraded around the office.

Baking is difficult. It almost feels like a sport. I’m pretty exhausted, and tonight I think I’m going to suggest we eat at Portillo’s to give our kitchen a break.

Marissa and I finished the night by sitting on the couch together and watching New Girl. We’re both still reeling from our decision to stop watching Handmaid’s Tale. I read somewhere yesterday that attention is our only currency, and we should spend it wisely. Something to keep in mind as the “binge-able TV mini series” becomes more fashionable.

That’s my time. Hope you all have a wonderful day today.