Tuesday, May 19 2020

breakfast burritos, puff pastry, and the last dance

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Tuesday. How's your week going so far? All the clouds and rain we've been having create a different kind of mood. It's easier to lounge around and appreciate all the time in the day, but it's hard to find the motivation to get things done. Peeking at the weather forecast, it looks like we'll get a short break from the rain before heading into yet another long weekend of rain. And as always, Marissa and I come away from this looking like geniuses for putting down new grass seed when we did. I may even get out of this without needing to water the grass myself.

Sip. Can I tell you the tale of the greatest breakfast burrito ever made? Let me set the stage for you. It's Sunday night, and while cleaning out the fridge, I notice a giant dinosaur sized sirloin steak thawing in the bottom drawer.

"Oh crap," I blurted out to Marissa from around the corner. "I totally forgot about this steak in here - I don't want that to go bad."

And so, with only a half hour remaining in the evening before our TV & bedtime, I flopped the gargantuan steak onto a plate and put a pan on the stove. I wildly chopped two onions and started heating olive oil on full blast. The steak touched down, and the searing began.

Soon, the onions joined. I just love the smell of onions in olive oil, and the aroma rushing out of the kitchen when combined with a sizzling steak was enough to make Marissa peak her head through the door out of curiosity.

"Are you making cheese steak?" she asked. After flipping the steak onto a plate and ducking underneath an open cabinet, I nodded.

"And we still have a package of cream cheese, too. Finally I figured out a way to use that," I said.

I cracked open the fridge door and dropped the little silver cube of cream cheese onto the counter, unfurling the tinfoil wrapping. There was a gummy black substance caked around the outside. I studied the residue, then recoiled at the realization that this was mold - a lot of it.

"GROSS! Never mind - we're going to have to use - " my voice trailed off as I scanned our fridge. "Actual cheese!" I said, seeing the ricotta and fresh ball of mozarella. "I have a feeling this will be a lot better than we're used to. I don't think I've ever used good cheese to make cheese steak."

Softened charred onions and sliced, dripping steak slid into the metal mixing bowl, followed closely by a scoop of ricotta cheese and a hastily ripped up ball of mozarella. Lastly, I added chopped up scoop of kimchi before shutting the lid tight and letting the heavenly mixture set in the fridge.

The next morning, Rodney joined me in the kitchen to finish assembly. As I scrambled some eggs in butter, sliced a quarter of cabbage, and set aside some snipped chives, Rodney pulled his step ladder over to the cabinet and proceeded to reorganize the cans. I sighed, kicking the metal cans away from my feet. "Can you clean those up before we eat, dude?" I asked as patiently as I could.

A scoop of cheese steak nestled beside pillowy scrambled eggs, then a little handful of cabbage and a sprinkle of chives before getting tightly rolled up in a tortilla and tinfoil and heated in the oven. I cut a burrito in half for Marissa and brought it to her. She was on the phone with someone, and hearing her get so distracted by the burrito in her lap that she lost her place in the conversation was almost as gratifying as actually eating it.

Oof. Six hundred words in, and I've only covered breakfast. This is already a different kind of journal entry. To sum up, it was the greatest breakfast burrito ever made. And after wrapping up lunch, Rodney and I wrestled it off on the couch while watching zoo videos. Things wound down, and Rodney pulled a blanket over our heads, making a makeshift fort. The dim lighting beneath the blanket set just the right ambiance for an afternoon nap, and I dozed off, waking up a half hour later to Rodney's foot in my face. Rodney went down for an actual nap, and I retreated upstairs for online French cooking class.

"How's the class going?" asked Marissa from the couch, holding Miles as I came back down the stairs an hour later.

"It's getting a lot better," I replied. "I was a little bored last week, but actually trying one of the recipes got me excited about it again. Today was potato day."

For dinner, I made a rice pilaf with carrots, onions, and parsnips. And I was grateful we still had thyme and fresh parsley in the fridge, as it added a boost of flavor. Rodney joined me in the kitchen again, and after steering him clear of the delicate puff pastry pockets I was cutting, I turned him loose onto the scraps.

"I have a really important job for you, dude," I said leaning in like I was telling him a secret. "Look - I need you to get all this into a big ball." I squeeze the scraps together with cupped hands. "Then I need you to use this rolling pin and flatten it out. When you're done, I need you to roll it into a ball again." Rodney's eyes widened as he reached for the rolling pin. I had him in a classic Rodney distraction loop, and the perpetual decoy bought me enough time to finish my puff pastry pockets, which I filled with leftover breakfast burrito stuffing.

After getting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I tidied up the house and sunk into the couch with beers in hand. "Are you ready for THE LAST episode of the Last Dance?" I announced into our dimly lit living room. "I'm pretty excited about this arc. I was 8 during the '98 championship, so I actually remember a lot of it. I remember hating Karl Malone. Oh, and I remember my parents making fun of how John Stockton looked like a little boy."

The Last Dance has been a wonderful quarantine distraction. While I'm sad to see it end, I guess there's no reason why we can't just watch it again.

Thanks for stopping by this morning, everyone. Hope you have a wonderful day today.