Some things just aren’t meant to be. Apparently one of those things was the birthday dinner I’d been planning for my wife for an entire week. It was nothing over the top fancy, just a simple dinner of seared scallops over wilted romaine with garlicky butter and olive oil fettuccini. All-in-all, a dinner that should have taken less than 20 minutes to make from start to finish if everything had gone right.
Of course, it didn’t go right. It didn’t go right at all.
First, for some reason my stove doesn’t like to boil the wter in my pasta pot. I blame it on both the pot itself for having crappy heat conducting properties and on the burners, which have no center vents, just a ring of outer gas jets that force all of the heat towards the outside of the pot and up the sides. at times it can take nearly an hour to get a good boil going. Add the pasta and the water will immediately drop below a boil for a good 5 minutes.
This in itself would not have deterred me. I’d bought fresh fettuccini, so a qhick 2 minute dip in the water would have rendered it perfect regardless of a rolling boil. (See, I plan ahead sometimes!) so once the water was getting good ad ready, I pulled the scallops out of the freezer and plopped a sufficient number into a collander for a quick thaw under cold running water…
Only to find that they were completely freezer burned!
I’ll admit that this put a hitch in my semi-well thought out plans. I’d run the menu in my head enough times that I should have been able to slam out this dinner with Gordon Ramsay-esque precision. But hey, I’m the seat of my pants guy. I’m adaptable. I’d just substitute the scallops and romaine for sauteed shrimp with a bit of thyme and a hint of lemon, no problem! I dashed to the freezer and grabbed for the jumbo shrimp, only to find that instead of a lovely milky flesh color, they too wore the mottled and splotchy signs of freezer burn as well.
OK, one pack I can see. maybe I punctured the package unwittingly or had stored it for too long. Two damaged seafood packages and now it’s the commisary’s fault! Unfortunately, those were the end of my options. Every other protien I had available was inthe deep freezer outside so ther was really no other choice. I’d already waited to start dinner because my wife had been talking to her best friend for two hours. (I’m not complaining, they only talk every few months.), there was nothing I could grab and make in a hurry and we’d both already toasted her <censored>’th year on this earth several times, so driving was out of the question.
So for my wife’s birthday dinner, we oredered Asian. She had the cashew chicken, I had the broccoli beef, and they managed not to screw up the fried rice this time. That in itself is a kind of miracle.
However, I don’t take this type of insanity well. I’ve had nights where something didn’t work, but I am not accustomed to finding that my product has gone bad, especially when I have not had them for long at all. (The scallops were bought just about a week ago, the shrimp was unopened.) I’ll be back at the commisary later today for more scallops and whatever greens I can find that look perfect sot hat I don’t have to write off the pasta as well. This dish will be made tonight, I swear it on all that is culinary. I will not be defeated by a bi-valve and a piece of bad packaging!
Have any of you sufered through a comedy of errors like this? What did you do at the end of the day? I’d love to hear about it.