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Valentines day.

I set out with the plan to pull off the best Valentines Day ever. Not super expensive or luxurious, but a honest wholesome romantic evening. And by that I mean that I would simply cater the evening to Kelly, making sure that everything is just right for her. Make a dinner that was somewhat complicated, good ‘n tasty, and good for you. Sneak in a late present—which I wasn’t allowed to buy—but it would be practical enough for her to overlook that. But fun enough that she was actually excited about it.

It all started out with a trip to the grocery store. Well, a trip home to get the ingredient list that I had written down on a post-it then to the grocery store. I really don’t like the grocery store, and this time I had an intricate list of foodstuffs that I had to track down. Including cilantro, which despite my finding the sign for, did not exist until I finally caught someone in the produce section and had them go fetch me some more. Yep, no idea where Thai Fish Sauce was, or if I could even find fresh red chilies. I’d say it took about an even hour to track down everything I wanted. Not all grocery store, I ran to target to get the secret present—a maroon carpet, which would match our new drapes in the bedroom AND not attract cat hair like the light side of duct tape. They didn’t have it anymore. They had the runner and the throw rug versions, yes, but not the full rug. So I paced up and won the isle until I settled on a backup.

Back to the house to prepare the food. But first I must sneak the rug in with out being caught. Reverse burglaring, if you will. I took it out of the jeep. Stared suspiciously down the street and made a mad dash for the front door. I fumbled for my keys while glancing over my shoulder for the green Jetta. Um, yeah, she didn’t show up for like an hour.

Before I could cook I had to clean. Lots of lasagna dishes and pans and more pans. Then I unloaded all the groceries, and got to work.

Ok, I needed to combine garlic and cilantro into a paste. Needed a mortar and pestle, I knew Kelly got one for Christmas but had no idea where it was. Called and asked, she told me exactly where it was, which I took for some where else. I looked everywhere for it except for where she told me (I even looked in the bedroom), and eventually figured out on my own what she told me to start with. Stupid over the stove.

At this point things were going much more smoothly. I could find shallow pans to marinade the steak, and was able to grind things into a paste, chop up fresh herbs, the whole bit. I got the steak marinating and went to work on the dressing. Not having fresh chilies I used canned green chilies, which as far as I can tell are much more, um, watery. Grinding them into a paste with garlic was tricky. The chilies ground up easy, but lubricated the garlic enough that I couldn’t trap it to grind it. So I spent a while squishing individual pieces of minced garlic up. One at a time, and even then they would get away from me and I would be stuck chasing this little bit of garlic around the bowl insisting that I would turn it onto a tasty paste.

The next and final cooking snag was over cooking the meat. Not much, I was shooting for medium or a bit rarer. The freekin’ Williams Sonoma brand thermometer screwed me. It is remote gizmo that does all the fancy stuff like say “Beef==medium well” or “30 seconds left”, where the transmitter simply reports the temperature. Well, they weren’t communicating. So I tinkered with them until they did, and that involved turning them off and back on. By that time some time had passed and I didn’t know how long and suddenly the beef was registering at 174. Well done is 170, I wanted 160 at best. Well, Neal woulda liked it.

I arranged the Thai Beef Salad in a big bowl, which we shared. Plopped it on the table. Decreed that we needed to have shots with dinner, and sent Kelly to get the drinks. She brought Caffeine free coke and no shot glasses. I gave her a rug. Watched Battlestar and she packed for Richmond. The thanks I get. Frack.

In other news Tom’s bid lost. A town house in burke, asking $375 or so, went for way over $400. Double Damn. The market needs to cool it so Tom can move to Burke and then it can resume this insanity.