It occurred to me that I’ve been so busy thinking or ranting about other things, that I haven’t quite gotten around to mentioning that Tina has actually been out of the country for about two weeks. Seeing as I tend to bitch and whine once about three days have passed without my interacting with Tina, I’m not quite sure how I missed this opportunity. So, yes, long story short: Tina and boyfriend Jeppe went on a somewhat spontaneous and rushed skiing trip, leaving about 24 hours notice as they did and allowing just enough time for Tina to tell me that she would love for me to look after her apartment, mailbox and flowers while she was gone.
Being the kind, dutiful and loving friend that I am, I naturally took the time to make the trip down to her place about three times a week to water her plants and flowers, empty her mailbox and have staring contests with her schizophrenic neighbor.. It all went rather well and I’m pretty sure I managed not to kill anything, including her two beautiful orchids! Plants that I, by the way, know nothing about other than that vanilla pods come from orchids and are tasty in their dried form. The proper care of the orchids, I pretty much had to guesstimate and since they didn’t die, I’m reasonably sure I can say I excelled at that.
But I digress.. To sum up, I took care of things, and Tina, being the grateful little girl that she is, wanted to thank me for my efforts, by having me over for dinner on the day of her return.. Sweet, loving thought, really.. The only problem being that when Tina has me over for dinner, that usually entails me preparing the menu, bringing the food, preparing everything and cooking the dinner as well.. And this time was no exception. So, in actuality, my thanks for taking my time to look after her home was the opportunity to cook Sunday dinner for Tina and her boyfriend.. Tina even reimbursed me half of my expenses as a thank you for my efforts.
Alright, alright, I can see where this is going. I’m gonna have an upset little blonde on the phone in about five minutes, arguing that I paint a horrible picture of her – which is kinda true, but to be expected from someone like me. The fact is that, in case you hadn’t figured it out, I love cooking for friends, I told Tina I’d supply the beef and wine if she took care of the rest, and well, that’s pretty much it.. So I was pretty much a happy camper when I showed up at Tina’s at around 6 PM Sunday to start cooking the various ingredients I’d been wise enough to stock at her place over the course of the week.
The menu that had been half agreed upon, half forced upon the young couple was a garlic bread appetizer (by request) followed by beef tenderloin, fingerling potatoes, bacon wrapped green beans and a cheat version of Sauce Bordelaise. To go with that, I’d brought a magnum bottle of Casillero del Diablo 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon which was a lot better than I’d expected from a supermarket wine. It was so good, in fact, that we (along with the sauce) may have consumed most of the bottle in the kitchen during dinner preparations rather than at the table during dinner.. But I never was a fan of cooking without a glass of wine in my hand or nearby.
Speaking of preparations, they went well, I whipped up some garlic/parsley compound butter, Tina did her thing spreading it in a nice, even, THICK layer on pieces of fresh baguette, Jeppe washed and cleaned the potatoes, and I pretended to know what I was doing browning and slow roasting the tenderloin roast and reducing all sorts of stuff for the sauce.. It all went reasonably well and smoothly thanks, in part, to the wine and the good company. The only stress factor other than the frequent cries of “Hey, where’d my wine glass go?” was the fact that Tina’s probe thermometer had somehow gotten lost or misplace during the move.. And, well, I think we can all agree that preparing a delicate roast without any knowledge of it’s core temperature can be a bit complicated.. But who am I to refuse a challenge?
So, how’d it go? Well, aside from getting rather tipsy on Cabernet Sauvignon before dinner, it all went reasonably well. I wasn’t impressed with the garlic bread. Out of laziness, I’d used pressed garlic rather than chopped, and I’d used more than usual in an attempt to heed the popular demand. The result was that the garlic flavor was a little (read: a lot) too overpowering. I love garlic as much as the next guy, but I’m reasonably sure the intensity of the flavor isn’t supposed to burn your tongue and scorch your taste buds. Jeppe, however, loved it, so that was good. Main course went a hell of a lot better. The tenderloin was a little too medium done for my liking, but then I prefer my tenderloin rare and considering that I was guessing my way through things, I’d say it all went pretty well. The beans, too, were a hit, as were the potatoes and sauce and everybody ate probably ate way too much, but what are you gonna do?
After we’d gotten everything off the table and Jeppe and I had poked copious amounts of fun of Tina whose only crime was to try and clean up the kitchen after the mess I’d produced, we sat down and had a talk and a Mojito which I’m starting to think should become my signature drink as it was once again loved by all, including Jeppe who at this point was nodding away happily in his chair – ahh, the young kids of today. After some convincing, Tina and I finally convinced him to go to bed and then spent about half an hour catching up and talking about everything and nothing before mutually deciding that Tina had a long day ahead of her the next day and also needed to get some sleep. At which point, I gathered up my stuff, packed my bags, put on my many layers of insulating winter clothing and headed on out into the cold.
Having been up at 6 AM that morning and not really having had a hell of a lot of sleep the night before, the plan was to simply go home and go straight to bed. But of course, there was football to be watched and in the end I didn’t really want to miss the Vikings – Saints NFC conference final, so I tuned in for what was to become one of the most intense and crazy games I’ve watched in ages.. A game that was really neck to neck and of course went into overtime but eventually ended in a Saints victory at fucking close to 5 AM Danish time.. At which point I had been awake for 23 hours and was pretty much seeing double during the last field goal attempt.. Good game, though, was well worth staying up.. And the Saints are going to the Super Bowl! Good end! Good day! Good times!
Oh, did I stop to mention that Sunday night dinner was my fourth time eating tenderloin this past week? It’s a hard-knock life being a foodie!