Friday, September 03, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Revenge of the Kitchen Table 

For the second time in a month I'm apologizing for a lack of posts. This time I have a better reason than I did the last time. I don't like to be on the computer when Jim's home because it's not a shared activity. Let me clarify that. When we're at home together, I really like to be doing things together. Like listening to audiobooks, playing cards, watching Good Eats hosted by Alton Brown, etc.

So why has Jim been home for most of the past week? That's a really really good question. Could it be that poor Jimmy caught some bug that requires him to drink plenty of fresh OJ and coupious amounts of chicken soup (see below for recipie)? No, that's not it. Really he's in such pink of health that he's still able to walk and talk despite having eaten 24 pop tarts in the last 48 hours. (Do the math, that's pretty scary stuff. In fact, I think he might be a medical miracle because of it). Perhaps he's home because he's been temporarily laid off from work -- or worse, fired? Nope, still got the money coming in, although not so much this week because he hasn't been going to work. There's still work for him to return to, however, once he is able to go back to it. So why the hell have I been able to spend so much time with Jim at home the past few days? (Keep in mind that I work evenings...) The story that Jim wants me to tell involves a heroic struggle between him and an armed intruder, who was reduced to a quivering pile of goo after Jim had managed to subdue him with nothing more than his fists and an angry cat while I was safely barricaded in the bedroom. In the interest of journalistic integrity, however, the real story is documented below.

The real story starts ten minutes into the Amazing Race 5 (it's the one where Colin gets really angry *haha*). We were having a good time, Tuesday being the one night that I was off this week. We had just finished dinner, and we were both in really really good moods. I had just cooked an amazing berry herbed butter rice with fresh shitake mushrooms (see below for recipie). Not to mention things were looking good because I am now so proficient in driving a standard (stick shift) car that I have been able to pilot myself to work, which means that he can just get in after work, chill and sleep at a decent hour while I'm out taking away people's money (pay attention to the point that I'm able to drive a stick shift. This is important later). I was looking forward to an extensive shoulder/back massage from Jim's magic fingers after the commercial break when I decided that I wanted some Country Time Lemonade. It's a delicious drink that doesn't taste at all like lemonade but I enjoy nonetheless.

Jim cavorts to the fridge and brings me the whole 2 litre bottle. Realising he's forgotten a glass, he capers back to the cupboard (I had just finished the dishes earlier that day) to get a clean glass. On his gambol back, his path is intercepted by the kitchen table. Now the kitchen table is made of solid IKEA wood. It was probably already a little pissed off because I had managed to tidy up almost everything around the house, but I neglected to clean and de-clutter its surface. I didn't think it was such a big deal, but obviously the table was harbouring some kind of negative sentiment. Jim hobbles back in front of me and goes "Joie, I think my toe is broken."

Sure enough, the fourth toe on his left foot is suddenly at a forty-five degree angle to the rest of his foot (and indeed to the neighbouring toes). Just to make sure that it's really broken though, he reaches down and manages to move it unnaturally from side to side. Good thing that he tried that when he did, because moments later the area was so swollen that nothing in that area was able to move at all. We decided to call 911. After describing his affliction to the operator, the operator advises Jim to get himself into an emergency room where they will be able to advise him on first aid and give him an x-ray. This is where I come in. Having so recently learnt how to drive a car with a stick shift, I was instrumental and bringing Jimmy to emergency. (Okay...since I'm not letting Jim tell his version of these events, I should also add that I spent about 5-10minutes in hysteria after I saw his toe. Good thing I couldn't see it while I was driving though, because it started to turn a corpse-y looking purple-green) We reached emergency (at Vancouver General Hospital after mistakenly pulling into the BC Women's and Children's Hospital where we were told that mental age doesn't count) at five to 11. We eventually made it home at about 12:30am.

Emergency confirmed that his toe was broken and that he should avoid putting too much weight on it for the next little while, at least until it starts to heal. Considering that he wears constrictive steel-toed boots at work and stands for eight hours a day, we decided that it would be better if he stayed home and only walked on it when we got around to doing more housework. Can you believe that even though I more or less took care of the place on Tuesday that there's more to be done already?! Damn, I really need to get in touch with some illegal aliens who would do these things cheap. So right now he's walking around with his fourth toe taped to his third toe to splint it. Emergency didn't even do it for him, they told him to do it himself. Bah.

So that's the real story. But the next time any of you see Jim, besure to mention how gallant you think he is for taking on that horrible intruder single-handedly.

Joie's Chicken Noodle Soup
10 sticks Celery
4-5 Carrots
1 medium Yellow Onion
3 Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp Cooking Oil (Preferably Olive)
1 tsp thyme/rosemary/basil (Preferably Fresh)
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock (Preferably Homemade, but who the hell has the time?)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Dice the celery, carrots and onion into 1cm cube pieces. Heat the cooking oil in a 2L pot over medium heat. Chop the chicken into 1" pieces.
2. Fry the Veggies until slightly softened and fragrant (you might want to cook covered for two minutes). The onions should start to look a little see-through. Turn heat up to high. Add the chicken pieces and the herbs. Sear the outside of the chicken.
3. Add all the stock. Bring to a boil, simmer until you are hungry. Add water as necessary. The longer it boils the better. Add macaroni if you want, hell, it's not like you're making it for me or anything.

Joie's Butter Herbed Berry Rice
1/2 cup Butter
2 cups uncooked rice (Preferably long grain)
1 tbsp dried herbs (whatever you have in your cooking cupboard, please stick to the green aromatic stuff, tumeric and cumin et al have no place in this recipie)
1/2 cup frozen, pureed berries
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup shittake mushrooms
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (Preferably the real stuff, none of that balsamic flavoured red wine vinegar crap)

1. Melt the butter in a pan (woks are nice) reserving about 2 tbsp for later. Add the rice and the herbs. Toss on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
2. Bring heat up to high and toss constantly until rice/butter begins to brown. (I think it's the butter browning, but really, I couldn't quite tell). Add chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time, each time stirring briefly and then covering until all liquid is absorbed. (Use the cover of a large pot to achieve this)
3. After all the chicken stock has been added and absorbed add the berries and cream and stir. It should look a nice purple-pink. Set aside in a large bowl. Stir in balsamic vinegar.
4. In the same pan, melt remaining butter. Surely by now you have chopped your mushrooms into 1cm cubes right? Fry mushrooms until reduced. Add the white wine and simmer on medium until liquid has thicked up. (about 2-5 minutes) Stir cooked mushrooms into waiting rice. Serve with some chicken. Prawns maybe. Depends on what you remembered to defrost.


posted by Joie! at 2:28 PM

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