Tammy Zoo was over yesterday, which usually means the meal will be a totally incongruous assortment of [whatever I felt like cooking]+[random chinese vegetables from Tammy's fridge]. Last night it meant: Salmon with dad's totally sweet salmon rub (yes, both meanings of sweet. it is pretty much 50% brown sugar), top sirloin with caramelized onions (also sweet, incidentally), no knead ciabatta bread, and bok choy (or as Tammy would write, bok choi. She is not one for standardized spelings. But I digest).
Now, a certain parent has it out for my meat to vegetable ratio, and I can just imagine what he's thinking right now. Why are there as many meats as sides in this meal? Here's my excuse and I'm sticking to it: I don't usually get motivated to cook for 1, so I rarely cook something unless at least 2 people are going to eat it. Catherine does not like fish, so I can only ever cook it in the presence of guests...and at the same time, she needs something to eat too. So you see, it was quite necessary. I can hear you saying I should have compensated by adding more vegetables to even it out, but obviously by this point there was already enough food, and also in case you weren't paying attention, I wasn't the one in charge of vegetables. So if you must blame someone, blame Tammy. In fact, I encourage it.
For what it's worth, the bok choy was quite good, cooked in equal parts rice wine and flames (Tammy's secret recipe). Here's how it went down:
Xan: I'm going to use the big nonstick skillet to cook the salmon.
Tammy: Well that's the one I need to use for the bok choi. Who wants to go first?
X: Okay, you go first.
[Tammy puts oil in the skillet and puts it on super high maximo flame on the power plus burner. minutes pass]
X: Tammy, that's getting pretty hot, you better start.
[At least a minute passes]
Tammy: Okay here goes.
[Dumps wet vegetables into very hot oil. Flames erupt, shooting several feet in the air.]
Tammy: Aaaaaaaaah what should I do?
Catherine: Turn off the burner!!!!!!!!!!
Catherine always knows what to do. Here ends the story of the Great Chicago Bok Choil Fire of 2010. Fortunately there were no further consequences, beyond the fact that half of our kitchen is now covered in oil droplets. In any case, no hard feelings! You have to understand that in Chicago, disaster is glorified and celebrated, so long as it's fire related. The moral is, under no circumstances should you go the Zoo. When the time is right, the Zoo will come to you. And almost set your house on fire.
[Edited To Add: Tammy reminds that an important part of the story was left out! Later that very night, the evening's entertainment was interrupted by the very loud sound of the Smoke Detector Freaking Out in the kitchen. It turned out that someone's Ginger Tea (water, ginger and a large amount of extremely burnable honey) had been left simmering indefinitely on the stove top! I'm not going to point any definite fingers here, but the captain's log will confirm that Tammy was the last one to touch the stove...]
The no knead bread was truly great, and it will get a separate post some other time.