Fever Break

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I know the moment I shook off the stomach flu: 12:30am, Tuesday, March 20. That was when my eyes - eyes that had been sound asleep for more than two hours, now - popped open. And my brain said: “let’s get at it!”

We’d had big St. Patrick’s Day plans; that’s what happens when you marry an Irish woman. But I was excited about them: we were going fun places, eating delicious and indulgent food, and who cares if I’m not a beer guy? green makes everything funner!

But, oh, then my stomach. I won’t inflict the details upon you - by “you” I mean ” co-worker who’s only vaguely familiar with me but has tracked down this blog - but I’m sure you can project a story from your own experiences that was only somewhat worse and far, far funnier to you and your direct acquaintances.

Anyway, this stomach flu kept me napping all Sunday, and quiet all today, and I came home threatening early bedtimes until the realities of life - working late, feeding the dogs, keeping the parrot entertained, cultivating my Pinboard - intervened.

Ok, so I didn’t make it to bed by 9, but my eyes were closed by 10:30. So imagine my shock when I woke up at 12:30 and my brain said, clearly, to my disbelieving body: time to do all those things we planned to do this weekend.

At 1am? On a school night? Said my body, as it tried to roll over and go back to sleep.

Yes, said my brain, affecting a proper British headmaster’s accent, to get it’s point over.

And that’s why I’m up at 1:30 working on a writing project, of which this blog is only a side effect. But at least I know when I beat that darned flu!

El Cocinero

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So I usually think of myself as a good cook, but — I think I might’ve mentioned — I’m slow. Glacial. Weeknight meal? Sure, I’ll have that up for you in four hours, straight away.

Yeah, doesn’t work. So, I think I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions that I was going to take a cooking class. After a bunch of research I decided on a local school’s intro to cooking class.

Right. Intro. Time to suck up my pride. I learned back in tae kwon do that you only get to be fast by being perfect to start, so I figured, hey, let’s make unfounded generalizations. So far it’s been fun. I’ve been playing the role of super-nerd, asking every possible question (yes, it’s a role! don’t look at me like that!) and getting tons of perspective. And tons of chances to cut things up. And, best of all, tons of chances for the instructors to tell me what to do or not.

The first class was on salads. We paired up and my team ended up with the caesar salad. It was a little easier than I’d hoped but, hey, we took some care and it ended up real nice.

Caesar Salad

Today was harder: we made a red snapper green curry.

Thai red snapper green curry

I was really excited for this week, because, despite all my foodie pretensions, I’m as scared of cooking fish as the next guy. I always choose slow, moist fish-cooking techniques that leave me with no risk of burning or sticking; but here I had to cook the snapper fast, over very high heat, to get nice browning. And, as the instructor said, “expect it to stick.”

Well, we got compliments on the doneness and texture of the fish. I have to say, it turned out everything I could hope. And everyone else deserved compliments too, with dishes like these:

North African Albacore with chermoulaSalmon with tomatillo salsaKung pao shrimpFish with black bean and mango salsaCrab CakesIndian halibut

And, best of all, my team finished quickly enough that we had time to practice various techniques and to just jaw a bunch. A little speed? Yes please!