The first time Brad came to my parent’s house in Maryland and cooked, I remembered my dad being kind of horrified by the mess left to clean up when we sat down to dinner. Pots and pans piled up on … Continue reading
Yesterday I tagged along with Brad while he and David, the executive chef at Bar Pintxo, cooked for a classroom full of 1st and 2nd graders. If you know Brad and I at all, you know that we aren’t really … Continue reading
So back in October when I was in Maryland visiting my family and I attempted to write a blog a day for ten days, I was taking notes on anything that could possibly become a blog idea. If you sneezed and I thought it was interesting, I probably wrote that down. My mom at one point said she had to watch herself because anything she did could become “Key of Kels” material. It was true. I was often heard saying, “I might blog about that.”
One of these said notes was probably a piggy back conversation to our dish washing OCD conversation (see Bylsma Dishwasher Rules). We got to talking about garbage disposals. My dad had the quote that kicked it off.
“You know what the worst day for garbage disposals is? Thanksgiving.”
Other disposal words of wisdom?
- Never put celery down there. It seems harmless, but it acts like string and just ties the blades in a big knot.
- Always run water when it’s on. Cold water is best.
- Sometimes I just fill up the sink after I use it a lot and let it drain through.
Yep. I think we had been drinking.
Now Brad did not grow up in a house with a garbage disposal. He is only starting to know the wonders of the machine. He told me that once, in Orlando, he was talking to one of his housemates about what was ok to put down there. His housemate started listing foods that were ok. Leftovers, egg shells (I don’t know if I agree with this one), cereal, even a whole pizza.
“Why would you want to put a whole pizza down the drain?” Brad said. Obviously, he would much rather EAT a whole pizza than pulverize it and flush it down the drain.
“I don’t know, but if you ever wanted to, you could definitely do it.”
I, however, have always had a garbage disposal. The only time I scrape my plate before rinsing it is if there are bones on it. Pretty much everything else is fair game.
Brad and I are still recovering from a really bad garbage disposal experience recently. In our old apartment, nothing worked all that well. Especially the garbage disposal. One night I was cleaning out the refrigerator and getting rid of food that had been sitting just a bit too long. I had some leftover homemade chicken noodle soup. Nothing in there can’t be ground up pretty easily, especially after sitting for a week or so.
But all of a sudden the water stopped draining. The disposal just whirred and hummed. The sink filled up with murky leftovers water. Then the other sink started to fill. Oh and THEN the dishwasher started to fill. And overflow.
We will just call this the Great Flood of Kansas Avenue, 2011. Not only was this disgusting, but it actually took two days for someone to come out and even attempt a repair. Imagine living with a chef for two days with dirty water coming out of your kitchen sinks and dishes you can’t easily wash.
To make matters worse, the guy the landlord sent over to snake the drain snaked right on through into the neighbors apartment and busted a hole through their pipes. This is when our property manager informed us that we shouldn’t even be putting lettuce down the drain. What were we thinking? This was also when I informed Brad that I would be looking for new apartments ASAP.
So after all of that, you would have think we had learned. Our new apartment is amazing, but its still old. It was built in the 1940s. The piping wasn’t then what it is now. You just have to treat it with a little respect.
Which is why we should have known, last night, on our version of the “worst day for garbage disposals”, that it was not a good idea to put the potato peels down there. We should have known that the red reset button just wasn’t going to do the trick. And I should have known when I Googled clogged garbage disposal (trying to fix it before Brad came back in the kitchen and freaked out. He DID tell us not to put the peels down there…) it would come back and tell me that potato peels are the WORST thing to put into a disposal.
Well of course.
So we ate our incredible day after Thanksgiving feast with the Toasts (coffee rubbed rib roast, cranberries, sweet potato skewers, stuffing, braised greens…) and then made a few trips down to Walgreens for Drano and when that didn’t work, to Rite Aid for a plunger.
Brad said the girl in front of him in line was also buying a plunger.
Turns out Dad was right. Thanksgiving really is the worst day for garbage disposals. And I bet Rite Aid sold a lot of plungers yesterday.
I mentioned a few weeks ago how I had to give up soaking dishes in the sink for days on end in order to get some order in the dishwasher. This brings me to two things. #1, I reheated some … Continue reading
I had my very first request for a blog post from a fan . Thanks, Dan, for making me feel famous.
He was right though, I left you all hanging. I told you about Brad and all of his kitchen rules and then all I gave you was a story about keeping your hands clean. People have heard about wet hand, dry hand. You need the chef’s wife inside kitchen rules. The ones nobody even knows exist.
So here is kitchen rule #2.
Never Leave a Dish in the Sink with Water In It
I call this soaking. Brad calls this gross.
I think I developed this habit to justify not doing my dishes right away. You fill a used pot with water and all that food and sauce still stuck in there get to slowly dissolve so dishes are so easy to clean whenever you get to them! Genius!
Especially when it comes to bowls of oatmeal. You don’t soak that bowl with a teeny bit of oatmeal left on it? It sticks like cement. You need a Brillo Pad to get that stuff off.
Shoulda soaked that bowl.
I seriously never noticed (or thought it was a big deal) that I did this until about a year ago when I was once again making fun of Brad for how he put dishes in the dishwasher. Bowls and glasses everywhere. In every direction. We could barely fit a days worth of dishes in there and there was no way they were ever going to get clean. It was my dad in me coming out when I asked him, once again, to put the big white bowls on the bottom shelf. All facing the same way. Pretty, pretty please.
“Alright fine. I will do that if you promise not to leave pots in the sink with water in them.”
This, my friends, is one of the secrets to marriage, right? Compromise. I get the bowls, he gets the water in the pots. And I don’t even really leave water in pots. That’s crazy. Who does that?
One point for Kels.
Except the next couple of weeks I stopped myself from filling up pots, pans, bowls and dishes like 767868755 times. Turns out, I had a serious soaking problem.
Brad realized how hard this was for me and even cut me a little slack. Apparently it is ok to leave dishes in the sink (for a short period of time), as long as there is no water in them. But it turned out he doubly won this compromise because every time I’d fill up the stupid pot with water, I would realize what I was doing and then just wash it to get it out of my sight.
Stupid Pot Soaking Addiction.
I have to tell you all, I have not completely broken the habit. I actually chose to tell you about this rule next because the night I had a request for another kitchen rule, I was making burgers for Brad who had worked another 14 hour day. As I was frying up some bacon, I caught this little guy in the sink…
So Brad is doing much better with my kitchen rule than I am with his. But he’s a professional. I would expect nothing less from him. Brad invented the kitchen rules. I’m still a rookie in this game.
I love spaghetti.
This is not an understatement. I would eat spaghetti six times a week. Maybe seven if Brad didn’t feel like cooking. And even without switching up the sauce or anything. Just spaghetti and red sauce out of the jar.
I studied in Florence, Italy in the summer of 2004 and I was surrounded by amazing Italian food. I took a class that was called “Italian Cooking” every Wednesday night where we would make these INCREDIBLE italian dishes with this large Italian man named Stefano. I loved Stefano. I also took his “Italian Wines” class, so he kind of wined and dined me – true Italian style. AND he could pronounce Bylsma. That is a major in with me. I remember I told him I was impressed he got it right ont he first try and he said:
“What, Bylsma? That’s Dutch. Everyone knows Bylsma.”
That was one of the reasons that I fell in love with Italy, I think. No one knows what Bylsma is, where its from, or even close to how to say it. Gosh, America, keep up. Everyone in Italy knows Bylsma. Duh.
But anyway, back to spaghetti. I might have had that one fantastic meal with Stefano every Wednesday night while I studied in Florence, but the other six nights a week, I went to my favorite little market and made myself pasta with red sauce out of the jar. Of course it tasted amazing because I was in Italy. And I was a poor college student. And especially because the Euro/Dollar conversion was not exactly in my favor. Best spaghetti I’ll ever have.
But nowI have this (sort of) problem. I crave spaghetti. I leave work at midnight and just want spaghetti. And spaghetti is not the best thing for a girl’s figure at midnight.
I sent this picture to a girl I work with at 11:42 pm after we had closed down the bar together and I told her about my spaghetti obsession.
So last night I was home alone, doing some work and playing with my new iPad (!!!!) when I realized I was starving. Of course, I had some spaghetti and red sauce on hand, but I decided to spice it up a little bit. I cut up some chicken into strips and made me some “chicken parmesan” if you will. And everytime I bread and fry something I am reminded of one of Brad’s kitchen rules.
Just to bring you up to speed if you have never been in our kitchen while Brad is cooking, there are what I like to call “Brad’s Kitchen Rules”. I sometimes have to remind him that we are not in a professional kitchen and the health inspector is not coming by our apartment. (Which, actually one time she did for a completely un-kitchen related problem. He likes to bring that up.) Working in a kitchen 50-60 hours a week, the rules of the kitchen have been engrained in his head.
I also like to remind him that when we first met, I didn’t do dishes for a week. They would sit “soaking” in my sink until they didn’t fit anymore and then maybe I’d throw them in the dishwasher. Brad does not allow that to happen anymore.
The first rule that I will teach you is one of the least important in Brad’s mind, but it’s one of my favorites because if I screw it up I just have to wash my hands and start over. And its probably the rule I’m best at. So it’s a good place to start.
I present the first in an ongoing series of “Brad’s Kitchen Rules”.
Wet Hand/Dry Hand
So when I was making my chicken parmesan last night, I got my whole breading station set up. I mixed together bread crumbs, garlic salt, italian herbs, lots of parmesan cheese, and chili pepper. Then I beat an egg in a bowl.
The point of wet hand dry hand is to get all that chicken battered and not have your hand completely battered by the end of the process. It can get very messy. So I assigned my right hand to be the wet hand – the one that touches the chicken and dips it into the egg…
And my left hand was the dry hand that covered the chicken with the bread crumb mixture. Since it never gets wet, it doesnt have big clumps of breadcrumbs sticking to it. See? (the thumbs up means I actually did a good job. Minimal bread crumb stickage. Brad would be proud.)
Basically, I melted a whole lot of butter (I mean, if you’re eating pasta at 11pm its already bad enough, you might as well add a lot of butter) and fried that chicken up.
Brad must have liked it because the pots are still in the sink. That’s when you know you made something good – he forgot his own rule! And that almost NEVER happens. Even Stefano would be proud I think.