Flowers, Part 2, and Hasselback Potatoes

Over a decade later, I still have issues with flowers.

It all started a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, when my boyfriend and I had a chat over dinner about how neither one normally does much for Valentine’s Day. I thought I was in the clear- maybe we’d make a nice dinner, watch a movie at home, eat some homemade chocolates. And he’s always maintained that he doesn’t like flowers since they die.

Then the week of Valentine’s Day, where I got asked the following questions:

Boyfriend: What’s your address? I’m updating my address book.

That seemed silly, but I gave him my address.

Boyfriend: What’s your schedule like this week? Did you want to get dinner?

I said sure as long as it was low key since I was on nights.

Boyfriend: Hey, I know you’re on nights right now. Do you wake up if someone rings your doorbell? If you get a package, where do they put it?

I replied that the UPS guy leaves packages on my deck since I don’t wake up. To anything.

Boyfriend: Hey, do you wake up if someone call your phone?

I reiterated the point that I don’t wake up. To anything.

Of course, I was working every night up until Valentine’s Day, which made shopping or really anything else a bit difficult, as I was keeping the hours of a vampire (and working a lot of hours at that). But I really had the feeling that I was getting flowers.

On Valentine’s Day, I woke up after sleeping most of the day so I could shower before what I felt was a very early dinner, as it was happening before I was even eating “breakfast” that week. I did, however, check my phone to see if I had a missed call.

No missed call.

I then checked my deck. No flowers.

I checked the side door. No flowers.

I checked the mailbox. No slip from a florist informing me I had missed a delivery.

Now, by this point in time, I was a little bit disappointed. I normally pride myself on my powers of deduction (Sherlock Holmes is my favorite character), and to me there were too many coincidences in Valentine’s Day week. But I then was thinking that I had been wrong.

That is, until my boyfriend showed up, and insisted on walking in (and looking around) my house when he came to pick me up for dinner.

Boyfriend: Did you get a package today? Nope.

Boyfriend: Did you get a phone call? Did your doorbell ring? Nope and nope.

Boyfriend: Well, that’s annoying. I sent you flowers.

I secretly did a “yessssssssssssssss” for my powers of deduction. But then realized I still didn’t have flowers.

After much arguing, I finally got my flowers four days later. And my dad didn’t have to come to the rescue this time (though he did offer to).

Always On Time Hasselback Potatoes*

roasted potatoesno need to have anything delivered

Ingredients

  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil in a spray bottle
  • Parsley
  • Truffle oil (to finish)

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes and remove any eyes that might have developed.
  3. In a glass baking dish, spray with olive oil spray (so the potatoes don’t stick and get nicely brown).
  4. One at a time, snuggle the potato close to an old wooden spoon. Using a knife, make thin slices in the potato, cutting until you just barely hit the spoon handle (if you go too hard, you’ll cut the spoon).
  5. Place potatoes into the baking dish. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Bake 40-50 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced.
  7. Remove from the oven. Drizzle with a teeny bit of truffle oil (use olive oil if you don’t have truffle oil, though I find that a bit of truffle oil goes a long way, and it’s not that much of a fortune) and parsley. Serve.

*a.k.a. Accordion Potatoes

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Beer and Wine Jelly

Sometimes, patient’s don’t understand what isn’t allowed in the hospital.

Back in med school, I was on the medicine inpatient wards. In medicine, you always have some patients who have been in the hospital for a while. And those patients sometimes are allowed to have a bit more freedoms just because they’re essentially living in the hospital.

My particular patient had been in the hospital for quite a few weeks. He was an overall fairly healthy guy, except for what was keeping him in the hospital. He also loved his sports. And something else with those sports.

I was on call one day, and had to walk into his room later on to see how he was doing now that we had changed around some of his medications.

And there, neatly lined up in the window, was a row of 4 bottles. With beer labels.

Me: Excuse me, sir, but are those yours?

Patient: Yup, the wife took pity on me and brought us something to drink during the baseball game.

Me: Sir, you realize you can’t drink in the hospital, right?

Patient: Good thing I had the wife hide the other two!

And no, alcohol is not one of the freedoms he was allowed.

Hospital Appropriate Spiced Wine Jelly

wine jelly

since alcohol is allowed in hospitals in jelly form

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 1/4 c whit e sugar
  • 1 packet liquid pectin
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

How-to

  1. Bring a water bath canner with lids and jars (this makes about 3.5 C jelly, so plan accordingly) to a boil.
  2. In a small saucepan, measure out 1 1/4 c wine and pour in. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 15-25 minutes, or until reduced to 1/3 c liquid. Remove from heat.
  3. In a separate, larger pot, pour in the rest of the wine and add in the sugar. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring often.
  4. When larger pot has come to a boil, add pectin and lemon juice. Bring back to a hard boil (once you cannot stir down) and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Strain in reduced wine in order to remove the spices.
  6. Ladle jelly into jars leaving 1/4 in at the top for room. Wipe rims clean, then place on lids with rings. Process for 5 minutes (adjust for altitude- please comment for times).
  7. Remove jars from water bath and let set (don’t touch them!) for 12-24 hours. Store for up to one year (one month in the fridge).

Porn and Peppermints

With holidays, come gifts.  And, inevitably, there is always the worst gift you’ve ever received…

porn.

And it gets so much worse than that.

To start, I’ve dated my fair share of former Catholic altar boys.  It’s never on purpose- I just always find out by the third or fourth date that they used to be Catholic altar boys.  It at least isn’t as bad as my habit of dating guys whose name normally has 4 letters and usually starts with J…or with middle names of “Michael.”

Anyway, so I was dating this guy.  And this guy was a formerly repressed altar boy who thought that porn was the pinnacle of sexiest things you could ever buy a girl, which I later learned.

Oh did I mention I ended up paying for this as well?

I should have known this was a bad idea from the start.  My birthday, per tradition, always sucks on the actual day. Without fail. So earlier that day, the guy I was dating asked me to borrow $20 since he had to go somewhere that took only cash (not uncommon in my college town).  He then said he had a “surprise” for me for my birthday.

He took me to the store off campus that sold the largest variety of DVD and VHS porn (it was also the only store that sold porn within a hundred miles, unless you want to count the ability to buy Playboy at Walmart). And this was early 90s style porn, according to the date on the back of the DVD.  Which he had already picked out. And then used the $20 in cash I had let him borrow earlier to paid for it.  And he was so proud of himself for his brilliant idea.

Needless to say, I didn’t keep that “birthday gift.”

Anyway, if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for the holidays (and don’t want to make the same mistake), I suggest you make the following…

Better than a Gift of Porn Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package of 12 candy canes (or 6 oz peppermint candies)
  • 1 12 oz package white coating chocolate

How-to

  1. Cover 2 half-sheet pans (your average cookie sheet pans for those non-bakers) in either aluminum foil or parchment paper (whichever you happen to have on hand)
  2. Unwrap the candy canes or peppermint candies. Place into a ziplock baggie and place underneath a towel. Using either a rolling pin or frying pan, get out all of your aggression over bad gifts by beating the candy into small bits (you’ll have a lot of dust but that’s okay!).
  3. Dump the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and toss into the microwave, microwaving for 20 seconds at a time until the chocolate appears to be just melting (normally takes ~1 min in my microwave)
  4. Stir the chocolate chips until smooth, and then evenly divide the chocolate between the two sheet pans and spread thin.
  5. Break up the white melting chocolate into a separate bowl and microwave again for 20 second intervals until just melting (like before), then stir until smooth.
  6. Mix in the candy with the white chocolate, then divide up the white chocolate-peppermint mixture by spoonfuls onto each baking sheet.
  7. Using a knife, swirl the white and semi-sweet chocolate, then tap the pans on a countertop to settle.
  8. Place both sheets into a fridge under the chocolate sets, then break up into pieces and package into decorative bags or boxes.