The plan was to host R and J and maybe some other folks at my apartment tonight; this was why I was going to such great lengths to slow-cook the beef stew (read: leave it over really low heat for days, and not actually go to any lengths at all). Last night, it occurred to me that I probably wanted to reduce it a bit, just to thicken up the sauce. I turned up the heat (slightly! I mean, barely at all! You could hardly tell that --- okay, I turned it up from Low to Medium), and then I sat back to enjoy a lovely evening of half-watching Nadia G's "Bitchin' Kitchen" while I worked on some important research on the internet.
Did you know that the voltage potential from the base to the emitter controls the current from the collector to the emitter in a bipolar junction transistor*?
And that there are kittens on the internet?
And that some of those kittens will, hilariously, sit in boxes??
"... hey, what's that SIZZLING NOISE?", my sleepy brain said to me, as I rested comfortably in my great big fluffy bed.
Sizzling, for the record, is NOT a noise you expect to hear from a stew.
I dashed to the kitchen (it's a short dash -- it's, like, four steps total -- but I was moving with some urgency, so let's preserve the dynamic language for the sake of a dramatic interpretation of events, shall we?), and immediately realized that the stew was, tragically burned.
I then wept like a small child.
I then captured my salty tears and put them in the pot, after removing it from the heat. I actually just tossed in a couple of cups of water, but whatever. Dramatic interpretation!
So my stew was ruined, and I was in a foul mood all day today (largely owing to a lack of sleep, largely owing to a PROFOUND smell that kept reminding me that I had burned the stew). When I got home, I opted out of evening festivities, sat down to feel sorry for myself...
...And then I got up and rescued my stew!
"I can do this!" I thought, as I reached for the ruined mess. Some of you may be asking yourselves why the ruined mess was still on the stove, nearly twenty-four hours later.
Some of you, however, might not.
I reheated it, bringing it to a rolling boil. I added more water, and scraped around with a wooden spoon to unstick the really burned bits. I made up a quick cup of couscous (seriously, couscous is the easiest thing in the world to make**), and pulled the oh-so-tender pieces of beef from the pot, which were now deeply infused with the merlot, the beef stock, and the lovely veggies. A little vinegar, a little oil, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, et VOILA!! A delicious dinner, rescued from the slag heap of failure!
(cue dramatic trumpets)
Being entirely honest, I would never serve it to, you know, people, because it really was pretty much burned, and "burned" is not a delicious flavor. But I did enjoy it well enough, and have put the leftovers aside for lunch tomorrow. And dramatic interpretation. And all that.
And, gentle reader, what is the moral of all of this?
That's right: those kittens will sit in th boxes!!
A merry evening to you all, and tomorrow: ADVENTURE!! :)
*Note: I didn't look that up. I dredged it up from Electronics Technician "A" School, from nearly two decades ago. I can't keep Snooki and Sookie straight, but I can remember technological arcana, and, frankly, when the EndTimes come, the one kind of knowledge is really going to be better than the other, no? Aren't you glad we're friends?? I will TOTALLY be able to keep your plasma rifle in fine working condition...
Also, googling "endtimes" and "snooki" yields more than a million results.
**Note 2: Put 1 cup of water, a healthy pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp of butter in a pan, and bring it to a boil. Dump in 1 cup of couscous. Stir vigorously, and immediately remove from heat and cover for five minutes. Then fluff it with a fork, and stuff it in your face.
You can also season it to the moon and back, and it will take whatever you throw at it and just be even more delicious. You should always have this in your pantry.
Also, googling "couscous" and "snooki" yields only about 340,000 results.
So, that's a solid win for "snooki" and "endtimes", frighteningly...