Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Salsa Incident

In my quest to become the ultimate vintage housewife, I have yet to quote the highest authority on acceptable housewifery: the Bible.  Well, today is the day.  Our quote of the day comes from Proverbs 16:18, and here it is:  "Pride comes before the fall."

You've all heard that before, but I doubt you've heard it made in reference to Mexican food.

So there I was, mixing my guacamole to bring to our Southwestern-style barbecue.  Rex was already out at the grill with our friends, and I was putting the finishing touches on our contributions - the potato salad (I tried a new recipe!) and the guacamole (this was for chips but also to put on the burgers.  Yum.).  I learned how to make my homemade guacamole from the ultimate Guac Master - Josh Mackaluso.  Now, I can't give away his entire recipe lest I be hunted down and smothered with a particularly beefy bushel of cilantro, but I can tell you that one of the ingredients is Tositos salsa.  You may think it's weird to put salsa in guacamole, but just trust me - it's GOOD.

I tried to open the new jar of salsa, but it wouldn't budge.  I tried harder, but it wouldn't budge.  I squinched up my face and grunted like a pro-wrestler, but guess what?  It still wouldn't budge.  Normally in this situation, I would sashay into the living room and hand Rex the jar.  Without asking questions, he'd grab the jar, open it, and hand it back to me all without taking his eyes off of his notes.

If you've been paying attention, you know that at this point Rex was already down by the grill.  Well, I wasn't about to go walk across the apartment complex to have Rex open a jar for me.  It would be way too humiliating, especially since the only other female down there was a buff German feminist friend of ours.  I could only imagine the scowl I would get from her if I had to have a man open my Tostitos jar.

I decided to keep trying.  I grabbed the jar gripper out of our drawer, but it didn't do any good.  I hit the side of the jar lid with a knife, because that sometimes works for my little sister when she's trying to open a jar of pickles.  It didn't work either.  I tried everything!  It was no use! I considered making the guacamole without the salsa, but that just seemed wrong.  I would be bringing shame to the Mackaluso recipe.  Finally I realized I had no choice.  I had to have Rex open the jar.  (Side note real fast - how do you single girls out there solve this problem?  Do you have random unopened jars in your house?  I was not single long enough to experience this problem...please explain how you deal with this).

I packed up the rest of the barbecue supplies and prepared to go to the party with my guacamole only half assembled.  I put Elvis on his leash, and I took a deep breath, ready to face my embarrassment.  Just as I was walking out the door, I thought, "Maybe the lid is loosened up now that it's had a break for a few minutes.  Why don't I try one more time...?"

That was either a really bad idea or a really good idea, depending on how you look at it.  I will say this much: the jar opened that time.  "Opened" isn't really a good word for it, though.  What the jar actually did is EXPLODED.  I got salsa EVERYWHERE.  I got it on the counter, on the floor, on my dress, on my dog, in my hair...everywhere except in the guacamole bowl.  I'm serious.  I even got a chunk of onion in my eye, but none got in the bowl.  I looked like an extra from some low-budget horror movie.  I looked down at the dog, both of us dripping in salsa, and said out loud, "Elvis, let's never speak of this to anyone."  I don't think he was listening...he was licking tomato chunks off of his foot.

Anyway, in the future, I think I will just have Rex open the jar.  It will involve less clean-up, and I won't accidentally show up to the barbeque with salsa on my shoulder (so they all ended up learning what happened anyway).

Sorry, gotta go.  I have to do some push ups to get ready for our next grill day.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Preparing a Turkey

I think that preparing a turkey from scratch is pretty much the most domestic thing any woman can do.  My ultimate goal is to one day host the family Thanksgiving for my husband's family.  It's a big deal to them - all of the aunts and uncles and cousins come together and celebrate with REALLY GOOD food.  The aunts are pretty much my heroes in life.  So anyway, I'm going to do that someday.

In preparation for this ultimate goal, I decided to cook a turkey for Easter this year.  We had a turkey in our freezer since last Thanksgiving (that's a pretty good story in itself...you can read about that HERE).  I decided it was time to get out the turkey and try to cook it.  That way, if I failed miserably, it would be okay because no one would know except for Rex and I.  All of my in-laws are back in Michigan.  Plus, Rex has this thing about making a big deal for Easter dinner.  I figured it was a good time to attempt cooking a turkey.

Did you know that cooking a turkey and going to medical school have a lot in common?  It's true.  First of all, you have to pull out all of the turkey's guts.  It was like dissecting fetal pigs in high school, but it smelled less of formaldehyde.  It was still gross.   Even it's neck came out!  Ewwww!  I don't want to think of a turkey having a neck!  I only want to think of it as deliciousness!  Housewives are tough.  Women of the past even killed the animals themselves - I'm not there yet.  I got squeamish enough having my hand up a turkey's butt.  Gross.

Not only is it like medical school because there are guts involved, but also because I had to inject the turkey with stuff.  Did you know that's how to flavor a turkey?!  I got an injectable marinade, and it came with a syringe.  I had to screw the needle on and everything.  Then I started injecting it all over the place.  Poor turkey...good thing it was already dead.  In my head I was pretending to be a doctor giving vaccinations: "Now you won't get smallpox....now you won't get measles...now you won't get polio...."  Ha ha.  Anyway, I injected all of the marinade, and then I rubbed a bunch of spices on the top.  My friend Elle told me to "massage" the spices onto the turkey.  Two seconds ago I was a doctor; now I'm a masseuse for dead poultry.  It was crazy.  Below is a picture of me injecting the turkey.  Please notice that the picture is dark - that's because I prepared the turkey the night before in order to have it ready for Easter dinner.  WOW - a two day cooking project!  That's advanced.

I know this blog post would be a lot funnier if I could say that I attempted to cook the turkey but then I burned it to a crisp and had to call the fire department.  I would post a picture of our dog gnawing on the charred hunk of meat.  But GUESS WHAT?!?!?!  It didn't turn out half bad!  It was actually pretty GOOD!  I asked my friend Elle for advice on how to cook it (she came over and helped), and I also talked to my pastor's wife about it.  Now, if talking to your pastor's wife about cooking isn't stunningly domestic, then I don't know what is.  Anyway, it turned out really juicy and flavorful, which is good because we were eating leftovers for the next week.  Here is a picture of it:

This is me and Rex at our Easter dinner:

Okay, obviously I'm joking.  That's not me and Rex.  That's us fifty years in the future!  Ha ha.  But really, that's how I felt - very Norman Rockwell.  Do you know how proud I was of myself?  I was SO proud that I called my mother-in-law and said that when Rex and I move back to Michigan (this June), I would love to host a family holiday sometime.  Do you know what SHE said?  She said that none of the aunts have signed up for Thanksgiving 2013 yet, so it might be at our new house.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!  Then again, that would be the crowning jewel of this Vintage Housewife project, wouldn't it?  I'll call that my final exam.  Time to start getting ready...