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Happy Birthday, Ben!

7 Feb

What we ate:

Main course: Wine Braised Pork Chops (from the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated)

Sides (not pictured): Sweet mashed potatoes w/ butter & maple syrup, and a side salad w/ MIL’s Lime Vinaigrette.

The verdict: Wine braised pork chops were a complete let down! Bland and overcooked.

Ugh, I can’t stand it when this sort of thing happens. More so being that it was Ben’s birthday and having spent 3+ hours in the kitchen on it. I studied the recipe weeks in advance and shopped for the goods at our local Whole Foods. The butcher gave me the wrong cut… twice (I had to drive back to exchange it). I needed shoulder BLADE chops and not a single one of them knew what I was talking about. That may have been the problem. I was limited on time and hurried out of the store with bone-in and what seemed to have a good amount of marbling. Lesson learned. Do not cook something you’ve never made before on a special occasion for the 1st time. I felt awful because his mom and brother also had to endure the tasteless cardboard-like meat. Luckily, they were all sympathetic and greatly appreciative of my efforts. Everything was eaten!

This made up for it…

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake via Ina Garten

You can never go wrong with Ina Garten. She’s my hero… even though the woman is butter-happy (I use less than called for).

All in all, it was a great day. I was exhausted in the end. My dish rack was piled high, the dish washer was full & running, and more dishes were in the sink and on the counter patiently waiting their turn.

I am thankful for:

  1. My understanding boyfriend.
  2. My understanding MIL and BIL (brother in-law)- bless their hearts for finishing their plates.
  3. Our newly revived iRobot vacuum.
  4. My dishwasher- I know a lot of people out there who are without one.
  5. Ina Garten.

Happy 33rd, babe!