Dry Fried Green Beans

20 Mar

The second time Paul cooked for me was the night following the night I got drunk and texted him to say that we shouldn’t sleep together anymore.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis of the previous evening. Paul and I were neighbors and would meet quite frequently at the local “hip” spot, called the Bye n Bye. He texted me to see if I wanted to get a drink and we met up 15 minutes later. He was half through his beer when I sat down with a vodka soda (I think I was watching my calories).

On my walk to the Bye n Bye I had been thinking a lot about the type of relationship Paul and I had formed, and how I felt about it. At this point we had been seeing each other sexually while maintaining a solid friendship. And, we were each free to see as many other people as we pleased. Everything was working out. Everyone wins. On that walk to the bar, I had come to terms with the shitty realization that I may actually have feelings for this person. This was the absolute last thing I needed: Free sex turns into sex with strings; strings turn into a relationship; a relationship turns into shit.

Regardless, I had planned to discuss this catastrophic realization with Paul that night, at the Bye n Bye.

Two more crappy well vodka sodas later and I feel loose enough to open up conversation about emotions and other bullshit.

Of course, this is the exact moment when he gets a text and says he has to leave. A girl he had been trying to see was in the neighborhood and they were going to meet for drinks down the street. He tells to “chug my beer,” so he could get out there faster.

I walked home pissed off and defeated. I promptly texted him something short and melodramatic like, “That was rude. I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”

Flash forward to the next day and Paul wants to “talk about it” over dinner at his place. I don’t enjoy conversations about feelings, I do however like when people cook for me, so I walked to his house.

He had already prepared dry fried green beans and some pork dish which I don’t remember. We sat out on his porch and I shoveled the beans into my mouth. He noticed that I had hardly touched the pork and asked if there was something wrong with it. The truth was that I just couldn’t get enough green beans.

The beans were fucking unreal.

They were spicy and salty. Seared on the outside but still had a raw quality on the inside. It was different from any green beans I’d seen prepared, yet amazingly simple. I couldn’t stop eating them.

He explained to me how he made the dish. A small amount of oil is heated over a wok. The beans are seared and a dressing is added. Easy.

The rest of the conversation was not so easy: a long winded discussion about gross feelings and how we had to figure out the best way to pursue a friendship, free of romantic tendencies.

The talking ended when I followed him upstairs.

Condiments

18 Mar

photo

My boyfriend is good at making condiments. People tell him that he has been blessed with a gift. Back when Paul was obsessed Mexican food, he perfected a variety of hot sauces which would make Tapatio and Cholula proud. He has since moved on from Mexican food and focuses primarily on Asian food. His condiment of choice: fermented chili sauce, aka Sriracha.

This popular condiment is like the Heinz ketchup of Asian cuisine but Paul has set his sights on making it better.

The process began by blending up “a shit ton” of chiles, seaweed, and garlic in vinegar.

I was drunk throughout the process so I don’t remember the other ingredients.

Then we put it in a mason jar and let it sit. About two weeks later it smelled ripe and fermented so we heated the sauce over a low heat and dissolved (a lot of) sugar into it.

Scrambled Eggs

18 Mar

Scrambled eggs with toast was the first thing Paul ever cooked for me. He probably doesn’t remember because it was nearly ten months ago. We wearily rolled out of bed sometime around 11am; his dog stared at me purposefully as I dodged stacks of books, CDs and mail on my way downstairs. I was doing the pre-walk-of-shame dance where you wander around the home of someone you slept with, trying to find all of your belongings so not to have to text them two days later to ask if they had found your bra under their bed. I collected most of my things (earrings, bra, ect.) from off of the floor next to Paul’s bed but was searching for my house keys when Paul wandered into the living room and leaned on the arm of a chair.

The frantic search for my keys brought on a hangover  head-rush which was poised to get worse. I collapsed onto the couch next to the dog – she gazed up at me irritated.

Maybe I was still drunk. I had that feeling where you’re still woozy from a night of drinking but the social lubrication has worn off and the looming disappointment of a hangover overshadows any glimmer of positivity. Sure, I could be pleased that I had sex – or whatever – but the reality was that I couldn’t find my stupid keys and I had to work hungover (with Paul) in an hour.

“We don’t have to be at work for a bit, want me to make eggs?” Paul asked as he leaned over to pet his dog.

“Sure, absolutely.” A 21 year old girl knows better than to say no to a man who offers to cook.

“Cool.” And he was off to the kitchen.

When he said we was going to make eggs, I assumed he would do the typical “guy thing”: crack a half dozen eggs into a too hot pan and stir until he served me over cooked, dry eggs. It seemed this would not be the case. Paul shoveled sour cream into the eggs and chopped chives which he neatly set to the side of a cutting board. In the oven two hearty slices of French bread were toasting.

It was all finished cooking at about the same time and Paul arranged the food on his “sexy” plates. Hangover-cure breakfast was ready to eat.