For my bachelorette party, my thoughtful maid of honor worked with a local Thai restaurant to customize a menu with special things from my relationship with the chef. The menu included a section called “Next Week’s Specials,” where they inserted the first meals that we made for each other. The first meal that the chef made for me was bacon wrapped scallops, risotto, and arugula salad on top of a fancy red swoosh of red pepper sauce. In contrast, I’m embarrassed to say that the first meal I made for him was a peanut butter and jelly tortilla wrap. Still makes me laugh!
So I feel like I’ve definitely improved in the quality of my lunches since the infamous PB&J wrap. Here are some practical things that I’ve learned since marrying the chef.
He’s taught me the secret to making a deli meat sandwich taste just like you’d order at a restaurant. I used to just put deli meat on bread with lettuce and tomato. Now I add what I like to call the “secret” deli sandwich ingredients: sliced pepperoncini peppers and a mixture of red wine vinegar and olive oil. Try it! It’s amazing every time!
The chef also helped me experiment a bit more with salads at home. I used to avoid all purple leaves in my salad, because I don’t like purple cabbage. However, the purple leaves from the plant called radicchio are seriously delicious. I also enjoy seeds, nuts, and berries on top. The one point of contention in our house is on the addition of salt and pepper. No matter how many times he says that it’s important to season your salad, I do NOT enjoy salt and pepper on top of my salad.
My knife skills have improved a little bit. Now I know how to hold the knife and slowly rock it back and forth on the cutting board, starting with the tip of the knife on the board. I think it would take hours of knife skills practice to be able to chop as quickly and exacting as the chef. But check back in with me in 5 years!
I also used to make spaghetti by following the directions on the box: boil noodles for 10-12 minutes. Maybe I’d add a dash of oil to the boiling water. However, the chef taught me that you don’t need to add oil to the water, you should add that to the drained pasta after it’s cooked to keep it from sticking together. Instead, you should add a bunch of salt to the boiling water. Not a teaspoon, not a tablespoon…it must “taste like the sea!” That ensures that the pasta will be well-seasoned.