0 comments / Posted on by Erin Gates

So remember my whole carefully pre-planned (plotted?) Valentines Day weekend?  Well, that tricky little bastard called “life” got involved changed things up a bit. But you know what, rolling with the punches is what it’s all about.  I brought out my camera for a bit hoping the night would be “blog-worthy”… and it was. But not in the picture-perfect way I’d hoped.

Saturday night was my little dinner party and sadly three of six guests couldn’t make it due to injury and illness.  A bit of a bummer after already shopping for the evening and not getting a chance to see good friends, but alas, I soldiered on. OK, that’s a bit of a glamorized version. I actually started moping around pretty badly and being all “waaaaaaahhh“, as our friend Brad would say.

Example number one- the chalkboard in our kitchen was soon scrawled with this (which I forgot to wipe off before our realtor had a showing yesterday-ooops):


(what crankypants wrote that?)

Yeah, so as you can see I was in a good mood. So what did I do to remedy that at 4:15 in the afternoon? Open a bottle of cabernet, of course.


( Wine? Check. Blackberry? Check. Ok, let’s cook.)

Mistake numero uno. Warning to others- DO NOT start drinking before attempting to prepare a somewhat complicated dish that involves a lot of chopping and lighting things on fire. DANGER.

My dessert (a very easy and artery clogging Paula Deen creation), an appetizer of crostini with fig, ricotta and prosciutto and a salad of  baby spinach, pear, almonds, shaved parmesan and balsamic vinaigrette came out perfectly.  Granted, that’s probably because they were all prepared while sober.


(yum. yum. yum.)

The table was set- I busted out my vintage french opaline water goblets for the first time, strung fake pearls from the light fixture, set out the INCREDIBLE centerpiece my girlfriend sent over from the impeccable Winston’s Flowers and added a few funny themed favors to each place setting.  A fire going in the fireplace and things were improving!



I had my V-day play list on in the kitchen and got going on my boeuf bourguignon.  I wanted to make Julia’s recipe, but heard Ina’s was a bit easier so I went with that. I am admittedly not a great cook, only because I never really do much of it.  I consider making grilled cheese and soup cooking. Turns out, Ina’s was not a whole lot easier, and when I read the instruction to “now light the brandy on fire and stand back” I got a little nervous, despite imbibing in some liquid courage.  I got to chopping the veggies and then the combination of dancing tunes, lots of wine and an ill timed, spine-rattling dog bark lead to the first bloodshed of the night. Knife, meet finger. Ouch.  I bandaged myself up and kept going.  More wine, more dancing, more sauteing and chopping and then BAM. Man down! More blood, more bandaids. WTF?



Feeling like a complete imbecile, I nervously prepared to flambe. I called in the man of the house for this as I was already 0 for 2 in the whole Knife vs. Erin battle and I didn’t really want to scorch off my face at this point. I had guests coming, after all.  Now, I expected a slightly thrilling amount of flames, but not a friggin’ scene from Backdraft in my own kitchen.  Flames literally were licking the ceiling of the kitchen and we both are standing there all, “Is this right?? Is this okay??” and then finally I grab the beef broth I’m supposed to add at SOME point and throw it in (without checking the recipe- the moment called for action not careful measurement). My heart did not stop pounding for about 5 solid minutes.


(FLAMBE! I missed taking a pic of the full firestorm- clearly I was busy freaking my freak)

After hours of cooking, some improvisation on the recipe- (wait, NOW saute the mushrooms? But I did that an hour ago! God damn it!)-  finally dinner was served, and it came out surprisingly GREAT. We had a really lovely time and went to bed really hideously full and exhausted. The pups were mighty pooped as well- entertaining is their favorite thing to do in the world; “Oh hello new friends, would like to meet my otter? (run back to toy basket) How about my stuffed puppy? (run back to toy basket) Or perhaps rubber pirate chicken? (run, run, tail wag, run)


I can tell you this though, next year all I’m making are reservations. Hope your V-day was fabulous and fire free.


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