Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Enough, Already

So our water heater decided not to die, but to continue producing hot water per normal while quietly leaking for an unknown length of time so that we wouldn't notice anything until the heat stopped working, by which time all the water had done some unknown amount of damage to the subfloor and the downstairs heat crapped out entirely. I only discovered it because the plumber didn't fix the heat, so I went down into the crawlspace to explore and saw all the water dripping through the floor. So this meal was made with me being able to see my breath the whole time, boiling a big pot of water to try and heat the kitchen up a little.

I also ran the oven, but at least there was food in there. Sweet potatoes and Japanese yams, cut into "fries" and baking in a little olive oil. OK, more than a little. These were to accompany burgers, as was some wilted kale with garlic and lemon, and a whole bunch of extant embellishments like kimchi, red onion-habañero pickle, aioli, and Dijon-garlic scape pesto. Sound good? They were freaking fantastic. I stubbed my stomach on these big time. The satisfaction was only heightened by the fact that we wore hats to eat. Milo, bless him, gave me half his burger and just ate the kimchi right out of the bowl.

As an additional salve- though strictly for educational purposes, mind you- I opened a 2000 Gros Noré Bandol to see how it matched up against its older sibling. It was pretty cold, so conditions weren't perfect; I like red wine a little cool, but this was fully chilled. And this is a burly bear of a wine, so differences were on the subtler side. The main takeaway is that I am very glad to have bought both of these cases when I did, since they are drinking beautifully, and am equally sad that I haven't bought any more.

Today, we got a new hot water heater, and I got to help pull the old one out, mop the mess, rip up some of the soaking plywood, and cut new plywood for the thing to sit on. In a 25˚ woodshop. With a still-unheated downstairs, and no hot water to warm my hands in. And some time-sensitive writing to do. Then, after he left, it quickly became clear that we still had no heat downstairs, so I groped pipes and followed them around to figure out where and why the hotness was notness. And I called the plumber (did I mention that he's named Joe?) again, and eventually he came back and confirmed my diagnosis. For another $225, he replaced the circulator, bringing our total to just shy of a delightful two grand, right in time for not buying anybody any presents. Ever. I'm going to go with ever.

You know what makes shitty days which follow other shitty days better? OK, yes, heat, that's a good place to start. Go clean the erasers or something. Kiss-ass. No, the answer I was looking for was DUCK FAT. We hurt ourselves so good on them burgers, I knew something similarly fatly saturated was in order. So on my way back from the post office (yep, I had errands to run, too, and I haven't even mentioned cancelling my trip to the city) I bought a duck breast and some oyster mushrooms.

How's that grab you? Nice? Want some more?

THAT'S what I'm talking about. This calorific gorgeousness got all Barry White on the leftover parsnip-celeriac-vanilla purée and a sauce of beef demi-glace, shichimi, apple cider, and clementine juice. I forgot to cook the damned mushrooms, so that's why the plate is a little empty.

It tasted pretty good nonetheless. We finished off the last of the 2000 Bandol, which was still going strong. And then, celebrating the simple yet profound luxury that is a warm house, we went to bed.

And that's when Milo started throwing up.


MitMoi said...

Wow! And I'm having a bad day, "just because" and want to kick puppies, kittens, and bunnies ... but THANKFULLY I haven't had to pay for heat repair.

*yet. Now that I've mentioned it, I will expect heater problems to crop up immediately.

*ps: That duck fat looks YUMMMMMMMMY

cook eat FRET said...

so ummm. all this to say - no present for me?

had to smile at the hotness/notness

i have 2 duck breasts in my freezer.

cookiecrumb said...

Owning a house is HARD.
Having a kid is hard too. Hugs and a wipe of the chin to Milo.

Can't locate your email addy either; I'm at cookiecrumb1 AT sbcglobal.net

peter said...

Mit: I hope you didn't jinx your plumbing. Guess what? Being a plumber is recession-proof! Spread the word!

Claudia: There's no gift like the present.

CC: OK, I'll send it soon.

bb said...

Ah, kids...always adding the exclamation point....!
Speaking of kids, those young'uns in the bottle must have been pretty tasty. I love Bandol...one of God's greatest gifts to the grape addled mind....and liver.

Heather said...

Yay! What an awesome day.

Do you have radiant heat or something? That's the only reason I can figger you'd have no heat without hot water. You don't have a little space heater or someshit? Like you need me berating you.

I bet burger and kimchee puke is colorful.

peter said...

BB: Yeah, and it's always so much more interesting to taste multiple bottles.

Blanche: They were unrelated; it's only because the circulator died that I even found out about the water heater leak.

The Spiteful Chef said...

Actually, I like the sparse plate. It makes you look all trendy and emotional. Like you probably wear dark-rimmed glasses and throw around words like "minimalism" and "neo-renaissance."

Hope your luck turns. Usually the bad times happen so we can appreciate the good ones more.

My captcha was "amsimho," and to be honest, I don't even OWN The Sims.

Brooklynguy said...

Mmmmmmm....Bandol. And I'm guessing that both of those bottles are pre-15% alcohol times in Provence. Do you remember the alcohol levels?

By the way, my verification word is "ligimito."

genevelyn said...

How was that Bandol with the spicy kimchee? Did the heat from the food make the wine taste of alcohol?

peter said...

Kristie: I'm better already.

Neil: The 98 is 13.5% and the 00 is 14%. They carry it well.

Genevelyn: I make our kimchi on the less-spicy side (1 cayenne pepper per batch) so Milo can eat it, so on a burger it was more pickle than spice. Though I'm kinda craving a hot batch next; it's hard because he loves it so much, and I love the spice.

We Are Never Full said...

sounds like a great day! duck then throwup? perfect!

and thanks for bringing me closer...closer...closer to that fucking juicy, crispy duck skin. bastard.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Bandol is wonderful with duck. Nice choice. And like the Spiteful Chef, I too prefer sparse plates...but then I am emotional and wear dark-rimmed glasses...