The winter can be an awful time for Cristina and me. I’m a teacher, but that doesn’t mean I’m home by three o’clock. Some days, I put in more than twelve hours. The reason for this is that I’m a basketball coach.
Unless you know a high school coach, it’s hard to explain the amount of time a coach is away from home. It’s like being a lawyer or a doctor with a much smaller paycheck. (Note: I’m not complaining about my paycheck…I teach in a parish where that would just be whining). I coach because I love it. That doesn’t mean Cristina has to. Most significant others of coaches know they are widows to the season. Cristina has made her peace with it. She knows it is a big part of who I am and is ok with it. She enjoys coming to the games or staying home reading. She would let me coach forever if I wanted.
That doesn’t take the sting out of having her birthday fall on game day. Luckily, we were playing home (which is a three-minute drive from my house), and we only had a varsity game. My planning period is the last period of the day, so I used it to plan out my menu and prepare for her birthday meal.
I took some personal time and went pick up the necessary supplies. I had some crab meat in the freezer, and I decided to try to make some crab cakes as appetizer. This would be followed by sirloin steaks with honey-glazed carrots and homemade french fries. This would be followed by the apple nut bars I made last week.
I made simple crab cakes. Using Mark Bittman’s recipe as a guide, I just mixed the crab with a little mustard, mayonnaise, an egg, and some seasoning. I forgot to buy bread crumbs at the store. Looking around, we had one slice and the end piece of our loaf of bread, and both were stale. I placed them in the food processor and had instant bread crumbs. I just put enough to make the crab cakes stick together.
I then turned my attention to the desert. I had vanilla this time and used that instead of the cinnamon. I then peeled my potatoes and seasoned the carrots and the steaks.
Meanwhile, Cristina came home. I bought her some Scentsy materials and tickets to see Kevin Smith and his film Red State at the McAllister Auditorium. I also had a rose and birthday card with some very heartfelt words scribbled inside. For some reason, I’m betting that she enjoyed the last present more than any other.
I then started cooking. Cristina was not sure of what was happening in the kitchen since I denied her entry when she came home. The crab cakes came out beautifully. I dredged them in some seasoned flour and cooked them in butter. They held together and tasted great. While I was making the crab cakes, I fried the fries. I took them out, went eat my crab cakes, and then fried them again. If you are reading this, you probably have heard to fry your fries twice to make them crispy. You heard correctly. While we were eating, I put the apple nut bars to bake. The timer rang right when we finished eating. I cut her two pieces, put some whipped cream on them, and put a “2” and a “9” candle on each slice. The vanilla made for a different but just as yummy flavor. Cristina was so full she didn’t even finish the second slice.
I went coach shortly after. After returning home, Cristina, being a great team player, quickly asked if we won. We did.