When my mom and dad were dating, when I was around two, I would apparently tell her “That’s MY Daryl.” And he was. And is. Except of course, he soon became my dad and has been ever since. And he takes really good care of me. And my siblings. And my mom. And their friends. He’s the guy everybody calls for help. Including, or maybe especially, me.
My dad does A LOT of stuff for me. This spring he re-did my irrigation to work with the changes the local irrigation district implemented last summer. (Something to do with a pressurized system and I don’t need a pump anymore and he put in a timer and other stuff that I don’t have the first clue about how or why it works.) Now my sprinklers once again water the front yard – which has grass because he helped me lay sod a few years ago, after he tilled the yard and raked it smooth. He keeps my (his) lawn mower running and comes by to start it when I don’t have the upper body torque. He fixed my leaking toilet a couple of months ago and then fixed a new, different leak last week. Twice when external water damage has ruined my flooring, he installed the new floor himself to save me money when the insurance settlement didn’t cover it. I didn’t pay for oil changes for my first 30 years as a driver – and now that I do, it’s my own fault for buying a car that he says is too low to the ground for him to scoot under. Over the years he’s installed gates and appliances and drapery rods and changed out flat tires and car batteries and alternators (and towed the cars when they died in the first place and gone car shopping with me when the car was toast) and hauled yard debris to the dump and called roofers to get me bids on repairs and built my bookshelves and loaned me tools that I swear I brought back and then laughed when they turned up at my house a year later. And and and … that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a million things I’m forgetting. He does a lot, is what I’m saying.
Food-wise, we share a few of the same tastes, including a nicely prepared steak. Sometimes when he’s grilling, I get invited to dinner because my mom doesn’t care for steak that much and they know I’ll enjoy it with him. Win win! We also both like fried green tomatoes and sauerkraut (fun fact, if you just say the word sauerkraut to him, he’s starts salivating) and other things but we do have quite a few tastes that are very dissimilar. (He doesn’t think chicken belongs on pizza, which is just crazy talk.)
But probably the biggest difference is any kind of pepper, especially jalapenos. He really likes them – his specialty appetizer that he makes for Super Bowls and other get-togethers is jalapenos stuffed with tuna and cheddar cheese. Most people seem to like them. My niece inhales them. I won’t touch them. I don’t like jalapenos AT ALL. I don’t think it’s the heat, since I love Chinese hot mustard and strong horseradish. I just don’t like PEPPERS, even green peppers, and they aren’t hot at all. (And funnily, even though they apparently aren’t really related, I despise black pepper even more. And he always puts it on hamburgers when he’s grilling. Oh, well.) An ongoing joke since I started this blog was that nobody should expect me to be making any jalapeno mac. But this week I did. For my dad.
Adapted from Modern Honey
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 tbsp. diced jalapenos, plus “coins” for garnish (see notes)
- 3 green onions, both white and green parts, diced
- 3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large pot and add the jalapenos and onions. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften.
- Add the flour and cook for 4-5 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Stir in the milk and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the grated cheese and stir until fully melted.
- Add the pasta and stir to coat.
- Top with jalapeno slices and serve.
It was very pretty and I didn’t eat a bite of it, so I will turn this over to my parents, to whom I delivered the full bowl along with some croissants.
Dad: “Excellent! Just the right amount of heat. The jalapenos on top were good but I don’t recommend them for the faint of heart!”
Mom: “Really good!! Yum!! I put blackberry jelly on my croissant thinking the jalapenos might be too spicy but they weren’t.”
So based on that, I’ll give it a 4.5 noodle ranking even though if it was ME rating it, it would be a negative 7.
- The recipe I was using called for 3 tablespoons of diced jalapeno. After I sliced one for the garnish, I diced the rest and it was 6 tablespoons. I then put them all in the prep bowl, planning to measure out half, and give the rest to my dad to add to taste. Except that by the time it came to add them to the butter (all of 10-15 minutes later, I’d estimate) I forgot and dumped them all in. So proceed with caution.
- I doubt it will be an issue again, as this was likely a one-time only, but just in case, I could use a good remedy for getting jalapeno off hands and fingernails. As soon as I was done cooking, I washed my hands SEVERAL times, and then hours later touched my eye. Yikes. I washed a few more times and SCRUBBED my nails, and then at some point scratched my nose. YIKES! I then scrubbed them with olive oil (thanks for nothing, Google) and it didn’t help. It took almost 24 hours and a half hour session of dishwashing to tone it down, but there’s still a lingering hint.
Posted August 23, 2020