COOKING ADVENTURES #90: Chicken Parmesan and Apple Coleslaw
So, when I decided to make coleslaw alone for a Cooking Adventure, I may have been underestimating just how much of a meal it could make by itself. I mean, this coleslaw was BITCHIN’, don’t get me wrong. But once you’ve munched on it for four days straight like some kind of bovine cabbage lover, you really do start to miss eating other food. Yes. The above picture shows the coleslaw paired with a burrito. Don’t try to understand it. Just know that I needed to eat SOMETHING besides coleslaw that night. I decided that in order for this to be a really interesting adventure, I’d pair it up with my very first attempt at making Chicken Parmesan. When I really get down to the details, the coleslaw was really more of a “frolic” than an adventure. I mean, it’s cutting stuff up (unless you’re lazy like me…) and tossing it together with other stuff in a bowl. Not all that difficult. Anything involving chicken, however…instant stories to tell, old friends. Instant stories to tell.
This recipe. Oh my freaking word. It has taken me a week longer than usual to just have the right time to sit down and knock this recipe out. Between working crazily on Book 3, working on yet another writing project, work, presentations, birthday parties, and other what not, I wasn’t able to finally complete this one until last night. And, my dear folks, as I’m sure you’re more than likely aware, it didn’t quite come out like it should have due to three cardinal reasons: A.) Laziness, B.) Missing ingredients, and the all popular C.) Time constraints. I really tried my hardest to have everything assembled and to do it correctly. But let’s face it; when you’ve just gotten home after a long day at work, the last thing most of you want to do is slave over a kitchen stove, trying to assemble something that’s going to take another two hours before its done. I didn’t eat last night until close to 10. I basically looked like this. On the upside, I have a bunch of leftovers for the rest of the week. Pluses and minuses, folks. Pluses and minuses.
The title of this Cooking Adventure might give you some idea as to my thoughts when diving into it. This is probably one of the strangest recipes that I’ve ever made with some of the most random ingredients. But, the person who gave me the recipe is a fantastic cook and it comes out of an old cookbook called “The Silver Palate” which is apparently quite renowned. And after making a wonderful Shepard’s Pie and eating the whole thing before I could get a picture of it, I figured this would be a worthy fill-in for my Cooking Adventure post…even a more adventurous candidate. This wasn’t easy. I had to face cooking and eating several foods that I wouldn’t eat at all normally and prepare the entire thing with a level of patience that I didn’t know I possessed. But…and I don’t say this often…it was all worth it in the end.
COOKING ADVENTURE #87: Asian Lemon Chicken Tenders
Anyone who is anyone can appreciate fried food in some shape or form. Usually, I prefer to think of fried goodies as “the lazy treat”, something that I can order out somewhere and enjoy without any cares in the world except for how said fried goodies will affect my skin. I was expecting the act of frying chicken tenders in my own kitchen to be somewhat of the same joyous feeling, a blissful extravaganza of fun eating and feeling as it I had not a care in the world. If only that were meant to be. Let’s be honest: frying food takes a lot more work than people make it sound. Unless you happen to own a deep fryer and have incredible disposable methods for all of that dirty oil, frying food at home is kind of a hassle. And for me, it took longer than it probably should have. Figures.
What I learned this week is that no matter how cathartic cooking may be for some, for me, it isn’t a good idea to attempt if I’m in a bad mood. There are sharp objects, often hot pots and pans, and little space available to spread everything out. After having a particularly bad day, I decided “What the hell? What more could possibly go wrong?” It’s best not to ask those questions. I had found a pretty spectacular recipe that was just calling my name. I’ve been craving Mexican food for a couple weeks and this seemed like just the thing to take care of that hankering. Well, it would have been if I’d paid a little more attention to what I was doing. But we all know what it’s like, to be so angry that you’re trapped in your head and can’t step away from it. I tried a number of times. My declaration of “I AM NOT GOING TO LET THIS EMPANADA BEAT ME!” is what finally made me put my rear in gear and pound these things out. And now, the terrible tale…
First of all, “LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE CREATED! I…HAVE MADE FIRE!” Okay. Now that that’s settled. Making that fire sucked in every which way possible. It wasn’t easy, not in the least bit. It probably would have helped if I’d had the exact kitchenware to pull it off but I improvised with what I had. I should get some points for that. Honestly, I had a feeling that something as complicated as this cake idea would probably be a lot more trouble than I was imagining. But, it’s all for a good cause.
This week, I decided to kick it up a notch. I made a batch of cookies last week. I figured I could step it up and do not just one but TWO cooking adventures this week! Albeit one was more of a “cooking frolic” than the other (and NO, it’s not the one you think!) Never the less, I’ve discovered two incredible recipes that I intend to remember for the future. Plus, there was enough of each that I could eat/drink them for multiple meals. Score! Although, I will point out that this wonderful food (or any food for that matter) isn’t quite as enjoyable when you have a giant, stinging canker sore on the inside of your bottom lip…which I’m pretty sure was caused by the smoothie. Ulcers abound in my life, I swear…
COOKING ADVENTURE # 82: White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Let’s admit it. In winter, especially one as bitterly cold as the one we’ve experienced in Maine, we instinctually gravitate toward foods that make us feel comfortable, warm, and wonderful. This tends to be things like tea, hot chocolate, cake, lasagna, and, of course, cookies. I found myself with a particular hankering for something different than the average chocolate chip or peanut butter styles. I had a bag of white chocolate chips just sitting on my shelf and an almost forgotten bottle of peppermint extract sitting high upon my spice shelf. I knew such combinations were bound to produce beautiful results. That is…until I looked at my brown sugar and discovered it wasn’t about to make anything easy for me.
COOKING ADVENTURE #81: Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
You’re probably not going to believe me when I say this but…it actually looks better than it tastes. To most of you, this just crushed some kind of pasta food-baby you were hoping to nurture in the future and I apologize for that. I should also add that I didn’t exactly follow the directions to the letter. I have a feeling though (and this is just my opinion) that this recipe would have turned out badly even if I had followed them. It’s one of those recipes that you desperately don’t want to mess up because it looks so scrumptious…and also because you’re making so damn much of it. End result: I have a ton of this stuff and I can barely force it past my lips half the time. Still probably have enough for two meals in my fridge. Urgh…