Yes. ‘Tis I once again, returning for a rogue Cooking Adventure. I’ve honestly been up to my eyeballs trying to get everything ready for Memento Mori: Book 3 of the Monstrum Chronicles and haven’t had any time to even cook new things! I’ve literally been subsisting off of the boring same ole, same ole for weeks. But last week, it was a special week, one of my absolutely favorite weeks in the year. It was SHARK WEEK, a time where the Discovery Channel dedicates the week to raising awareness about sharks and trying to portray them as the beautiful and magnificent creatures that they are, and not as nightmarish beasts. In my bid for a slightly more successful Shark Week party this year, I decided to up the ante by making some stellar Sharknado cupcakes in addition to a carved shark watermelon and cool blue cocktails. This proved to be just a little more in depth than I expected.
COOKING ADVENTURE #93: Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
This has quite possibly got to be the miracle of all Cooking Adventures I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much go wrong with a recipe and yet…turn out to be edible in the end. Literally everything I touched during this managed to go terribly. And what’s more…I was dictating most of what happened to a friend whilst doing it. It was my first “Cooking Adventure Live” attempt…and it proves that any outside distraction can have disastrous consequences. Well, maybe not “disastrous”. After all, they were edible in the end, ha ha. And they lasted me practically a week! I shall now dictate to you absolutely everything that happened during the Great Enchilada Meltdown. Be Prepared.
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.
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…
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…
And yes, it has been a considerable amount of time since the last cooking adventure. I wanted to make the seventy fifth Cooking Adventure very special though, which is why I waited for such a long time. This is Shark Week, one of my favorite times of the year. Why, you might ask. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a fascination with sharks. I think they are some of the most interesting and beautiful animals in our ocean. They are powerful, they should be revered especially when we are entering their territory. I was the odd kid in class in third grade reading the books about sharks, crocodiles, and wolves. So now that there is an entire week dedicated to educating people about sharks and trying to turn the mindset that has been associated with them ever since Jaws came out, I have been ecstatic. I’ve been planning a Shark Week cooking adventure ever since summer began. In fact, I’m so excited that I’ll be doing two. Yes, you’re eyes haven’t deceived you. I said two. There will be another one at the end of the week. So, get ready for some terrifying tales as I brave entering the kitchen again to bring you some sweet shark themed goodies…
Yes. You read that title correctly. Not only was I tardy in doing my cooking adventures this week, they ended up not being very appetizing at all. I also ate them in such a hurry that I didn’t get any photographs taken. Trust me, they wouldn’t have done these sorry dishes any justice. I can only say that for my seventy-fifth Cooking Adventure, I don’t want you to be disappointed with something as gross as either of these two things; chicken fingers and meatball subs (although I’m sure you’re wondering why the chicken tasted like dog food and why the meatballs were stale). I honestly have no idea about the chicken, and the meatballs had been in my freezer for over a year. Yes, I still ate them. Am I sick? No. Somehow, I’m not.
Be that as it may, I will be doing my 75th Cooking Adventure this weekend and it will be an event you won’t want to miss. (Much like the Quarter Quell from Catching Fire!) Even though the eponymous Shark Week is a couple weeks away, I’ll be throwing a Kick-Off night this Saturday. I’ll be creating some shark cupcakes and chum jello shots, while a couple friends and I watch Jaws: the Rifftrax edition. Curious? Check these guys out. You won’t be disappointed.
Now, now. I know you guys have been waiting for almost two weeks. It’s coming. Just know that in that time, I’ve been making some incredible leaps and bounds while working on my apocalyptic ghost novel, “Cold Walls.” Almost to 9,000 words and still going strong.