Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cooking venture

I always have these visions of grandeur when I set out to cook something new. Like, Hector will take one bite, look at me with wide eyes and say, "Em, this is the greatest thing you've ever made. Ever." It will come from the stove, pot, or oven and be piping hot, golden brown perfection and smelling divine. Am I the only person that this rarely happens to? I mean, the food I make usually tastes OK, but not delicious. And I like to try new dishes.. You think I like making hamburger helper, hot dogs, spaghetti and baked chicken on a regular, rotating schedule? I don't. I love cook books! I just hardly ever get them out and find something new to try. I think of my Mom here. She seems to always be trying new recipes. She uses Pampered Chef recipes mostly, I think. She used to be a consultant. So she has all the tools, and knows all the techniques asked for by these recipes. I dream of the day when I can have a nice kitchen with nice appliances (I know.. I already have a fantastic mixer..) and nice cabinets and counter tops that aren't warped and stained. Pretty much, any kitchen that isn't a part of an apartment. :) Someday.

Anyways, last night I decided to try and make something delectable for dinner, keyword here being try. I had no ideas and didn't even really know what we had.

Cue my friend Jackie's inspiring blog post from a few days ago... This is an ingenious website that has the potential to transform dinners everywhere. You make a list (on the site) of ingredients you have on hand and it instantly brings up hundreds of recipes that you have all the components for. And if you don't know what you have, you can put in one item, like ground beef and it will ask you: "Do you have tomatoes? black pepper? bread crumbs? etc." And you click on the items you have and it will add them to your list, while still giving you recipes that you are capable of making.

I put in chicken. Then from it's list of questionable items, I selected: Parmesan cheese, sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, paprika, garlic powder, butter, flour, salt, pepper, eggs, bread, and a few other things. I figured, certainly there's a usable recipe on here by now. :) It lists the recipes off to the side, complete with pictures. I picked one called.. Baked Paprika-Parmesan Chicken courtesy of

Mix 1/4 C all-purpose flour, 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese, 2 t Paprika, 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t black pepper together in a bowl. In another bowl beat one egg with 2 T milk. Using 4 chicken breast halves, dredge through the egg, then cover in flour mixture. Place in a greased baking dish. Pour over 1/4 C melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until juices run clear and cheese is browned.

This part was MESSY... take your rings off!

Well, I've never heard of baking chicken breasts for an hour and 15 minutes.. these came out after about 35 minutes. We paired it with random things we had on hand: ranch style beans and steamed broccoli. So, the chicken. It tasted alright.. just didn't have a lot of flavor. Does chicken really have to sit in a marinade for hours on end to adopt any sort of flavor?? I'm beginning to think it must. Anyways, Hector still told me it tasted good. :) He's too sweet.

Then I decided to have another go at making whipped cream.

1 Cup of cream, 1 1/2 T granulated sugar and 1 T vanilla extract

I watched it very carefully this time, never turning my back. I did not chill my bowl this time, I think I wish I had. 
Much better!!!

My dessert: chocolate molten cake with whipped cream.

Hector's dessert: vanilla flan with whipped cream.

This whipped cream was a better consistency, although, it could have probably gone a few more seconds. But I was scared of making it chunky again. 

So, it was a good go, I suppose. I just don't know why cooking doesn't come really naturally for me, considering my Mom is such a good cook. 

Better luck next time!

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