Bon Appetit!

20 Apr

This is a tale of a girl who just wants to be a domestic diva.

Over the weekend, I watched Julie and Julia. I can’t help but want to cook every time I watch that movie. Actually, first I can’t help but want to eat, but second to that comes this longing to create beautiful meals. Of course, I’d prefer for it to be effortless, just like in the movies, to wear a swingy skirt and red lipstick and flit around the kitchen, adding just a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that and VOILA, dinner for my ravenous and adoring husband. And then naturally, the chirping birds and forest critters clean up my kitchen as I sing a little song about how life is grand.


Part of a recent Nutrition project was to create a menu for the day, that fulfilled all the requirements of the Food Pyramid, and to actually cook the dinner. I told my fabulous boyfriend to come over for a free dinner, because yes, this was a school project, but I always love to cook for my man. After some careful planning, I decided on the following for a healthy, nutritious and delicious feast:

Grilled Rosemary Chicken
Grilled chicken breast marinated in lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic.

Fresh Asparagus Risotto
Creamy risotto tossed with asparagus and Parmesan cheese.

Honey Ginger Carrots
Steamed carrots glazed with honey and lemon juice with a hint of ginger.

This was quite a far cry from my usual capabilities. I tend to believe that as long as I have a recipe, nothing can go wrong. One might say this belief is a little flawed. And I might say you’re right.

First hurdle: Grilled chicken requires the use of a grill, which I have never touched before in my life. After beginning the risotto and boiling water for the carrots, and an unnecessary lashing out at Ian and my dad to “stop hovering”, my mom sent the boys to the grill to get the chicken started. (This whole thing was quite the family affair.)

10 minutes later, the chicken was done. Apparently grills are really fast. So it hung out in the oven for awhile.


Risotto is a much more involved process than I had anticipated. After sauteeing the chopped asparagus, I added 1 cup of Arborio rice to the pan, and added chicken broth and water. One. Cup. At. A. Time. And each time, the next cup was not to be added until the last one had been previously soaked up by the rice. They say a watched pot never boils. Well, watched rice does not absorb either.

Finally, the pot of water was boiling and ready for the carrots. As the little buggers boiled, I opened up the spice cabinet, assuming there would be Ginger among the 12 million spices that every household somehow has. After emptying the entire contents of the spice cabinet, there was no Ginger to be found. Cue unnecessary meltdown #2.

Boyfriend to the rescue, who suggested brown sugar instead of ginger. A+ idea! He took over the carrots, while I went back to the risotto.

Had just added cup #2 of water/chicken broth. Only 5 more to go. With approximately 10 minutes between each addition. I decided right then and there that risotto was the biggest pain in the ass, and I declared this to Ian. All this cooking was making me grumpy.

Beads of sweat, hair is curling, and risotto is taking forever. Obviously pleased.

Finally–what seemed like 3 hours later–the last cup was added, and it was ready. After I stirred in some white wine, asparagus, and Parmesan cheese, it was time.

Despite the slightly dry chicken due to it’s prolonged basking in the warm oven for about an hour, this was really a fabulous meal. If I do say so myself.

All worth it.....right?

Then, I got a call this morning from my mom who kindly pointed out that I had left the oven on all night with one lone, parched piece of chicken crying by itself.

Julia Child I am not. But I will get there one day.

-Bren

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3 Responses to “Bon Appetit!”

  1. Cathy April 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I completely agree with your assessment of risotto. Love to eat it, but hate to make it!

  2. Debbey Grow April 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    HAHAHAHAHA! OMG! This is classic. My very intelligent sister , Bronwyn, was also overheard in high school saying that if you could read, you could cook (poor Mom was encouraging us to “come into the kitchen and learn,”). Flash forward a few years, and that same young woman called Mom long distance on the phone to ask such things as, “Are you supposed to do something with the macaroni before it goes into the casserole?”, and “Is this meat spoiled since I left it to thaw out on the counter all day?” and so on. In all fairness, I asked tons of equally dumb stuff back in the day, but have conveniently blanked out all of my own stupidity! Sometime, though, you’ll have to ask me how it came to be that Bronwyn and I, together (two middle aged, successful professionals, mothers, entertainers, etc.) put jello in the oven!

  3. Han April 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    hahahahah I loled in the computer lab when I read the part about you leaving the oven on. The people next to me thought I was laughing at their convo

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