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I enjoy cooking a good deal, but the past three blog entries have been utterly…ok. Not awful but not stellar. Just…good. The ramen wasn’t a surprise–hell, the broth despite being a step up using the chicken poaching water and a tablespoon of white miso was…adequate. I had no high expectations of that dish, but still…I sometimes have higher expectations of myself. I was pleased to recall that using the seasoned poaching water was both smart and less wasteful.

The ribeye steak and the quiche were adequate, as well, but neither would get me onto Master Chef were I ever to try. Oh, well. So this evening…because I had some chicken, I thought that a shot at chicken cordon bleu should be attempted, along with the always satisfying green beans almondine. But I was still starting out flat…and I knew it. I found a single recipe for a baked version rather than fried in the skillet so the healthy aspect would be better, but the flavor would take a hit. I also used an online source that I generally trust to get the basic method down, but this place often doesn’t take these recipes much beyond the ‘basic’ so…I had to ask myself…

Why did I stop at basic? I think I’m going through a slight crisis of confidence after the past three dishes simply…did OK. I’m kinda nervous, particularly now that I’m putting myself out there, attempting to be a more creative cook, but right now…I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels a bit.

So when my wife asked me this evening, “Did you season and taste this?” I was in no mood, and simple snarled something to the effect of “Just try it.” and held my peace.

She went quiet (never a good sign) and took a bite of the green beans almondine and the chicken (she always tries the sides before the entree for some peculiar reason) then got up, went to the skillet still on the stove, and started to add more of the shallot-cream sauce to her serving of chicken.

That was a good sign.

It’s #%$&ing delicious“, she breathed, and continued to cut and chew. While she continued her seeming mouth orgasm, I explained that it was difficult to taste raw chicken wrapped around a slice of Black Forest ham and havarti cheese, and the only real tasting to be done would have been on the shallot-cream sauce but by then, what’s done would have been done.

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So…I managed to follow another recipe and create a delicious meal. Certainly a testament to my skills with cooking, rolling hammered chicken up with ham and havarti, and knowing as well when beans were mostly cooked and when almonds have been fried enough in butter. A good night. Another skill and experience to add to my repertoire, but still…seeking that creative aspect which only seems to come through under duress.

Maybe I need duress. I need someone to show up at my home with a protein, some vegetables, and a peculiar ‘extra’ ingredient like on the Chopped tv show, and trust to my skill and luck.

I’m feeling slightly better, having managed to put together a classic French dish with fairly minimal effort. I figure ultimately I’ll have tried to make so many dishes that their successes and failures will result in greater successes more often down the line.

I just need to forget the fact that I could have been cooking like this since I was 20, but that’s a path best left untrod.

PS: wifey gets the leftovers and I get nothing. Hell, it’s ok. There’s enough there for a nice little lunch, but now I think I’ll simply replicate my lunch from today…tomorrow…soppressata meat, mustard, and a crunchy roll. It’ll do.

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