Watts (chipotle) wrote,
Watts
chipotle

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Cooking

I'm trying to remind myself: Hey, self, you're actually unemployed now. My personal projects are keeping me busy enough that I feel employed, but my income says otherwise. (My bank account is healthy, although that's in no small part because I haven't been paying my estimated income taxes -- which I'd guess amounts to about two-thirds of what I have.)

So part of what I've been doing is trying to beat myself into eating in more often.

I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. I enjoy it, but it stresses me out. I'm good enough to analyze what I did wrong after the fact, but not usually good enough to keep from doing things wrong in the first place. I didn't pick up any measurable interest in cooking until years after I left home. It wasn't until I started going to good restaurants occasionally that I started thinking about cooking in a more than utilitarian fashion.

This proves to be a double-edged sword. Instead of having a mental library of "mom dishes," my mental library was built primarily by chefs at Disney's California Grill and Artist Point restaurants. This creates a low-level but constant fight in the kitchen against my inclination to make, well, canonical mom dishes -- simple one-dish meals that are filling, usually tasty, and manifestly non-gourmet. (My standard college meal was macaroni and cheese with a hot dog cut up in it; I didn't realize until after the fact that a meal of last week of mine was basically a variant on this -- a higher-cut "deluxe" macaroni and cheese turned into a skillet meal with chicken, diced red bell pepper and a green onion garnish. I should note that, on the chance my mom reads this: yes, I know these weren't your canonical mom dishes.)

Today for some reason I was possessed to wing a from-scratch dish, chicken with peaches and balsamic vinegar. I can think of what should have been done to improve it -- I left the skin on the deboned breast with the intent of leaving it crispy, but simmering with the lid on the pan steamed the crispness away; maybe I should have done a smaller dice for the peaches, or better yet for presentation's sake, had thin slices; it could have used a garnish, and a snazzier side than plain rice -- but for having an only marginal idea what I was doing, it came out pretty well.

I have one more chicken breast to play around with, although I'm expecting to do a tequila-lime grilled chicken with it.
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