Thursday, May 24, 2012

"man, you really like butter"

When it comes to cooking, my biggest problem used to be that I simply refused to cook. When I gave up eating out for Lent, unexpected post-work plans were often my biggest challenge. Now that I cook on a more regular basis, portion control is the issue du jour.

I'm not a total idiot, I realize that most recipes are designed to serve two to four people. And somewhere in the back of my rapidly atrophying brain, there's a part of me that can do basic divison. But, I'm my mother's daughter, and as such, inherited her irrational but omnipresent fear that there won't be enough food to go around the table. Even if, in my case, the table is only set for one. 

So most nights, but especially on nights when I feed more bodies than just myself, I have an abundance of leftovers. Luckily, this makes lunch the next day a no-brainer, and, it means that my coworkers are kind of bribed in to liking me because I feed them. 

For this week's Monday dinner with Sophie, I tried two new recipes. One was for mac and cheese made with quinoa in place of "mac." I was skeptical, especially because the recipe calls for an egg (I know!). But, with a little buttery, bread crummy crust on top and gooey cheese underneath, you basically forget you're eating an egg mixed in with a superfood. It's super filling, and even with soy milk and skim cheese, it's tasty. The recipe, by the way, is not at all lying, not even close, when it says it makes 8 servings. Two of us ate it for dinner, and three of us ate it for lunch the next day. I still have more leftover than I can use.

Anyways, the other recipe I tried was for "moist chicken every time." I know, I know. The name is, well, cliche, and, far from humble. But, I was mostly curious to see if I could abide by the recipe's demand that you cook the chicken for one minute on medium, flip it over, turn the heat to low, and leave a lid on for twenty whole non-stop don't you dare lift that lid minutes. Ten of those minutes, the heat is on low, and the other ten, it's off. Look, I don't know what kind of magic happens in those twenty minutes, but it's some perfectly cooked chicken you're going to pull out of that skillet. And, because you dredge it in some flour and spices beforehand, it's not flavorless like many, many a skillet cooked piece of chicken ends up being. Awfully titled recipe aside, consider me a convert.

While I like to think of this as a healthy dinner, the truth is, there was a decent quantity of butter involved. When we were all eating the leftovers Tuesday, my one coworker asked me how the chicken was so good. I described the aforementioned cooking process, mentioning that it starts with a healthy pat of butter in the skillet, and before I could keep going, he looks at me in a mix of admiration and disgust, and goes "man, you really like butter." 

I'll have you know he ate every last piece of chicken.    

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