After a nice long weekend of freedom from the predestined disaster of me in the kitchen, I was back at it Monday. All the shopping was done over the weekend, I actually had all of the ingredients and DIDN’T end up with 4 dozen eggs in my refrigerator. I’m trying to move away from the (albeit easier) pasta type dishes, because after having my fitness freak of a bearded chef filling my belly, I’m just not used to the heavier stuff.
I decided that stir fry chicken and vegetables would be on the easier end of recipes and easier on my belly. This of course meant that I would face my nemesis. Raw (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit) meat. There is something that I deeply appreciate about a well cooked meal which arrives looking in no way like the creature from whence it came. And while I’m not headed out to the backyard to ring chicken necks, I’m going to venture to say that raw breasts are a little too close to the beast itself. I cracked open a Shiner before I even attempted to pull the meat out of the fridge.
After a few sips, I opened up the pan cabinet to find the skillet I wanted. After digging through the pots and pans and lids and various and sundry loud kitchen implements (please send help, Container Store!), I stood up it was right in front of my face. On the stove. Dirty. I’d like to pause here to say, I didn’t leave it there. And I’m not naming any names, I’m just saying that there are only two adults of cooking age in this house. Moving on. I picked up the skillet (I keep saying that because I just like that word– skillet!– but honestly maybe it’s just a pan or a… something else kitcheny. There are pictures, you be the judge) and turned to the sink to wash it. Unfortunately, the dishes have been going through a small industrial revolution and when their urban area ran low on space, they started building upwards. We have skyscrapers, they have faucet-scrapers. It became abundantly clear that I needed some musical back up and to pay a little more attention to my bottle of Shiner. I sent the girls upstairs to play and put on Beyonce’s Lemonade. After unloading and re-loading the dishwasher, I was finally able to wash the skillet and begin cooking. At this point it was 6pm and the natives were coming in to inquire about food with such regularity that the evening’s musical pairing had to be switched over to Johnny Cash.
I pulled out my vinyl gloves wondering briefly how much a positive pressure hazmat suit might cost and then reluctantly turned to the fridge to get the chicken. I can’t even get into it, but the chicken made it to the pan which had a healthy coating of coconut oil and eventually turned a color that didn’t turn my stomach. Once the breasts looked mostly cooked, I checked the recipe– time to add the vegetables. I went to the fridge to get the carrots and green beans and realized: oh yeah. Carrots have to be washed and peeled before they’re chopped, and green beans need to be washed and snapped. Clearly, I’m just valedictorian of pre-planning in my little cooking school.
I was at least wise enough to move the pan (skillet? metal cook container?) off the heat while I worked on the veggies. I quickly took care of the carrots and then washed the green beans. With the first snap, I was in my grandparents backyard, sitting at the table snapping beans with my Mammaw while my Pappaw picked more fresh veggies from their large garden. In the midst of this reverie as my fingers made quick work of the beans thanks to long muscle memory, I smelled… burning?? I took the dang pan off the heat! I lept across to the stove and found that the chopped garlic had burnt to the bottom of the pan like gooey charcoal.
I pulled the breasts out and scrubbed the char off the bottom of the pan. In went the veggies (and I’ll have you know that I DIDN’T catch the broccoli on fire in the microwave thank you very much) with some newly chopped garlic.
Next up was slicing the chicken. I reached down as if it was a loaf of french bread (something I have FAR more experience with) and immediately burned my fingers. Apparently grabbing a piece of meat with your hands that has just come off the stove isn’t in the Cordon Bleu textbooks. The more you know…
Eventually, everything found its way back into the skillet, and I got dinner on the table (and just a shade past 2 hours from when I started!) It was actually really good. We topped it with coconut aminos (a soy sauce substitute) and a little teriyaki sauce. The girls ate it up, though my little on a little reluctantly. Eric loved it. And I had seconds. Definitely keeping this one in my apron pocket. And maybe I can cut prep time in half on the next round! Maybe.