Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cooking with Leah: Episode 1

I don't think if I've ever written an entire post about my experiences in the kitchen. The reason is they're not pretty. I even won a "worst cooks" photo contest on the Food Network website once. (the photo looked great, the rolls were deadly!) Remember my post a few days ago about the clay babies and the Michael's incident? Well my cooking attempts often turn out a lot like clay babies. It's just that some people do not belong in the kitchen. Period. My mom used to tell me, "Well if you cooked more, you'd get better at it." Well, that might be true, but who would do more of something they hate? And I don't know which came first, the inability or the hatred and it will probably take years of therapy to figure it out.

I don't remember when I stumbled across The Pioneer Woman's website, but it was those orange rolls which caused me to win that contest. I'm sure when The Pioneer Woman, or you, make those rolls, they are scrumptious! (so please PW, if you find your way here, don't hate, ok?) Just like I thought the Michael's store would make me more creative, I thought TPW would make my cooking suck less.

Since the orange roll incident, I have not been back to TPW because I felt betrayed somehow. She did not help me the way I thought she would. (And I agree,  it's possible nobody can.) A couple days ago, while skimming through my favorites list, my curser stopped on her link. I clicked on it. There were those damn orange rolls again. The picture makes me drool while my brain screams "Don't even THINK of trying that again!" Scrolling down the page, on the sidebar, was a thing for "16 minute meals". Oh that is SO up my alley because 1) that's about how long my attention span is in the kitchen and 2) I usually start thinking about what to make for dinner around 5:45 p.m. Do you see how I get sucked into these traps? The Pioneer Woman has been talking with the Michael's advertising people. I'm sure of it.

So first I made Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce. I read the recipe. I wrote it down. I went to the store and bought the required stuff, along with a little jar of "organic pesto". I didn't realize **I** was going to be making the pesto. (I swear, I do read at a college level.) I had no idea the basil, and pine nuts and a little olive oil could do that.  I came home and made...PESTO! I even ...gasp...let Axel help me. He LOVES to cook. Silly boy. Anyway, guess what? It wasn't bad! In fact, since I LOVE pesto stuff, it was quite tasty. Dean is not a huge pesto fan, so I've discovered, so I'm not sure what he thought of it, but the kids and I did like it.

Since I am a glutton for punishment, AND I'm determined to at least attempt to cook meals for my family...sometimes...I went back to TPW's website again, and scrolled down to that 16 minute section. Beef with Snow Peas.

This had interesting and exotic stuff in the list of ingredients, like ginger.  It looks like a giant turd. Anyway, I found a small piece at the grocery store that cost me all of $.06.  And is there a big difference between "flank steak" and "sirloin tip"? I thought about calling Dean and asking him (For hubby Dean, the meat salesman, and his meat-seller-cutter family, I am a painful and daily reminder of his failed screening methods when he was dating.) but I really didn't want to hear him sighing into my ear on the phone. I know that sigh well since I hear it often.

At 5:30 I started making dinner. Perfect, since it's a 16 minute meal, right? Only I am not TPW. I keep forgetting that part.

So cut up the meat "against the grain". Seriously? Is this cooking or shop class cuz who knew meat had a grain? I tried me best to make the sirloin tip that was on my cutting board look like what was in TPW's picture. I think it was pretty close.

Soy sauce in a bowl. Got that. Wish the whole process were that easy.

Cooking Sherry. Ok, I could not find that in the store, and I was not ABOUT to ask someone where it was because I didn't not want to appear like I hadn't a clue what it was. Besides, we had wine at home. I was sure that would work just fine. Just to be safe, before adding the wine I posted a question on Facebook, which is almost as good as google only way more fun (and distracting.) My friend Tink quickly posted that wine might be too sweet or something, but that Brandy would be good. Oh Brandy! We have lots of that! It's possible I put in more Brandy than was called for, but that is impossible to know since the recipe didn't call for it. And I only drank a little.

Mince the ginger. Ok...umm...this is where it occurred to me I was in over my head. What the heck do you do with ginger? Like, it has a peel kind of like a potato. Do you leave it on or take it off? My trusty facebook friends said take it off, and Tamara even posted a link to a video all about ginger. See? BETTER than google!

By this point I was at the 30 minute mark. Stupid Facebook.

Scallions. When I saw the green onions in the grocery store I was pretty sure they're the same thing. My FB people said, "close enough".

The snow peas were super easy, but only 45 seconds in the pan? Really? That hardly seemed long enough, so I did them a little longer. Like maybe 5 minutes because I got distracted by Hannah Hart in her Drunk Kitchen.  She and I should talk.

So then it was time to cook the meat. Holy cow did that stuff cook fast! Ok, maybe the 45 seconds for the snow peas WAS enough? Hmmmm Interestingly, the meat was incredibly tender! I have *never* produced tender cooked meat before. Ever. I almost felt a little bit proud of me.

It was at this point that I realized I'd forgotten to start the rice. You see, this is where I always screw up. If the recipe does not say, "Start the rice NOW!" I won't do it until the very end because I am so busy worrying about not sucking at the rest of the process. So to TPW, please add that step to your directions, k?

One of my trusty Facebook friends told me an "easy" way to cook rice. HA!!! She does not have one of THESE! So while the rice cooked I had to leave the meat and snow peas on the stove to stay warm. Those poor snow peas!

And then, after a total of 61 minutes, dinner was served!! HOORAY! Everyone but Axel seemed to like it. Too much meat for him. And nobody fell over dead two hours later, which is always a good thing. I might even make it again.


Stephanie @ Ralphcrew said...

Oh my! Episode 1? Can't wait for the next installment!

I agree that FB is more fun than Google, but I was seriously giggling at the super-google-research-junkie asking about ginger!

Cindy said...

I think P-dub is highly over-rated. One of her mottoes is "keeping it real", but who really lives like that? (Her other motto includes "calf nuts", but I digress.) And how many dozen photos of ingredients and stuff does one recipe need?

If you like your rice cooker, you might enjoy this blog post by Roger Ebert. If you like the post, you might want to check out his rice cooker book.

I love Allrecipes. My favorite thing is the reviews for each recipe. Everyone puts in their opinion, how they tweaked it, whether the kids liked it, etc. And they have tons of recipes.

blcmec1 said...

Hooray! I was watching all this on fb and it was very funny. I was hoping the meal would turn out good. I could not offer any help as I am not too good in the kitchen either. So does Dean do most of the cooking? and grocery shopping? There are advantages to not being able to cook well - lol! - Maureen C

Lisa Riley said...

TPW has a new recipe you need to try....Pasta with Whiskey, Wine and Mushrooms. The story that goes with it is pretty good too. :)