Friday, January 30, 2009

food cookin', cookin' them foods again.....

(NOTE TO READER: it looks like a lot of words, I know, but don't worry, pictures are buried "deep" within the contents so it will aaaaall be worth it)

For those of you who know me at all, you know that I'm not one to......cook. Or at least not until more recently anyway. I was spurred to change that in myself recently by a trip to see my family in Kansas this past Thanksgiving. I teamed up with my mom and Kevin to make potatoes au gratin, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. Now while the pumpkin pie making process is not much more than pouring and mixing, it was still the first one I ever made, and I was proud of myself. *beam* And the potatoes - shwew! Now that was a' cookin'. So I stored that little recipe nugget in my brain to take home and make for Kevin's family Thanksgiving and it was a hit! Seconds abounded! (in that people got seconds-sometimes I don't make sense)

So I got a bit of the cooking bug, but I've begun to realize how ill-equipped our kitchen was Not the kitchen itself, it's been equipped just fine, but rather the utensils were lacking. Like, oh I don't know...a CUTTING BOARD. And a NON-SERRATED KNIFE for, let's say....CUTTING POTATOES! All of these epiphanies came to me while I was getting preparing the potatoes au gratin for Kevin's side of the family. It was then that I realized that a serrated steak knife was simply not going to work. I wasn't making potato chips au gratin after all.

Luckily (and unluckily) we have a Tom Thumb within walking distance from our apartment. (don't worry I drove) I say luckily obviously because of the proximity, and I say unluckily because Tom Thumb is ridiculously expensive and I prefer the flagship Kroger any day, and it's still pretty close, but not close enough when your potatoes are turning brown with every passing second you're out buying all the things reasonable, cooking people already have in their homes!!!

So I stock up some and things are fine. Plus I learned about the whole "put the potatoes in water" trick. Also I learned that I should check my utensils before I begin preparing ANY meal.

All that to say, on Tuesday, our office got out a wee bit early because of the impending inclement weather, and Kevin's been on a mini-vacation of sorts so I suggest that we cook at home, where we can be cozy while the wintery arctic blast mix descends upon us. He naturally agreed. So I look in my recipe box because I'm feeling in a chicken mood. They have one titled "Easy Garlic Broiled Chicken", and I like the word "easy" and so does Kevin. We also had some wild rice in the pantry so we collectively decide this is going to be our cozy night dinner of choice.

Problem 1: I don't know how to broil anything.

Now I know that I seem like a cute little fool to some of you (Annie) cooking connoisseurs, but I'm just learning. And I did go into this at LEAST knowing that when you broil something it cooks from the top burner of the oven, so I wasn't completely clueless - just to the nuances. So to fix this problem, we do two things - a) google the phrase "What is broil?" which leads us to this answer, which is helpful....then b) call my mom, who was more helpful and has broiled successfully many a time.

I should also mention that for Christmas, since we had been talking about cooking more, etc., Mom got us this amazing knife set, a cute little timer (seen later in pics) fancy tiny measuring spoons from William Sonoma (again I say FANCY!), a nice bread cutting/presentation board, cook books and most cutestly (work with me), matching personalized aprons for me and my boo. See adorable picture below:

So with Mom's insight and our determination, we set out to the store to get a baster (one of the aforementioned utensils we lack and don't know we lack it until something calls for basting), chicken thighs and soy sauce (low sodium, what what!) in one of those cute little restaurant containers and we're back in the kitchen cooking.

Oven hot! Broil on hot oven, broil on!

Controversial Kevin, always stirring the pot:

And after a quick 20 minutes of ovening, basting, turning, ovening, we get this:

And with the side dish:

And finally.......PRESENTATION!

The food was AMAZING and Kevin and I both think it might be the best chicken we've ever had!! Let's just say we'll be buying more thighs reeeeeeals soon!

Thanks Mom!

p.s. thigh is a strange word.


racheljenae said...

hahahah! first of all I've been on the same adventure since this last thanksgiving too! My parents came here to eat with me and I tried to prepare my mom by telling her I was ill-equiped, but she did not understand until she arrived and I was without...ALOT! So what did I get for Christmas...every pan and pot I could ever need (unless cooking for an army), mixing bowls, and lots of utensils I was lacking! Oh and a little cute machine chopper to make salsa! I made out like a bandit since Linens and Things went out of business!
We should start a cooking once a month small group...Marian could teach us :) I am quite horrible at reading directions or common sense cooking...its pit-i-ful!

LIZZY said...

freakin awesome! i remember trying to actually find a recipe for baked potatos... i had no CLUE!!! its so sweet that keevs helps out in the meal making process... what a guy!

becki said...

Jenae I am SO in on a cooking club! And once Marian's house is built, she'll have that HUGE kitchen....maybe we could get her to build more ovens so we can all have our own.

Liz - I'm so glad Kevin likes to help out, too! Plus, he's the kitchen. :) Is that weird to say?

daniel said...

can i come to cooking club?? i love to cook stuff.

hampton said...

the matching apron pic is so american gothic. adorable. and also, is the best. i visit on a near-daily basis.

JessicAllen said...

LOVE the aprons (Great Job Mom!) and the chicken looks great!

I need the 'potatoes au gratin' recipe!

And Liz, I too had to look up a recipe for baked potatoes just the other day!

mbriscoe said...

I feel honored to have been mentioned as a cooking pro ;-)
I mean, I did take gourmet cooking in college... ha! Yes, maybe when my new kitchen is done, we can all get together and make something snazzy! 2 more months!!

Lolly said...

Hahahahaha! I love this one. Y'all are too cute. By y'all I mean both of you not just you!

Y'all should invite Dragan to your cooking group. He has a lot to offer.

The secret password to post this is "spotably"!

christina said...

some friends of mine write a music review blog and just made a post about sarah jaffe's album! here's the link:

r_is_moody said...

Hey sorry this comment is super late.

So happy to hear that you are cooking. I think a long time ago you and kevin were gonna come over and i was gonna show you how to cook something and then we were gonna have dinner. We would love to do that sometime!! And hey you would get to see the baby too!!

Becareful buying utensils or you will turn out like me. Addicted to them and owning every one ever made and not sure what half of them are for!!

Annie said...

Oh yeah, I remember you posting this now. I meant to save it to read later since it was long, but it marked it as read. Oops! I'm proud of you for cooking! Here's the link to the chicken I told you about:

The cool thing about the Martha website is that a lot of the recipes will have a video with them, which is perfect for the beginner cook (and even non-beginners).

Give me a call if you ever have questions or if you need recipe advice (i.e. "I have this, this, this; what should I make?")

Oooh, also save those Bed Bath & Beyond coupons that come in the mail, and buy a kitchen utensil or cookware with each coupon! (But don't go overboard like Rian.) ;)

fragilemom said...

Yep, Rian definitely an overboard utensil hog! But she's got some great ones!

Way to go on the cooking! My advice, don't cook EVERYTHING on high. Jim burns a lot this way, but refuses to change! STUBBORN!