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NOW YER COOKIN'
19 October 2018
I put our membership in Home Chef on hold when this "whatever it is" started making dinners frustrating. Mis en place exhausted me. Tom says he loves it, getting all the ingredients chopped, measured and in their own bowls ready to put together with the final product. Ned also likes the precision of getting his ingredients in order before he starts to cook. Thank goodness I didn't work in a professional kitchen.
By the time I had completed the few admittedly simple steps of our Blue Apron or Home Chef meal, I was dripping with sweat and near tears. Not a good way to sit down at dinner each night.
Surprisingly, I also missed planning meals, the thing that I hated so much that it drove me to trying Blue Apron and Home Chef in the first place. So I'm back to preparing my specialty, "something with chicken in it" alternating with "Joe Special," "something Mexican," and the occasional pork chop.
I like being in control again, though I am hampered by not going to the store myself. I suppose I could probably go, but my legs feel so weak when I walk any distance that I'm not sure I could easily make it through the entire store, so I send Walt with a list, which eliminates those impulse buys I used to make based on what looks good and sparks my brain to think of something new to prepare.
But the problem I'm having in my dotage is that I can't make anything any more without screwing it up. It was always the case with the Blue Apron and Home Chef meals. I'd get everything on the plate and then realize that I'd left out a key ingredient, or we'd finish dinner and I'd discover the package of whatever was supposed to be sprinkled over the top to enhance the flavor.
The other night I decided to try InstantPot lasagna (I won't do that again). It had the advantage of Walt being at his friend Malcolm's house, so I had 2 hours to prepare it and could definitely do it at my leisure. Only the pot malfunctioned somehow. It would not build up pressure and ultimately it cooked the lasagna, but left a black mess on the bottom of the pot, where the water had all burned away. And, truth to tell, I wasn't all that enamored with the result. I thought it would be good to have a smaller lasagna rather than a huge one that would take 3 meals to finish but, really, how difficult is it to prepare lasagna anyway? And it has the advantage of not having to cook for the next two nights.
Last night I made a quiche. I haven't made quiche in forever. I baked the bacon in the morning (I've decided baked bacon is the way to go!) and had it all cut up by the time I was ready to assemble the pie. I made the crust during Rachel Maddow, so it had time to chill before I rolled it out.
Pie crust is one of my favoritest things in the world. The very best pie crust I ever had was when Walt and I were engaged and had dinner at the home of a friend of his mother's. The crust was so flaky and tender I had to ask her how she made it. I don't think I ever duplicated it, but throughout my cooking life I have made lots and lots of pies and then a few years back all of a sudden I could not roll pie dough to save my soul. Absolutely NOTHING had changed in how I made it, but the dough just would not roll out wide enough and I ended up having to patch it together. I tried all sorts of things including the most successful, rolling it in a special bag (thanks, Mary Williams). But it still wasn't perfect.
My recipe came from Julia Child, so it was impeccable. In fact, Jeri asked for it and makes it all the time, but it just never works for me any more.
But last night for some reason it all went perfectly. I did minimum handling of the dough, I chilled it for 30 minutes, and even without the pie bag, it rolled well....not as well as I would have liked but it came close to what I used to make.
I filled the crust with my pre-baked bacon and all the cheese, eggs, and 1/2 & 1/2 and stuck it in the oven. When I took it out, it looked perfect. I was BACK, baby!
I eagerly broke off a piece of the crust to taste and it had the consistency of a cracker. Hard and crunchy without a flake to be had. I went over and over in my head how I had made it and what could I possibly have done wrong and then, when going to sleep, still stewing over why my crust had not turned out the way it should have, I realized that the recipe calls for adding 3 Tbsp of oil...and I had forgotten that. Sigh. I mean it was an OK quiche, but just not what I was hoping for and once again I had made a simple recipe and screwed it up.
I've been a good cook all my life, but my
talents are definitely fading. Is this why old people go into
facilities like Atria so they don't have to cook any more?
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This is entry #6775