Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Can Cook! I Can Cook!

I have always been embarrassed about my kitchen skills and as a result I have developed a severe case of cooking phobia. It seems that all my friends know how to cook extremely well and invite me over for exquisite dinners and I have never invited anyone over for a meal that I cooked. But all that is about to change! I want to learn how to cook!!!

I have always hated the thought of cooking... I want everything to be exact and cooking instructions have always seemed vague to me. What the hell do these things mean: "medium heat," "golden brown," "until done," "pinch." It drives me nuts. Is it medium heat over the big burner or the little burner? What hue of golden brown I am supposed to be looking for? What's a pinch?

Up until yesterday, I have only known how to cook three things and I only do it when I absolutely have to. My three dishes are: vegetarian chili, deviled eggs, and pound cake. That's it, folks. I tried cooking something new one time a few years ago. It was a roasted butternut squash soup and it was a disaster. Even with my comfort, security-blanket mix CD playing, it was a horrible experience in which everything ended up in the trash and I ended up on the floor in tears.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at work and I found myself thinking that I want to cook myself dinner!!! Now, over the past few months, I have had some crazy ideas, but nothing like this. But after reading Elizabeth's post yesterday about her swank meal, I was inspired. I want to invite friends over for dinner!

So, yesterday when I felt this urge to cook, I decided somewhat randomly on chicken chili. I googled "chicken chili" and printed out the first recipe that I could find. It didn't look too difficult... but it involved alot of chopping which I dread. After I got home from Whole Foods Paycheck with the ingredients and a six-pack, I opened a beer, put on a Devendra Barnhart CD and began cooking. I got all the ingredients chopped and measured beforehand... and I think that helped easy my anxiety. The beer and Devendra Barnhart didn’t hurt either.

I was supposed to pick Sara up to go to the Federal at 7:30, but I ended up calling her to INVITE HER TO DINNER AT MY HOUSE! I was in tears when I was on the phone with her. I have never ever in my entire life called anyone to have dinner at my house that I COOKED ALL BY MYSELF. The chicken chili was amazing considering that I have never cooked meat before in my life. It was actually pretty tasty. The chicken was a teeny bit overdone, but overall, I was extremely pleased with the results. I kept saying “Wow! Wow! Wow! I cooked and it’s good!”

Sara and I ended up skipping the Federal completely and stayed at home and watched AV Geeks DVDs until 2am. We were both too stuffed to make it out of the house! [I was going to post a picture of the chili in progress, but the pictures that I had looked pretty gross... semi-raw chicken doesn't make a pretty picture. So, here is a picture in my cute little apron instead.]

Now, I am ready to try more things. I want to cook dinner for people. I want to use my dining room! Last night, I felt so good. Send me your recipes!!!


Joe said...

I'm glad you've graduated to cookdom. It's good when people can feed themselves instead of relying on restaurant and pre-packaged food.

A cookbook I've been pushing a lot lately is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Bittman is very much into the idea that everyone can cook, and cook well, without relying on buying a bunch of equipment or odd ingredients. Take a look at it if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

I measure the meniscus when cooking. Try this site for
cooking for those with analytical minds.

Charlotte said...

Thanks for the links, y'all! I'll definitely check them out. I recently subscribed to Cooking Illustrated which has aided in increasing my cooking curiosity.

Last night I found myself actually *reading* a recipe in a magazine and it sounds really delicious and not too hard. It was a recipe for lamb confit. Yum! Maybe that will be next....

Binge Cafe said...

Hi there...a friend sent me your blog. Cooking is great fun...this is a fantastic little blog with tips and pictures -
Amazing, creative stuff, from a lady in Washington making lunch boxes every day.


Charlotte said...

Hey Eleni,

That is a great website! Thanks!!! I hope I can glean some ideas from it.

Someone was just mentioning your band tonight at Local 506....