Thursday, October 15, 2009

do i really need to learn how to cook?

so i've been thinking i need to somehow fulfill one of the many gender stereotypes associated with being female: i need to learn how to cook.  and while i'm definitely not one for stereotypes, a recent inventory of my pantry and refrigerator and an overall inventory of what my daily meals consist of led me to this conclusion of needing to learn how to cook.  maybe i can cook, i just don't.  i mean, i can make your basics like spaghetti, eggs, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, sauteed/steamed veggies.  although, i do have to admit, i think i gave myself minor food poisoning once for not cooking ground turkey long enough; may have just been a coincidence, who knows.  let me give you an example of what i eat in a typical day: central market organic flaxseed waffles, kashi cereal, chai tea luna bars, whatever is brought into the office during lunch, so usually deli sandwiches and chips or whatever tickles the quasi-bf's fancy, so usually  restaurant close by, chocolate chip chewy granola bars, and for dinner, one of the following restaurants: freebird's (burritos), russo's (pizza), escalante's (mexican), cafe express (turkey burger and sweet potato fries), or rajin' cajun (red beans and rice).  my point is: I.DON'T.COOK.  i live alone so i've never really had a need to learn, plus my mom hated (and still does) to cook so i never had a passion for cooking instilled in me.

i can bake, and by "i can bake" i really mean i can turn on the oven to 350 degrees and carefully place break-and-bake cookies in a straight line onto a cookie sheet.  and, voila! in approximately 9 minutes you have freshly-baked cookies!  (please don't shamefully shake your head in disdain, i'm just being honest here, and my cookies still end up pretty damn good.)  clearly, i'm no betty crocker and i'm certainly no ace of cakes, though that's not really my goal.  quite frankly, when it comes to cooking, there's nothing "domestic" about me.  i'm worried i'm going to make a bad wife and mother one day. 

in order to overcome this, i have recently begun perusing various cooking blogs and cooking websites.  (seriously, on virtually all of the blogs i read, the women cook.  wtf?  i guess i'm not a "good" woman.)  i'm wanting to make a "binder" cookbook and i figured i better start off simple and easy, so i checked out the food network's "quick and easy" section and this is what it gave me:

seriously, you've got to be kidding me?!  a big pile of sausage and onions.  really?  that's the food network's idea of a good "quick and easy" dinner.  that looks disgusting and would give anyone problems in the bathroom for days.

clearly, the food network is not all it's cracked up to be so i googled "easy chicken dishes" and eventually came up with this little number... chicken scallopine over broccoli rabe.  i only understand three out of those five words (chicken, over, and broccoli) so we'll see how this turns out.  it was apparantly under "15-minute chicken dishes."  (we'll see...)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
1/2 cup dry white wine (or not)
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon butter
1 pound broccoli rabe (rapini), cut into 3-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
4 lemon slices (optional)

- heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- combine breadcrumbs and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture. add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. remove from pan; keep warm.
- add wine (hell no), broth, juice, and butter to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. stir in broccoli rabe; cover and cook 3 minutes or until broccoli rabe is tender. stir in parsley and capers. serve chicken over broccoli rabe mixture. garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

i'm allergic to wine (i know, blasphemous. but seriously the stuff will kill me.) so i had to tweak the recipe just a bit.  i'll let you know how it turns out and if i'm a domestic failure.

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