Make your own Countdown Clocks

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DAY 23: Cooking class-Chicken 101

 You know when you fall asleep to a nice,  relaxing movie and don’t turn the TV off but then you are abruptly woken up by a terrible action movie or a horror movie…then you can’t find the remote to turn it off?!!  That is similar to the feeling you would have after eating something I have cooked.  Alarmed, extremely confused and just wanting it to stop.
Through the years various family members have tried to teach me to cook to no avail.  I even worked for the Rachael Ray Show in NYC for two years and listened to her recipes and sensible cooking techniques daily. I probably remember less than 1% of what I heard. I blame this on a few things.  1) Throughout college and living in LA and NYC, my kitchens have been entirely too small to spend an extended amount of time in them.  (and in NYC I had a small mice problem)  2) In NYC and Chicago you can basically have anything your stomach desires delivered to you at almost any hour, or you can just walk across the street to get something.  3) I have never had the proper utensils/pots and pans because I am not married!  Don’t you have to get married and put that stuff in your wedding registry?? It is so expensive!  4) I have lived by myself for most of my 20s.  Why put that much effort into cooking if there is no one around to acknowledge or appreciate the hard work?
The scary chicken parm...guess it does look pretty bad. 
The aforementioned reasons for my horrible cooking skills are what drove me to finally sign up for a cooking class.  I had every intention of cooking for my boyfriend at least a couple times a week when I moved in with him.  I have lived here 6 months and have unsuccessfully cooked 3 times.   The first time I attempted to cook breakfast.  I usually make delicious scrambled eggs for myself (it is about the only thing I can make) but I wasn’t used to making so many at once so I ruined that.  And SOMEHOW I ruined the frozen potatoes and frozen sausage patties.  Months later, I attempted cooking chicken parmesan that turned out mediocre.  My boyfriend swears it was good but I think he was just being nice.  While I was pan frying the chicken, I heated the oil too long and burnt the first batch of chicken to a crisp, causing the entire apartment to be fill with smoke.  This scared my dog Twinkie so much that at first he cowered on the windowsill (wanting to jump?) and then hid under the bed for hours.  The chicken actually burned a huge hole in the trash bag.  The third failed attempt at cooking was a healthier version of chicken marsala.  Too horrible to even talk about…disgusting! 
Twinkie afraid of my cooking?

 I would love to tell you that my Chicken 101 class at The Chopping Block in Merchandise Mart has transformed me into an expert chef!  At least I should have an extensive understanding of how to cook chicken now?  I did learn a few new things that will help me cook in the future, but I think this class was a little too fancy for me.  I need a more basic approach, although I don’t know how much more basic you can get than “101”.

 There were 5 students in our class and one instructor named Luco from Peru.  The class was almost 3 hours and here was the menu we cooked:
*Brined and grilled chicken panzanella with tomatoes, cucumbers and basil
*Sweet and spicy barbequed chicken legs with fennel slaw
*Roasted pesto chicken with garlic potato salad

The beautiful finished product!

Chef Andi Gayle
 I stood to the left of Luco our instructor as we all worked together to complete each chicken recipe.  I kept getting the task of cutting the vegetables, which was quite difficult for me today because I swear I sprained my wrist during my workout yesterday.  Not to mention fennel is really hard to cut!  After Luco corrected my technique a few times he said in his Peruvian accent, “ HONEY, it can’t be that hard!”  Way to crumple any remaining confidence I had left Luco!  Overall it was such a fun learning experience and the food we made was so yummy!  Brining  is one thing I learned about cooking chicken  that I think will help me in the future!  I had never even heard of it before.  No wonder my chicken has been so dry and icky.  Even though Luco wasn’t impressed with my chopping skills, I am gradually feeling more confident in the kitchen.  Next time I think I will take the pasta class or the cupcake boot-camp.  No way one cooking class was going to “get me cooking” as they say, but at least there is a slight improvement!    FYI deboning a chicken is so gross and I highly doubt I will ever do that on my own. 



carissajade said...

HAHHAHA I LOVE IT! I'm cracking up only because i relate so much. I know how to cook 3 things. And they never turn out for anyone else but me. I'm so proud of you for going, trying your hardest, and cutting up those veggies. I can't wait to hear more about it. I think you did great!

K2 said...

LOL! You are too funny Andi!