Sauteing and Sisters

I am drowning in chicken. The next lesson also used chicken, though the skill was sauteing. The accompanying recipe was a saute with onions, garlic, and basil. I'm not the biggest fan of basil, so I left it out. Maybe the dish would have been more impressive with a chiffonaded basil leaves.

My sister came over for dinner without her child and husband in tow. It was her first time seeing my new apartment. She has sent me dozens of cards; she even had flowers delivered a few times since the divorce. But she hasn't had time to actually swing by the place. Sarah is a surgeon and lives across the bridge in Brooklyn. It really isn't conducive to seeing your newly-single sister's studio apartment complete with hanging sheets to connote the bedroom area.

I actually had a decent evening with her despite the lecture I had to endure about everything that is wrong with how I'm doing divorce (notes from the discussion: I need to stop moping, I need to start taking a class somewhere, I need to meet people, I need to join a gym, I need to make sure all of my mail is being forwarded). My sister can do many things--open people's heads, fix their brains...close their heads. But she cannot saute chicken. I would be shocked if she even owned a saute pan. I'm fairly certain my sister has never prepared anything more complicated than a Lean Cuisine.

The Katz girls sort of skipped that whole Easy Bake Oven phase.

It may not have been the most amazing dish. I may have not have used the best white wine. I may have left out an ingredient or two (one on purpose, one by accident). But still, I did something that she couldn't do which was put food on the table.

Poele of Chicken

I solved the roasting pan conundrum for the time being with a disposable roasting pan from the food store. I know, it's environmentally irresponsible and I'm going to need to suck it up and buy a real roasting pan at some point. It's not just the money thing and how many tools I'm picking up just to do these lessons. It's a space issue. I'm not sure what other New Yorkers do, but my drawers are now barely closing. I would shove a box of utensils under the bed, but that space is already being claimed by my shoes and books. I'm going to need to rent storage space in order to eat. Or get remarried.

I am so not ready to get remarried.

Today's lesson came with a recipe: Poêlé of chicken with pearl onions and mushrooms. Doesn't that sound pretty? What it means is that the chicken is cooked in a covered pot so that steam is cooking the chicken just as much as the heat from the oven. Unfortunately, this recipe required the use of a bed of bacon--which it called a matignon. I don't keep kosher and don't really practice Judaism, but I couldn't get my Hebrew school teacher's voice out of my head as I looked at the recipe. I decided to leave it out and really, it made no difference. I mean, the chicken came out cooked perfectly and I made some vegetables with it as well.

Arianna came over with baby Beckett for dinner. He is the best sleeper--he just lay there in his pumpkin seat like a little delicious lump for the whole meal. She can't take him out a lot--she's worried about his immune system because he was premature. But our apartments aren't that far apart and she can walk over without taking him on the subway. I think it's a relief to have some place to go--even if it's just another person's apartment. And I love holding him.

Broiled Chicken

The textbook is difficult to figure out because sometimes, the lesson does not actually contain a recipe. For instance, when I opened the book this morning before I went food shopping, I realized today's lesson was on broiling. Which is fine--I know the oven has a broiler. But there was no recipe attached to the lesson. The picture showed some shrimp being broiled and the instructions mentioned brushing food with oil to keep it from sticking. Do they not realize that I am a beginner--a BEGINNER--and need my hand held at all times?

I ended up talking to the butcher at Whole Foods who recommended chicken. He promised it would be easy and gave me a pre-cut chicken. I used this recipe that I found at Cookography because it gave pictures. And I invited over my brother to try out my first foray into meat preparation.

My brother. My brother, who may or may not be reading this, has held many jobs. Seriously--everything from carpenter to doorman to dishwasher. His most recent career move has been to become a photographer. He taught himself how to use a camera and has been dragging me around New York doing practice sessions. He's actually quite good, though he has yet to actually make money being a photographer. He is currently paying the rent by working temp jobs. My brother, I should mention, is brilliant--he went to an Ivy League school for undergrad and did one year of medical school before he dropped out.

He has recently told me that he wants me to start calling him Ephraim, which is his Hebrew name. I'm not sure I can do this. Honestly, I think we sort of become our names and he has become an Ethan. Calling him Ephraim would be as strange as seeing him in a mini skirt and three-inch heels.

I needed to invite Ethan because I also forgot to buy a meat thermometer so he picked one up for me along the way. My drawers are quickly becoming overstuffed. I'm not sure what I'll do when I move on to the next lesson and need a freakin' roasting pan.

Bread Crumbs

The lesson of the day today was making bread crumbs. Which, I know, sounds as dull as shit and it is. I truly had a moment where I stared at the textbook and thought, "this is cooking? This is seriously a skill I need to learn?" But I'm committed to doing all of the lessons in the book so I hauled my ass to the Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Sixth and bought a Cuisinart.

This, by the way, is not my food processor--I do not have a lovely assortment of fruit in my apartment right now nor would I arrange raspberries next to my evenly sliced canister of peaches just to give you a sense of my purchase. Why did I need a food processor? Well, first and foremost, I left the one that we got for our wedding back at the old apartment because, at the time, I thought it took up too much space to be worth owning. And secondly, I looked ahead in the book and realized that I wasn't going to be able to do most of the lessons without it.

So I ground the chunks of bread as per the book's instructions and then passed the crumbs through a colander which really didn't work well at all. The instructions told me to use a tamis, but not knowing what a tamis was and seeing a picture of a tool that looked vaguely like a colander, I thought I would be fine. Not so much. Perhaps my bread wasn't dry enough--I used day-old bread from a nearby bakery. Regardless, I now have a container of bread crumbs and nothing to make that requires bread crumbs.

It is impossible to make bread crumbs without thinking about the story of Hansel and Gretel and the idea of leaving a path for yourself to return. What does it mean when you don't leave a path? That you don't want to return? I mean, there is a huge part of me that wants to turn around, call this off, return to my marriage, at least go somewhere where it's easy. And yet, all of my bread crumbs are tightly sealed in a container. A conundrum.

Welcome Back

I absolutely didn't mean to be away that long. Some of it was actually a good excuse that will require another blog post to unpack: Beckett was in the NICU for a bit, my friend needed me, and I just didn't have the energy to tackle lessons in the book some nights when I got home.

The other excuse is a bit lamer (is lamer a word? More lame? More lamer?): I started getting hung up reading other food blogs and rules about what food bloggers should or shouldn't do. I would be cooking and planning a blog post in my head and then realize that I had forgotten to take photographs and I had read that apparently, all food bloggers should include photographs.

So I stopped writing because I got too worried.

And then I got a comment (thank you, Misfit!) reminding me about this space and I realized how much I wanted to write about this journey and also how much I needed some sort of outlet (and without the funds to attend therapy like every other New Yorker, I am stuck with this). So I'm formally saying fuck it to all the rules.

I will be writing about my cooking lessons and restaurants in New York and my friends and family and my divorce. And there will be photographs only when I remember to take them. And there will be lots of misspellings and grammatical errors because that was also on a "don't do" list about food blogging. And I may even drink and post from time to time, ensuring that you get to hear many amusing drunken tales of being a newly single woman with no clue about dating.

So welcome back to me. And I promise--no more two month breaks between postings.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I'm home and exhausted. I can't believe how tired I am from sitting all day. Literally, all I did today was read food blogs and run out for Thai and ask nurse practitioner Judy for the box of tissues eight dozen times. And I waited at attention for any chance to hold Beckett or hold up Arianna or hold back my own tears. Being there today made me miss Adam.

Because when Arianna was doing treatments and I was still married, I imagined the scene at the hospital including the two of us. The couple visiting the friend. I imagined Adam holding the teddy bear and me holding the camera and Arianna holding the baby and then Adam and I riding home on the subway, talking about the baby. I always had this scene in my head where we enter her hospital room and she's radiant in the bed (because Arianna seriously was radiant after she gave birth, even if she was sweaty and bloody and a wee bit shit-stained) and it's us. And her. Do you see that? Us--as in the two of us standing together--and her--creating her own twosome with her baby.

And now, it is the two of them. And me. Alone.

I'm drinking wine--can you tell?

Can we talk about the baby for a second? He's gorgeous. He's seriously one of the most gorgeous babies ever to crawl on the face of this planet. By which I mean "will crawl" since right now he's sort of doing this weird dance on his back. But still, those tiny feet. And those fingernails! He has these microscopic fingernails.

The doctors can't tell Arianna when he can come home. They've implied that he could be there for as long as six weeks. Every time she asks, they counter with "what was your due date?" And they tell her that he'll most likely go home then; perhaps sooner.

I think Ari is going to go crazy if he has to stay there for almost 7 weeks.

I am going to go down for the evening feeds tomorrow and try some of my cooking lessons early in the day. Right now, I need to go dig through boxes to find my camera. Read up on being a good food blogger today. Apparently photographs are a must. And Arianna wants to keep her camera at the hospital.

Waiting Around

I'm still sitting here at the hospital. I have read a ton of food blogs--I'm just clicking down this big list I found and choosing titles that sound interesting. It's making me anxious to get home and cook again. Isn't that crazy? A few weeks ago, my idea of cooking was opening the carryout menu. And now, I'm actually figuring out how to create my meal from scratch. Okay, so I may not be there yet, but I'm getting close.

I found these cookies--click here--on a blog called Pinch My Salt. Don't they look amazing?

Am I posting too much?