The recipe calls for sliced shallots. I have never cooked with a shallot before (gee, are you surprised?), and I honestly didn't know what they were when I was looking for them at the commissary. I pulled them out of my fridge yesterday (not even entirely sure they should have been in the fridge?), and had absolutely no clue what to do with them at that point. Cue Google! "How to slice a shallot" gave me a step-by-step how-to involving slicing the shallot in half length-wise, then cutting off the non-root end, and then peeling off the skin and slicing it. I guess I didn't really realize that a shallot is part of the onion family (I read that it was somewhere between onion and garlic...which made me think it was not an onion), but oh man--was it like an onion! I was tearing up and terribly uncomfortable while I was cutting--I kept thinking that I've seen a remedy for onions causing tears, but I couldn't think of it off hand, so I just cried. I was talking to my mom on the phone, and I do believe I said, "Why on earth does anyone cook?!?" at some point during the crying episode. It really was uncomfortable! When I finally stopped crying, I moved on to the garlic--I bought a bunch of cloves at the commissary, not really knowing how much I would need. I was trying to figure out how to cut garlic when my own mother, the Original Good Housewife herself, informed me that she had never cut garlic before--she said, "I took one look at garlic cloves when I was younger, said to myself, 'Well, that looks too complicated!' and bought garlic flakes in a jar instead. Much easier!" Huh--I didn't realize that my make-everything-from-scratch mother had her own short cuts! Good to know... I forged ahead with the garlic cutting--neither my mom nor I realized that each head of garlic contains something like 10 cloves, and it's the cloves you need to get to before you start cutting. You also apparently have to smash the garlic before cutting it to make the skin fall off easier--that part was kind of fun!
|cutting garlic, with a little help from Google|
When I cut up enough garlic, I went to work on the zucchini--the recipe called for using my vegetable peeler to make long strings of zucchini, which I thought was kind of cool. Dan isn't a fan of zucchini and didn't realize it was in this recipe (even though I told him before I bought everything...grrr), so I was hoping he had forgotten about the zucchini disagreement and the long strings would throw him off. Then I prepped the meat--I don't own a meat tenderizer, so I got out some frustration by punching the chicken with my fists! I guess I made a ton of noise, because Jake was upstairs in his room (not sleeping) yelling, "Mommy! What's that sound?" Somehow I didn't wake Alex up, and he was in the room right next to me--my dear third child who sleeps through everything. I cleaned up my big mess, washed a few dirty pans that were in the sink, and was done with my pre-dinner prep right when Dan brought Abby in from the school bus at 4:45pm--2 hours after I started this project. Clearly whoever wrote this recipe and said that the prep time would take 5 minutes forgot to include an important ingredient--namely, the extra 30 people needed to prep the food that quickly.
Dan is not feeling well, so when he came in the door, he wanted to just lie down on the couch...usually when cooking is involved, he doesn't want to give me the reigns, so I was surprised when he bowed out of any involvement. I did want to cook it myself, since I had already devoted so much time and effort, but I was also kind of hoping for a little help...just to manage the time and the table and everything. But I pushed forward, sauteing the edamame, shallots, and grape tomatoes:
|I was pretty proud of myself--usually Dan handles the sauteing!|
The finished veggie product included the zucchini, and I even served it out of Dan's favorite ridiculous bamboo bowl that he desperately (and randomly) wanted one year for Christmas:
|looks good, but I still wasn't sure how it would taste|
When the veggies were done, I moved on to the chicken, which I had cut into smaller pieces. I had a lot of chicken to cook--probably more than the recipe called for, but I wanted to have some left over for dinner tonight (because my husband loves leftovers--NOT!). It took longer to cook the chicken in the pan because I had so many pieces of chicken, but eventually it was all done, and Dan got up in time to help me get plates out and get everything ready. Here's my plate before I dug in!
I thought the thyme flavor was a bit strong for my taste, but Dan seemed to really like the meal (minus the zucchini, which suspiciously ended up still on his plate when he was all done), and Abby actually declared that I am the best chef in the house--ha! :) That made me smile--our sweet girl will try anything, and likes almost everything. Jake freaked out about the veggies and wasn't a fan of the chicken flavor, but did manage to eat most of his chicken after some coaxing. He was in tears, though, so I wouldn't call that a success. Alex was super excited and played with his edamame--at one point, he was putting them to bed on his lap--but he never actually ate any of the food (not a shocker). I even tried the are-you-eating-my-dinner trick, which has been working like a charm up until this meal, but he just smiled and said, "You eat it, Mommy!" while offering me his full plate. Sigh. So it wasn't the best family meal, but I was still really proud of myself for stepping WAY out of my comfort zone--cooking, cooking unfamiliar foods, and eating those unfamiliar foods!