Monday, December 20, 2004

She's got skills (or not)

After the brilliant turkey-cooking for Faux Thanksgiving, I figured I was a certified kitchen goddess. Because, naturally, if one has the skills to make a giant turkey, one has the skills to cook anything else one's heart my desire.

So tonight I tried my hand at chicken and dumplings.

My mother left a small chicken in the freezer a couple of weeks ago when she came up to visit my poor sickly mono-infested little brother. So in lieu of spending my non-existent funds on a deep-fried grease-marinated slab of beef, I decided I would make some good ol' home cooked food.

First, I took the chicken out of the freezer. It was wrapped in plastic, so I pulled off what I could and sawed off the bits that stuck on. Then I found a large pot and filled it halfway with water, slicing up onions and celery to flavor the broth. Then I put the rock of a chicken into the pan, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and covered it with a lid.

One hour later it still seemed a bit frosty and crunchy when I shoved a fork in the side, so I decided that it probably needed to cook at little bit more.

Another hour later and the fork test is still not going well. Random pieces appear to be cooked and succulent. Other pieces appear to be... not so cooked. And slightly oozey.

Another half an hour later (all whilst my stomach is munching happily on my spleen) and the chicken is exuding an offbeat sort of odor. Sort of a burnt chicken-ass smell.

So I remove the chicken and place it on a cookie sheet. I pull off what pieces seem to be cooked and place them back in the broth. I then make the dumplings.

A more apt word has never been found to describe these dumplings. 'Dumplings' pretty much covers it. I don't think I added enough milk. Or maybe I didn't cook them right. Some were deliciously light and fluffy.. albeit flavored with sketchy burnt chicken broth. Others were mushy and gooey and just plain weird.

Overall: I suck. and not in a good way.

In retrospect, the chicken should probably not have been a giant block of ice when I started cooking it. And I probably should have added more water when the water boiled down to a dark brown substance. Maybe I shouldn't have started with something so complicated. I'm going back to the basics: Rice a Roni, Ramen noodles and indivudually frozen, microwaveable chicken breast strips. Can't go wrong.

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