Monday, December 20, 2010

The Inevitable Kitchen (Near)Fail

As much as I like to cook and post my kitchen triumphs to this blog, inevitably there comes a time that you face the horror of a kitchen fail. Like the time I baked a cake from scratch (take THAT boxed cake mix) but forgot to add vanilla extract (why is this cake flavorless?). Or the time I simply forgot about the cookies I was baking and burned them to a crisp? It happens. And it (nearly) happened tonight.

Tonight I decided that I would attempt Giada De Laurentiis' Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce. I found the recipe online, then happened upon the episode of "Giada at Home" for it a day later. Serendipity! I recorded the show so I could follow along. Too easy, right? I was all ready to kick it in the kitchen with my girl Giada. (Because we're totally on a first-name basis...)

Things that went wrong with my Chicken Milanese:
(1) I forgot Parmesan cheese. D'oh! I thought I had it in the fridge. No matter, I just added some extra garlic powder to make up for lost flavor.
(2) I lack freakish Giada strength and skill. WHY was it so hard for me to chop that fennel? She makes it look easy! Does she have magic knives?
(3) As I was shaking some Italian spices into the breadcrumbs, the shaker screen fell off and HALF A BOTTLE of spice fell into the crumbs. I had to scoop excess into the trashcan. Such waste.
(4) One of my fennel bulbs was worthless. There was nothing to it but the stalk, the bulb was all green and weird! I didn't know much about it when I bought it, obviously. So I was down a bulb.
(5) I burned myself frying the chicken in oil. How do the TV chefs pull it off? Am I the only one tired of the micro-burns from the popping oil droplets that are magnetically attracted to my arms?
(6) The chicken was burned, but not fully cooked inside. Two of the breasts went into the garbage, and I ended up having to bake the other two to ensure they were safe for consumption.
(7) A cherry tomato squirted all over me when I tried to cut it in half. Like, in my eye. Stupid little tomato...
(8) I was tired. Don't attempt a new recipe when you're tired. It's hard enough to stand in your kitchen for that long, let alone pay attention to what you're doing.

That being said, the tomato and fennel sauce was GREAT. The mascarpone cheese made it so creamy and pretty, and I topped the fried-then-baked chicken with it. Whew!
After I was done making this, I thought I was done with Chicken Milanese for life. But then I tasted it. YUM! JM liked it too. But if I attempt it again, I'm baking the chicken breasts with Shake 'n' Bake instead. The sauce I can handle, those oil-spitting chickens? Not so much.


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