san francisco, day five

Wednesday was the cooking fiasco. Not really fiasco, but definitely eventful.

Me and Sean. Sean and me. When the two of us live together, it will definitely be interesting. Unfortunately, neither of us have had much cooking experience and usually stick to eating sandwiches and frozen foods. So we decided we needed to mix it up a bit, but without going out to eat every single night.

While at the grocery store a couple days before, we'd bought some kind of lemon-herb marinated boneless skinless chicken breast, which in itself was a bit confusing. (At the store we were looking for the cheapest chicken breast we could find, and it all seemed scattered around. Sean frustratingly asked why there wasn't a sign for "Cheap Chicken," which I thought was a very relevant question, no matter how silly it sounded.) But we found the pre-marinated version which also happened to be the cheapest, so that settled that. Add in some rotini, Alfredo sauce and broccoli and we had somewhat of a plan.

So. Wednesday we cooked. We pulled out the brand spanking new stainless steel pot and pan bought specifically for the occasion, lit the gas stove, boiled water in the pot for the noodles, poured some olive oil in the pan and plopped in the chicken. Within less than a minute the bottoms were seared to the metal and the smoke detector was blaring. Freaking out, we pushed open the tiny window and grabbed paper bags to circulate the air. The alarm stopped and I attempted to save the chicken. Fearing it would get burnt beyond edibility, I continuously flipped the chicken on one burner while stirring the noodles on another.

The smoke alarm went off again. So back to waving paper bags around like idiots.

Eventually, the chicken looked like chicken and the noodles looked like noodles. So we put it all together with the Alfredo sauce and ate, quite content with what we conjured. Even the slightly burned parts weren't so bad!

Afterwards I started cleaning the pan. But the residue from the chicken would not come off no matter how hard I scrubbed and how long I let it soak.

So to the internet it was! After finding several methods to remove stubborn stains on stainless steel, we decided on the cheapest and easiest which required combining baking soda and water into a paste. Which of course prompted a visit to the drugstore down the street to buy said baking soda.

Half an hour later I was in the kitchen dumping half of the baking soda into a cup of water to create something that resembled a paste. I then dumped that into the pan and let it sit.

And it worked! It was a relief to know I didn't ruin Sean's only pan on the very first use.

Feeling rather proud of ourselves for making our first home-cooked meal successfully and for figuring out how to fix the stubborn residue problem all on our own, we then realized we'd completely forgotten about including the broccoli!

So a couple days later we used the trusty internet yet again to learn how to steam broccoli (no, neither of us had cooked broccoli before.) Obviously it was very easy. So we cooked the rest of the noodles, threw on the rest of the Alfredo sauce, stirred in the broccoli and leftover chicken and tada! Another home-cooked meal! A very tasty home-cooked meal, might I add. I was rather proud of ourselves for making something without using a recipe, no matter how sarcastic all of this might be sounding...

More to come... 


Charlotte said...

I'm loving these stories. :) Keep going with the cooking, I promise it'll get easier! I used to have the biggest fear of not cooking chicken thoroughly enough, so on one of the first times Jordan and I cooked for our friends, I served it nearly burnt. But no one got salmonella!

Charise said...

this entry was hilarious to me because everything in it has happened to me when i first moved out here and started cooking with gas!
yes the baking soda paste definitely works! i had really really bad black burnt on sludge after making apricot jam last summer and it took three rounds of overnight baking soda paste soaking followed by scrubbing but i did eventually get it all out. and cooking with gas is a really big adjustment over electric because of how fast and intense it is, but it is nice once you get used to it. and gas ovens are a million times better for baking! try cooking with the flame turned down super low for a while until you get more used to it. and i don't burn things anymore but i still set the smoke alarm off about 50% of the time when i cook, i think gas just does that.
since you're using non-nonstick pans with it you'll have the best luck by adding your fat (oil or butter) while your pan is heating up and then waiting until it is really hot before adding the food. and swirl it around to coat the pan first too. if you add the food after the pan and oil are already really hot and then move the food around in the pan a lot for the first minute or two, it will want to stick and burn a lot less afterward. hope that helps a little! good luck next time!

Anonymous said...

You know, if the two of you lived around, I had invited you to a cooking session at ours.

I share houses with five people and we mostly cook together and it is a lot of fun.

But every now and then something goes ridiculously wrong. Just today a bread (and I bake bread each week) could not be convinced to get out of the pan and now it is a sad bunch of crumbles - oh well.

Go on trying, it will get better each time.

Goggled Hero said...

The bags are amusing

andrea despot said...

thanks for the advice, charise! glad we're not the only ones who had trouble :P

katie said...

=) sometimes i feel like that when i cook. luckily, the mister does nearly all the cooking now -- which sometimes makes me truly wonder what i ate/how i fed myself before we got married. =) i do just want to say that raw broccoli cooks very quickly and painlessly in the microwave -- put it in a micro-safe (ceramic or glass) dish with a lid, nuke for a minute or so, and that's it. no need to add water (the moisture in the veggie steams itself), no worries about burning or boiling over or anything. =)

if you're likely to be cooking chicken breasts frequently, may i recommend a george foreman grill (or something similar)? you really can't mess it up with those, you can just leave it there for however long and not worry, and they're easy to clean up. i don't usually like single-purpose appliances, but this one is worth it. (but perhaps i'm saying that because mine came free with my microwave?)

yes. i use my microwave and my george foreman extensively. who knows how i survived before my makes-it-up-as-he-goes-with-marvelous-results husband started feeding me. =)

Krystal said...

that is such a funny story though!! i can't tell you how many times i've had to google silly things like that - and how to cut a leek..and how i can never remember how to simply boil an egg, haha!