Friday, September 14, 2007

Clouseau in the Kitchen

For dinner yesterday, I set myself to making this Tomato Chicken Parmesan recipe. Once again my lack of kitchen experience found me out. You see, I didn't cook at all until a few years ago. In a way, I still don't cook, but I can usually follow recipes. Usually.

But there are times when a lack of careful reading and lack of experience catch me out. This particular brain cramp which I now propose to document has occurred before but not recently, so, sad to say, I hadn't absorbed my lesson.

You see, I don't have it firmly in my head, or didn't until now, how to apply batter (bread crumbs) to the chicken in the Parmesan recipe. So ... I mixed up the bread crumbs with the Parmesan ... and promptly broke an egg right into the mix. I realized my mistake right away and spent the next few minutes cursing trying to extricate said obstinate and recalcitrant egg from the mix. Fortunately, I did manage to get most of it out; unfortunately, a modicum of the bread crumb mix also insisted on exiting the dish.

I had understood that the recipe said to beat the egg, but hadn't realized that I wasn't to dump it right into the mix. So ... I tried again: beat the eggs — and made my next bad — for after beating the eggs, I also dumped them into the mix. Then, with great dedication and zeal, I proceeded to mix said eggs throughly into the bread crumbs.

After which it was time to apply the breading to the chicken. It was only then that the light went on: "You dummy, AC!!" For I knew right away, that I was supposed to have kept the egg and crumbs separate, dip the chicken in the egg, and then dip it into the crumbs. It was written this way in the recipe, but sometimes I have the tendency to not read carefully.

What to do? I broke two more eggs (that made five in total), dipped the chicken in and tried my best to get as much batter to adhere as possible. Actually it worked not too badly, and the meal turned out to be fairly tasty after all of my bumbling.

But now I have to figure out exactly what sauté means. In this case, I was to sauté the chicken for about twenty minutes before baking for the same length of time. I don't think I understand this sauté business because the crumbs got much browner than I would have liked them to.

So tell me ... how hot should should the stove element be in order to sauté?

BTW, despite all of my trials and tribs and Clouseau-like bumbling, this Tomato Chicken Parmesan recipe was actually quite tasty.


ChrisB said...

Just think of it as creating your own recipe!!
Here are a couple of links:

ChrisB said...

I checked the links I gave you and the second has an error so I'm trying again saute

Paul said...

Wish I could help but I don't have a clue what saute means. My mother waited on me hand and foot so I am challenged in the kitchen if it's something other than cold cereal with milk. Yes, all of our problems we get to blame on our mothers even after so many years.

Gina said...

I have a gas range, and to me satue is at medium to medium-high heat.

thailandchani said...

I'm with Gina on saute. ADmittedly though, I'm far from an authority. It's a big deal around here if I make a grilled cheese sandwich.




Coll said...

I can so relate to your predicament, but I must admit you had me chuckling by the fifth egg. And about the saute thing.. sorry I am of no help here. :-)

Maya's Granny said...

There used to be wonderful books for beginning cooks that told you what things were and how to do them. No recipes. Just like a dictionary for the stove. One of those would be really cool to have about the kitchen.

Pearl said...

I've made that mistake.

With 5 eggs you're on your way to a deep fry batter.

Saute? You need a skip rope and a spatula.

PBS said...

That sounds very very tasty and I bet it was great! I don't bother with following the recipes but sometimes use them as a general guide, especially for time and temperature. I saute food over a medium heat, but haven't done that type of cooking since son moved away.

cat59 said...

I am reading a book called, "Heat" by Bill Buford. He was a writer and editor for The New Yorker who left his job to work at Mario Batali's NYC restaurant, "Babbo." In it I read something that I've heard before, which is a cook does not have to follow a recipe exactly, can improvise and measure inexactly. Only a baker needs to be precise with measurements, temperatures, and procedures. I'm sure your dish was quite tasty. As Pearl said, sounds almost like a deep fry batter and what is better than fried chicken?!