Okay, saying I can’t cook is a bit of an overstatement. I love cooking breakfast. I like to bake from time to time. I can throw together a quick pasta based weeknight dinner, no problem. But beyond that, I feel out of my element in the kitchen. I do watch a lot of Chopped, though. Does that count for anything?
I’m also a pretty picky eater. I’ll eat random animal parts (tongue? yes please. blood sausage? nom nom nom.) but veggies have been A Thing I Do Not Eat for as long as I remember. Don’t blame my parents; they tried. There were many dinner table showdowns of the “you will not get up until you eat this” variety, but I’ve always been extraordinarily stubborn and was willing to engage in siege warfare to get my way.
My sister is another picky eater, but now that she’s a mother, she’s trying not to pass her finicky tastes down to her daughters. I’ve been watching her try to cook more and eat things outside of her comfort zone by ordering meals from Home Chef, so I decided to join her.
More things to learn? More things to write about? What could possibly go wrong?
Chef Barcelos, You’ve Been Chopped
Like most of these services (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, etc) you get a box of ingredients and the directions to turn them into however many meals you ordered. I decided to start with something in my comfort zone: meat and potatoes. Or more specifically, Truffled Demi-Glace Sirloin Steak with lyonnaise potatoes and peas. Fancy, right?
In typical Barcelos fashion, I told Jim that I was making him dinner. He could relax and I’d do it all by myself. I knew how to roast potatoes, so that was easy. Chopping was a bit more of a struggle; we forgot to buy a chopping board while we were shopping for apartment things, so I had to settle for using a baking sheet.
Then it was time to cook the steaks, which took up way too much of my attention for me to get pictures of the process. I realized that we didn’t have olive oil after a quick search of the kitchen, so I had to cook them in butter instead. Then I managed to get distracted enough that they went past medium rare to medium well before I knew what was happening. Damnit.
After setting the steaks aside, I channeled my inner Salt Bae and sprinkled the parsley, shallots, and peas into my potatoes tossing them back into the oven. Then it was time to make the sauce. It looked great on the stove… but then the butter broke when it was time to serve it.
A Palate That’s Hard to Peas
I’ve had split pea soup before. I’ve had pea purees before. I liked them. So this part should have been easy, right?
My Just Desserts?
I ended up sticking to eating my overcooked steak and comfortable potatoes, but I ruminated over that dinner long after the dishes were done. Maybe I got a little too optimistic when my first attempt at a better life via my mailbox went so well. Maybe I’ll always have problems with not being great at a skill after my early attempts. But worst of all, maybe I’ll have the palate of a preschooler forever.
But no one can say that I’m not trying.