Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Martha's thighs (what was she thinking?)

I discovered on Monday that I don’t like thighs.  
Once a week I have my parents over for a well-planned and highly anticipated dinner.  I cook something fancy on this weekly occasion and it is the one night I include three or four courses and a dessert.  We rotate choosing what dinner should be - everything from the Kraft magazine to Martha Stewart recipes to old family favorites.  Tonight was my Dad’s choice, and he picked Honey-Teriyaki Chicken, Pork and Chive Potstickers, Broccoli in Oyster Sauce and Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Caramel Sauce all from Martha Stewart.  Sounds delicious, right?  
First of all, through various unavoidable circumstances I was unable to start dinner when I usually do, which means I was rather in a hurry.  I really love cooking fun new foods for my family, but it’s not nearly as much fun when you are stressed out.  I started with the chicken thighs.  Upon opening the package, I realized that I had never, not once, cooked any kind of chicken with bones or skin still attached.  That might surprise you - or then again, maybe not.  Just touching the meat grossed me out.  I threw together the yummy smelling sauce, tossed the chicken in, spread it all out on the baking sheet, threw it in the oven and thought, “phew!  I’m sure it’ll be much less disgusting when cooked.”  I moved on to the poststickers.  These were super easy to mix together, but time consuming to mold into the little won ton wrappers.  I tossed them into their little hot tub, only then noticing from the instructions that I was supposed to fry them up in hot oil after only being in the boiling pot for 3 minutes.  I quickly set up the oil in the pan and had to transfer the potstickers before the oil was really ready, which kind of made for some mushiness, but other than that they were ok.  I turned then to the broccoli in oyster sauce.  By now my parents were already at my house, so I was cutting broccoli florets like a lunatic, spraying them all over the kitchen floor... Most of the broccoli made it into the pot of sauce, and I let it all simmer for about 4 minutes.  When I took the lid off, the broccoli was gone!  Well, not completely, but it had performed a pretty amazing little disappearing act.  I am aware that when you cook veggies they reduce, but I had no idea the reduction would be quite that significant.  Aside from the fact that we each only got the equivalent of maybe a 1/4 of a serving, the broccoli was was pretty good.  Even Bug liked it!  Now, back to the chicken.  It was at this point that I realized I had forgotten to set a timer.  Estimating the cook time from when I had started preparing, I figured it was about time to take her out.  

She was beautiful.  

At this point, I have to say how sorry I am that I forgot to snap a picture.  It was a pretty little meal.... All golden and sizzling, and the sauce smelled heavenly.  I could tell she would be the crowning glory of the meal.  Especially since I was running so late at this point I knew I’d have to forgo baking the dessert which is usually my favorite part of the meal (of course!).
I carried her carefully to the table and placed her in the spot of honor on my blue trivet.  Gorgeous.  Her tantalizing aroma wafted around the table, calling us, tempting us.  After a quick blessing on the food, we dug in.  
I took three bites and was done.  With each bite I kept hoping it would get better.  The skin was just as slimey as it had been precooked and there were all kinds of suspicious looking dark spots, which my mom kept trying to convince me were the bone.  I had to stop eating and focus on the broccoli.  Everyone else praised how tasty it was.  I have to say, at least it was cooked through, even though I hadn’t set a timer (well, except for my dad’s piece, he got the thunder thigh of an extremely obese hen so I had to nuke his for a minute or two).  In my opinion, the thighs were a big fat NO GO.
At the last minute my mom whipped up a tasty treat - instant chocolate pudding whipped with extra creamy cool whip.  So at least I got dessert.  And it was my favorite part of the meal even though it wasn’t chocolate pudding cakes with caramel sauce.  (I am definitely making those next week.  Maybe we'll have dessert first, before main course, since it is the most important part...)
Martha would have cried.

Moral?  I prefer breasts over legs.

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