Monday, October 29, 2007

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I'm still always a little surprised when something I cook turns out right. I didn't learn to cook until after I was married, when there came a point that I said, "This is absolutely absurd. I cannot eat frozen things out of boxes for the rest of my life." Mr. McGee has always been able to cook, and he's all creative at it and stuff. (Sometimes too creative, typically in a slightly-too-fond-of-paprika way.) I'm not entirely sure what my problem was, but I was convinced I couldn't cook and, sure enough, most everything I tried to do in the kitchen that wasn't baking (I've always been able to bake) turned out disastrously. I could basically make pasta. Heating up sauce was a different story.

Last night I made chicken cordon bleu for the first time, and while the cream sauce was a little thin, it didn't have any lumps (a first for me; my white sauces ALWAYS have lumps) and the chicken was cooked right and it tasted FANTASTIC. And I made it all by myself! From scratch! And nobody got food poisoning!

Even though I've become a pretty decent cook in the last year or two (sometimes I even improvise in recipes! woohoo!), I was still shocked and amazed that I made "real food" that has a name and stuff. (Also shocked and amazed that I woke up at 3:30 a.m. still burping cream-sauce burps. But I guess we don't usually eat food that rich, or that many animal products in one sitting -- ham and cheese wrapped in chicken cooked in butter with a cream sauce? Is there any dairy product I didn't eat in there?)

So while I am very proud of my chicken cordon bleu and I now feel validated as a member of Those Who Can Cook, I think I'm going to eat rice and vegetables for the rest of the week. I should be just about through digesting the chicken cordon bleu by then.


Diane Vespa said...

Ah, quite a few visuals on that one. Not sure that I'll ever look at chicken cordon bleu in quite the same way! LOL!

prepossessing said...

I have just started learning to cook. In fact tonight I will attempt to make a turkey breast.

Did you learn to cook by taking a class or just by trial and error? Also how do you find the time??

Eyebrows McGee said...

Cookbooks, mostly. I'm good at learning from books. And then a certain amount of trial and error and a lot of asking everyone I know who can cook, "Wait, now WHAT does it mean when it says X?"

As for time, we don't usually make chicken cordon bleu. Lots of things TAKE a while to cook, but don't actually require you to mess with them while they do so. Now that I've gotten better at cooking, I can put a lot of things on the stove and then just remember to go stir every 10 minutes (either timer or commercial breaks)!

We also don't have side dishes other than salad very often, because that DOES make it more complicated, since everything finishes at different times and takes different steps.

For learning to cook, I particularly liked "How to Cook without a Book" and "On Food and Cooking" (which is a textbook on the science of food but was very helpful for me because I like to know how/why things work). And then something like Joy of Cooking or Good Housekeeping. The cookbook we cook out of most is "More with Less," but while the recipes are easy, it's not a very teachy book.

East Bluff Barbie said...

Poor Brad had to live on hamburger helper when we were first married because that was all I could cook. Thanks to cookbooks, cooking magazines and trial and error I am a fair cook. I can't bake to save my life though. Everything comes out extremely brown on the bottom or my layer cakes look like a giant boob.

anon e. mouse said...

EBB - Where can i order one of those cakes?

Jennifer said...

I really like to cook and bake. But, other than cheesecake (oh, and hashbrown casserole) I don't think I've ever made anything so decadent. Sounds good!

Secret Server said...

I love the satisfaction of making something good, especially if at least some of my family members agree. On the other hand, sometimes I will work very hard on something or spend hours cooking to have it turn out awful. Luckily, the more I practice, I am get more good results than bad. Congrats on your chicken cordon bleu! Are you going to share the recipe?