My last few meals of the challenge were… interesting. Remember when I said that I wasn’t just bad at making food, I also have bad luck in the kitchen? Yeah, there were some bad luck moments that had NOTHING to do with me at all. There were also some miscalculations and dumb-ass moves that had EVERYTHING to do with me. Ooh, I also cheated on one meal with a professional, and there is one final meal video with a special guest star…
Friday morning I prepared to make oatmeal, but this is as far as I got…
…before I realized that my oven had broken down. No power, no fire. Nada. Le sigh [times] eleventy. I was SO ready for this challenge to be over, but I had two more meals to go. So I called the apartment manager to fix my oven and went on with my day.
Amy, my aforementioned professional chef neighbor (she of the huge-ass skillet-lending), was visiting me around lunch time, so she asked “what’s for lunch?” The answer was the “Greek-ish salad,” but I mentioned that I was feeling so damn tired that I didn’t even want to make it. Amy popped up and said, “that’s ridiculous. Let’s make it right now.” Yup, I cheated. I allowed a professional chef to make lunch. And, oh! You should have seen her, it was a thing of beauty.
The way she cut the Persian cucumbers was, like, lighting quick. Pew pew pew — cut and chopped. And then she would just cut and toss the tomatoes into the bowl in almost one swift movement. Like a finely choreographed dance it was, and with a recipe she just listened to me read off. I didn’t even give her measurements for the dressing — she just winged it and it was perfection.
As reparation for my cheating, I made this salad again for lunch the next day. And I found myself imitating Amy’s cucumber cutting technique. So, you know, at least I learned something from my sneakiness.
Since my oven broke, thank gawd the last evening’s meal was to be made in a slow cooker. The only problem… I have the the worlds tiniest slow cooker:
So the roast I bought wouldn’t fit inside of it. I hacked away at that raw piece of meat, making this face the entire time, until I could get a small enough chunk. Then poured in the cranberry, and grabbed the sweet potato and realized…
Luckily I had bought a smaller regular potato too, just in case that guy I married wanted to have this for dinner. And that little guy fit right in. Then all that was left to do was to plug it in and wait. Yup, there’s not even an on or off button on the little slow cooker. So I just had to wait and see if it would get hot. It did. Then six hours later, BOOM! I had one of my favorite meals of the challenge. I actually made fucking meat! And it was goooood. I will definitely make that again. I may even invest in a larger slower cooker so that I don’t have to re-butcher raw cow meat on my counter-top.
Bonus dinner video from Day 4
Some of you have been noticing that I have become a little more confident in the kitchen this round. (If you can believe it.) That’s entirely because my friend Jessica (the creator of almost all the recipes in this challenge) has been cooking me dinner at her house once a week. And she
lets makes me help sometimes. On our official “dinner night” I thought that I would go over to her house as usual, but I would make her dinner for a change.
Here’s how it went down…
So yeah, the lasagna would have been awesome — it seriously is a good recipe — but maybe next time I’ll buy pre-grated cheese, and make sure I have the right amount of everything.
This year’s challenge was in some ways harder and in some ways easier than the first challenge. I had learned a lot from the first challenge, and from my weekly dinners with Jessica. But that confidence boost led me to believe that I could sail through this challenge, which threw me off. I also experienced a lot of bad luck, what with the oven breaking, and the pepper debacle, and the dog sneakiness, and the tiniest slow cooker in the world.
The first challenge had much harder recipes, as Cat (the founding editor of Offbeat Home) had truly no clue how inept I was in the kitchen. The recipes this time were a lot easier, since Jessica is keenly aware of my limitations. I think, no, I will definitely add a lot of them to my repertoire.
What about you guys? Did you find recipes that you’ll be using again? I hope so.
Having a little more experience under my belt this time around meant that I got to fail in different ways than last time. While in the first challenge I was just struggling to understand how to cut an apple, I learned things in this one like: I need to read the whole recipe first, I need to double check ingredient amounts before I leave the grocery store, and ALWAYS pre-heat the damn oven first. Oh, and don’t fuck with pepper.
I also hear that you guys want more cooking videos from me. No problem! I actually really like making them, and they make cooking more fun. So I’ll try to do maybe one a month? But I need y’all to keep submitting recipes for me to try!
I hope you had fun with me on this journey to get more experience with foods that aren’t frozen. I learned a lot from your comments and felt majorly encouraged the entire time. Y’all were there for me when morale was low (two-hour breakfasts), answered questions during freak outs (day-old cheese?), and made me feel amazing when I accomplished even the little things (taco salad!). So I want to say a big ol’ huge-normous THANK YOU. I love you guys so much. Seriously, THANK YOU for being readers, supporters, submitters, and Homies. I don’t know what I would do without y’all in my life.