I used to not know how to cook at all.  Back in college I was so horrendously bad at it that my girlfriend-at-the-time once threw pancakes I had made her out the window, rather than tell me to my face how atrocious they were.

(That's 100% true.  Later that day we went for a drive somewhere, and as we pulled out of the garage, we both saw them laying on the ground.  The window to my apartment overlooked the driveway and the dumpster, but she missed the dumpster entirely.  Apparently while the pancakes were rubbish for eating, they were somewhat aerodynamic, and caught a good stiff breeze or something.)

Anyhow, decades later I decided to go on a low carb diet that required a lot of cooking.  So, I taught myself how to do it.  I'm not an amazing cook, but I know some stuff.  

The thing I like best about cooking is when I can improvise.  I'll take a recipe I find, and substitute ingredients I have on hand, maybe combine parts of other recipes with it.  (I make really, really good baked breaded chicken with a lemon-dill weed-caper cream sauce, just in this way.)

Last night, I did exactly that.  

Ages ago, back when I was working in Silver Spring, the building I worked in had a café that served this awesome spinach salad.  I loved it so much I got it at least three days a week.  A couple of weeks back I made my own version of it, but simpler.  I also found a recipe for "Hasselbeck Chicken".  This excited me because I've made Hasselbeck potatoes before.  (They're fan cut, and look kind of like a potato slinky.)  I had never thought of doing that fan-cut technique on chicken before, but it's a godsend.  Stuffing chicken breasts is a miserable experience.  It never turns out exactly the way I want.

I modded it up.  I didn't have the cajun spices, or the pepper jack cheese the recipe called for, so I used garlic powder and mozzarella in mine.  My spinach salad is super easy too.  Fresh spinach, chopped red onions, crumbled goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette.  Combine, shake, serve.  

See? Supertotal easy!

The dish turned out just perfect.  I'm so glad I learned not to be afraid to cook, and to make tastier, less aerodynamic food.

AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude