The Comestible Experiments: Part 1

Lately I’ve been trying to teach myself to cook, and as usual I’ve abandoned the normal approach to learning to do anything and decided to try my own thing.  I’ve eaten a great deal of food in my life, cooked by many people from many different parts of my country and many different countries around the world.  I’ve enjoyed most of it.  And I work out a lot, so I’m hungry a lot and not really picky.  So if the result of my experiment is not very good, it probably won’t go to waste.  This is part of why I’m willing to not buy a book of recipes or look online for recipes.  Who needs recipes, right?  Lists of ingredients?  I just buy whatever I feel like at the grocery store and then totally throw things together whimsically and get fantastic results the first time despite not doing much cooking in my life.

As you might expect, I was wrong about that last part.  It turns out that I don’t get fantastic results the first time.  The first attempt was decent.  I decided to create a breakfast stir fry.  I had fresh eggs in the fridge, recently donated to me by the chickens on the old homestead.  I had a mix of vegetables which included onion, red pepper, green pepper, carrots, peas in the pod, and broccoli.  I had a little cheddar.  I had organic pork sausage links.  So I slowly cooked the sausage in a skillet with a little vegetable oil.  It took a while because I like my sausages browned, but definitely not burnt.  The nice thing is that of course they contribute nicely to the oil in the skillet.  After cooking the sausages, I cracked a few eggs into the skillet I had let cool off for a minute.  After the eggs were all in, I added a half dozen chunks of cheddar and slowly increased the heat, stirring as I went along.  After the cheese started mixing in well with the egg, I dumped in the veggies and turned up the heat gradually again, and waited until I started filling the air with the smell of the peppers and the egg was the right consistency to separate my unholy creation from its toasty dwelling.  The resulting meal was reasonably tasty, but I didn’t feel as if I was really tasting all the flavors.  The flavor was good, but rather indistinct.

For my second attempt, eggs were in short supply, so I mixed some organic chicken breast in with the egg to stretch it further.  That was helpful in preserving some of the distinct flavors.  The chicken absorbed the flavors of the vegetables and held onto them as distinct flavors, but it still seemed a more muted dish than I wanted in terms of flavor.  For my third attempt, I decided not to worry about the egg and try a dinner stir fry.  In this case, I doubled the amount of organic chicken breast and used the broth from the chicken breast as a base instead of the egg.  Also, I skipped the cheese.  It worked brilliantly.  The broth kept the veggies from drying out and the chicken really soaked up the flavors from the veggies with the flavors retaining their distinct qualities.

So I ended up with an incredibly tasty high-protein dish that was great after my workout yesterday afternoon.  Yummy sausage and chicken stir fry with a great mix of veggies.  In hindsight, I really wish I had taken pictures of my dishes.  I will next time so that I don’t have to use a picture of someone’s random stir fry.  I may add the cheese in next time and see what I can manage to do with it.  Or scramble the egg separately and do a wrap of some kind.  So many possibilities and so little time and definitely not enough money.

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2 Responses to The Comestible Experiments: Part 1

  1. galadrial says:

    Kudos.If I may offer a few suggestions?I’m a pretty good cook now—and am experimenting with sauces and reductions…fancy…but i started out like you have.When the weather gets warmer, buy a basil plant—or plant a pot of seeds. You will simply not believe how much flavor it adds to food…WAY better than dry herbs.If you are health oriented, consider using coconut oil, instead of the normal kinds. It’s one of the few digestible saturated fats available—and because it is not hydrogenated,  is far better for you since it aids the body in digestion of omega-3 and omega 6. (It also works great as a butter substitute…and I bet it will bring down your cholesterol too.)Never cook something yourself if you can’t make it better, or cheaper. Much as i love to cook, I  learned that after putting up jars of applesauce. It as good…but it took a long time, and once I added the cost of the canning supplies, it wasn’t a huge bargain.Oh…and keep your eye peeled…restaurants are now offering cooking classes, where you can watch them prepare a special dish. They are sneaky…keep your eyes open, because they don’t give recipes…but if your write down what they use, you can usually duplicate it with little trouble.  My current fave is pan seared salmon with mango chutney and lemon cream citrus reduction…if you come up with a dish like that you are setting the bar high. Good luck!And last…never date anyone who doesn’t cook at least as well as you do….

  2. Nous_Apeiron says:

    @galadrial – Good tips.  Thanks!   I will try to find some coconut oil this weekend and give that a try.  I just ran out, so this is perfect timing! 

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