So you know those very brief videos they show on Facebook? It doesn’t even have to be about food–sometimes it’s a DIY instructional video–but they show a person’s hands adding ingredients and they show what that ingredient is and how much to put in. Plus, it’s sped up for the sake of time, so they last up to a minute. If you’ve been online, chances are you’ve seen something like it.
This is the second meal I’ve made the day I’ve seen one of those videos. The first one was the Bacon, Egg, and Rice Dish by Buzzfeed. (I could have made something else too, but if there was, it has obviously escaped me.)
While scrolling through Facebook this morning, I found one of those short videos making food. As I watched, I thought, Okay, should be easy. It’s called Firecracker Chicken and the page Delish posted it. If you take the time to watch it yourself, you can see how simple it looks. I mean, it really was simple to make. Nothing went wrong. In fact, both my parents said to keep this recipe. Actually, the first thing my dad said was, “It’s not bad.” Mom was the one who told me to keep the recipe.
Here’s what it looked like in the end: My biggest surprise was how much buffalo sauce is involved, but I think that’s less about the sauce and more because of what I substituted it with. I saw that buffalo sauce was basically hot sauce (at the store), so I used the rest of one of our hot sauces.
Which reminds me, quick tip: if you don’t know what an ingredient looks like, look it up before the trip to the store. The only ingredient I needed was buffalo sauce and I had no idea what that was and neither did my mom, which is why she said we didn’t have it. (And I know she didn’t know because she would look over the list of ingredients and tell me what substitutions to use, especially if we already had it.) In order to make the trip useful however, I bought a bottle of pink lemonade, some foil cupcake cups (which my mom asked me to buy), and a cooking magazine whose issue was the food on the show Modern Family. I’ve only seen one episode of that show, but I figured, hey, if I get into it, then I’ll have the magazine if I want to find a recipe. (Not that I don’t like the show, it’s just one of those series you don’t get into easily. For me, at least. I know it’s still a popular show.)
It took around three rounds of the full skillet to complete frying the chicken, because there was so much (I used three breasts, instead of two). Also, I cut them into smaller pieces than I should have, I’m sure. I also drowned a bunch of them at a time in the egg and sort of let them sit like that until the first batch was done frying. I’m not sure if that could’ve altered the taste, but I’m sure that’s not how the chef wanted it to go.
While coating it with cornstarch, however, I was wondering if flour would’ve just been enough. I think I’ll try that next time, just as a test, but maybe that’s more something I should research in the culinary science textbook my parents got me from Costco: “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji Lopez, which I’m actually proud to have heard about before they bought it. I was scrolling through cookbooks on the iBooks Store and there it was. Almost bought it, too, but too expensive.
Toward the end, timing was cut down and I figured it was safe because of how small the pieces were. Dad was getting impatient, so I figured I could just bake it for 30 minutes total instead of 35 to 45 minutes.
Whatever decisions I made during this process made the dish decent enough to try again. And by “try again”, I mean to enjoy again, not attempt for a second time because the first was so bad. (Coughs) Grilled cheese.
I think those are the important points. I’ve started using the measuring cups again, but there’s still guesswork with the salt and pepper. Oil is also guesswork, since I’m using one or two turns of it in the skillet and have no clue how much that is in cups.
Oh, by the way, huge update on my culinary education, which means this is actually happening. I haven’t paid tuition yet so it’s not 100% official, but I registered for classes. I actually did it during my initial registration process, but it’s weird as opposed to when I went to college in Michigan. For this school, you have to sign up for the first half of the term AND the second half. I thought it was just the first half, so I signed up for the introductory courses I could, thinking the second half meant the second term. I didn’t know when I could go back online and finish registering as soon as I found out that we had to sign up for both sets of classes, but I went on a few days ago and finished it. I’m just glad it came through and I wasn’t too late, since classes start on the 22nd. They showed me the bill, which we’ll pay sometime in the next few days and I got my first email from a professor about what to buy in preparation for the class!
I would need a textbook and my own chef’s uniform, both of which could be found at the store. I would’ve gotten these probably today if I were still at the small college in Michigan because the campus was so small you could go from one end to the other in less than ten minutes. My driving is so iffy that I’m just going to procrastinate a little bit on that. I know I may have to pay a price in that the store will run out, but I’m a professional procrastinator. It’s a risk I am willing to take.
For the first half, I am going to take Professional Cooking Basics, Sanitation & Safety, Culinary Arts Survey, and Knife Skills. Second half will consist of Professional Meat & Sauce Preparation, and Introduction to Baking & Pastry. A lot of these classes are a FEW HOURS long, which I’m not really a big fan of, but as someone who wants to take this seriously, I don’t want that to get in the way. I mean, you’re supposed to enjoy what you want to do in life. What’s that saying? “If you enjoy your work, then you’ll never work a day in your life”? For me, cooking is fun, so those few hours will just fly by like choir used to for me in high school or theatre rehearsal in college.
Speaking of Intro to Baking though, funny story: apparently there’s a local bakery and I noticed the name of it matched my professor’s name as I was filling out my calendar (I put my professors’ names in the Notes section of the event). What my parents got from the bakery was the Beehive Cake, which looks a bit like this (I know it’s not too clear, but that’s the only image of that cake that I found online):
The first thing I said was, “It’s like a cream hamburger.” Ever since I mentioned that my soon-to-be baking professor owned a bakery they enjoyed going to so much, my parents were wondering if I would be taught how to make that particular cake. Obviously, I won’t know that for sure until I take it, but it shouldn’t be too hard once I see a recipe. I’m sure I could just ask for it, or maybe they’ll give me a cookbook of what they serve at the bakery.
I think part of the bakery concentration is working at that bakery because when my parents went there, the cashier had on a shirt with the college logo on it. Considering how much effort it takes to fill up a credit, I think it’s a requirement, but maybe that student just works there. Being a recent college student, I’m thinking it’s the former.
My personal focus is on Italian cuisine and/or baking. While Italian seems really fancy, I just think that baking is cute, but really hard, because it has to be so precise. I mean, you’ve probably seen the cakes I made: Red Velvet Birthday Cake and cheesecake. They tasted good, but looked sloppy.
Well, I think that’s about it! I mentioned all the stuff I forgot yesterday. I think I got to all the points with the Firecracker Chicken. So…
Break eggs, foodies!