I'm so damn proud of myself. Broccoli and chicken stir-fry, check!
Since it was giving some kind of wind/rain/lightning/apocalypse storm this afternoon, I decided to start cooking school today. Chris and I went shopping for our wedding bands this morning in Park Slope and ate a ginormous brunch afterwards at Moutarde (hellooooo banana pancakes!), so we weren't too hungry. I knew I had a few hours before dinner and it's a good thing I did... cooking school takes time!
I did two lessons today: Poultry Fundamentals and Pan Frying. Along the way, I learned some good fun facts. Here are my top three:
- The darker the poultry meat, the more it means the animal used those muscles! Chickens don't fly (hence the white breast meat), but they run around quite a bit (hence the dark thigh meat). Pheasants and quails and ducks have darker breast meat because they take to the sky more often. Cool!
- When you start cooking meat in a frying pan and it sticks to the pan despite the oil you're using, it means the pan wasn't hot enough when you started.
- You should always defrost poultry by putting it in the fridge. Leaving it at room temperature to thaw is a no-go.
So the way Rouxbe works is that there are currently 72 lessons to get through. I did Pan Frying and Poultry Fundamentals today because they seemed like decent places to start. I have pans. And sometimes I have poultry. Check! Some of the other lessons I'm looking forward to doing soon are How to Cook Premium Steaks, Cooking Fish Fundamentals, Cooking Vegetables in Water and Stages of Bread Making. Although seeing as how the only part of our meal that failed tonight was the rice, I better get to Rice Basics sooner rather than later.
I braved the wicked weather and did our grocery shopping, making sure to get the random stuff I needed for tonight's stir-fry. I found oyster sauce and sambal oelek (I know, what the.) at our local veggie store where they have a ton of Asian sauces. It made a huge difference- in the taste and in my confidence- to not be lazy and piece together substitutions in this recipe.
Cooking dinner tonight was also a different experience because I got everything ready before I started cooking a thing. This is called "mise en place," and it was a huge help. Here are all of my little bowls of prepared ingredients, ready for me to work my cooking magic:
From there, I followed the recipe, watching the videos again as I went along to make sure that my stuff was looking like the video chef's. I enlisted Chris to take some pix as the drama unfolded and now we have a cute little Flickr set of our first Rouxbe meal.
Even though it took a while to get this dinner cooked tonight, it's a very simple recipe and I'm optimistic that I could get a pretty good handle on it if I repeat it a few times. My goal is to have a core set of recipes that are so second nature to me that, no matter how tired I am when I get home, I'm not bothered to throw them together and have a good meal. This recipe could definitely be one of them.
More pix here.
P.S. So it looks like you guys can totally access the recipes on Rouxbe, just not the video lessons if you're not a student. I'll be sure to link to whatever I write about here in case you want to try it yourselves. Here's Easy Broccoli and Chicken Stir-fry... go nuts.