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My Italian roots let me down

I would be lying if I said I was anywhere near the perfect cook I wish I was. I haven’t been to culinary school and I’ve never really learned techniques. I’ve had one semester of a healthy cooking and fitness class in Middle School and that was it. But for the most part…I am a decent cook and more often than not, the recipes I work on are successful. Which tells you what…last night’s dinner was not successful…at least in my opinion.

I have the tendency to get easily stressed and anxious. I can multi-task…but I’m  not so good at it when I’m doing stuff I don’t always do. And I really feel that it wouldn’t be fair to anyone if I only wrote about my successes in the kitchen. I have failures too; like last night’s Chicken Piccata.

Chicken Piccata is one of my favorite dishes. It is the only thing I will order when I go to Pastini ( a charming little Italian Restaurant) . Which is also the only place I’ve ever really found that serves that dish. What I love about it, is that it’s light, the flavors aren’t overpowering, and it’s filling without making you feel like you’ve gorged yourself. I’ve been looking for a recipe for awhile now and I finally found one at and after reading the recipe probably a dozen times, I figured it looked simple enough…I can do this. WRONG!

As I look back on last night now…I can see several things that were pointing in the direction of a complete meltdown. About 35minutes before I was to start dinner…I got a horrible headache. It was a throbbing aching one at the very top of my forehead right where the hairline is. When I went to fetch the capers from my cupboard, I quickly scanned over the jar and I read it was immersed in Vinegar… but the capers needed to soak in water for 20 minutes…well I don’t know if this had anything to do with it, but the jar expired in 2008, oops! And as far as prep work for the chicken and cooking it went, I was doing great. I sliced my chicken breast into cutlets perfectly. I pounded the meat to perfection without making any tears or holes. And it cooked up nicely. But around the time the last piece of chicken was done…the kids started to get ansty. Let me clarify for a moment right here, I had requested to make this dish with Josh when he got home…and he said that was fine…but I could tell from his tone that he was really tired so I went ahead with the meal on my own. Grace started asking me a ton of questions, Eden was roaming around yelling at everything (it’s actually quite cute…it’s not an angry yell, very playful) and I was trying to talk to Grace, while keeping an eye on the chicken, and dash over the baby gate that separates the kitchen from the living room so I could look at the recipe on the computer.  (Normally I have the recipe printed out, but for whatever reason, the computer has decided that for the last 6-9 months it has an attitude problem and refuses to print.)

Needless to say, I could feel myself starting to feel overwhelmed very quickly. I was trying to make a lovely Italian meal for my family. Normally Italian dishes come naturally to me, but tonight it wasn’t going to happen. When it came time to make the Piccata Sauce, the pan was to hot and I had forgot to turn it down so when I first tried to pour the dry white wine into the pan, it screamed and bubbled till it practically evaporated and when I finally did get everything in there….then my pan made a huge POP sound and the liquid jumped right out of the pan all over the floor…which I then had to clean up while also trying to reduce a  sauce and add more ingredients too. I wanted to make the meal like the one I get at Pastini. So I had cooked up some Linguine noodles and I thought that if I doubled the sauce it would be enough to lightly coat the noodles. Wrong again. Around that time, Josh got home and he needed to change, etc. By the time he got back out…dinner was ready…if you want to call it that. The chicken was no longer hot ( my foil trick refused to work with me) the sauce was overcooked and there was nothing there but capers, ( that tasted horribly of vinegar, still) The noodles were dry. The only thing that turned out good was the corn I had prepared and the rustic bread that had a little butter on it.

We sat down and I took a bite and I could tell instantly that even the chicken that was cooked to perfection, it had waited to long to be eaten. I didn’t even eat the noodles. Grace, was none the wiser. She loved it and cleaned her plate, God bless her. Josh was telling me it wasn’t bad and I did good and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  Eden ate the corn and bread.  I was so mad at myself and disappointed that I worked myself into a grumpy little frenzy and not even adorable little Eden who was sitting in my lap could make me smile.  When dinner was over, Josh got Eden in the tub. I think he knew that I needed time to myself, so that I could calm myself down and I did the dishes…which actually helped. As I scrubbed away the mess I had made…I felt better. I was scrubbing away a meal that didn’t turn out perfectly…maybe it could of if it the circumstances had been different. But by the time the kitchen was clean…I was in a better mood. Only tired, by then. The kids went to bed shortly after that. We let them stay up so Eden could finish her milk and Grace wanted to watch Josh on the Wii Fit. But when the kids went to bed, Josh ran across the street to grab me a Frosty from Wendy’s and you know what…I was in a much better mood then :)

I had taken pics to go along with this post. But I don’t really feel the need to show what it’s not supposed to look like. You know what I mean? So better luck next time right? I will try the recipe again someday. But for now…I think I will stick to going to a restaurant for my Piccata.


Saturday 3rd of April 2010

So it goes. I love it when people post about their mistakes. We can ALL relate. :)