I started cooking again today

I really enjoy cooking, but I haven’t really done any of it for the past month or two. Tonight I decided to give it a go. I’m pleased with how well it turned out, so now I get to go on the internet and brag a little bit. I apologize for the poor quality pictures though. I know that there are at least one or two people who read this and also know something about photography, so my junky cell phone pics might be a bit painful. Just avert your eyes if you have to.

I decided to roast a chicken for the main part of the meal. If you’ve never done it, it’s really sim…I mean it’s hard. Very, very hard. You should all be impressed. I used a recipe by Marcella Hazan–“roast chicken with two lemons.” (As a side note, if you don’t have her cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, you really should pick it up. There are tons of easy recipes that taste amazing.)

So for the first two junky pictures, here’s what the finished product looked like, even after some minor screw-ups:

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Yes, R is wearing a life jacket. No, I don’t know why.

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Here is a shot of just the chicken. One of the lemons popped out, so it kind of looks like it laid an egg.

I made some mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and I set out some plums to go with everything. It was a nice meal. For dessert I made a banana pudding. It’s actually a pretty good dessert to make with kids, because you have to layer the Vanilla Wafers and bananas, which kids can totally do.

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It’s a little hard to see, but it’s topped with meringue, not like marshmallows or some other disgusting thing.

I’m also happy about the fact that I have a medium sized container of leftover chicken in the fridge which I can use for another meal (Mexican, fried rice, chicken salad sandwiches, etc.) In addition to that, I have a pot boiling down the bones and some vegetables to make a stock for a soup or something later in the week.

I know that I’m being super vain, which is probably annoying. Sorry. I feel like I only recently discovered that this was a thing that you could actually do, and I’m super excited about getting at least three meals from one chicken. I think it’s one of those skills that has somewhat died out with modern convenience food, but it’s seriously not that difficult. You should all try it out. If you do, let me know how it goes.

The Food Tour of Western NY and Pennsylvania

Valley Inn SoupWe’re on this road trip which will end up in Utah, however we started out heading northeast instead of west. We’ve claimed that we’re going so that we can visit some of the church history sites in the area. While this is technically true, it’s not the whole story. A big part of our motivation was to visit some of our favorite restaurants in the area.

The first important stop was the Valley Inn in Warsaw, NY. I served in Warsaw on my mission, and a few people took us out to lunch there. I have remembered it forever after that, and have gone back several times. The food is amazing. It’s a gourmet restaurant for olive garden prices.

The next stop was La Nova Pizzeria. The pizza is okay, but I love their wings. They make these barbecue wings that are seriously the best barbecue I’ve ever had. Not just the best barbecue wings, but the best barbecue anything. They’re spicy, with a really nice charred taste. It’s a complex flavor that keeps changing as you eat each bite.

The final important food stop was Wegmans. Yes, it’s technically a grocery store, but it is seriously the best place in the world. I love Wegmans. Calling Wegmans a grocery store is like calling Michelangelo a guy who painted some murals. It’s technically true, but at some point the description falls short. Wegmans is the happiest place on earth. One of the awesome things at Wegmans is the sandwich shop. It’s ten times better than Subway. The bread is better, the meat and cheese are better, the whole experience is better.

Now that we’ve gone to all these places, we’re heading back to Utah, but if any of you are in the area, it’s worth stopping by any or all of these.