Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Night Dinner

I love the Food Network. I do. I love to watch Ina and Giada and all my faves make delicious and seemingly easy meals, and I say to myself, "I can do that!!"

More often than not, though, when I try to recreate their masterpieces, it goes, well, bit rockier than I anticipate.

Case in point: "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef"'s Anne Burrell's Halibut in Cartoccio.

One lazy Saturday, I sat on the futon and watched Anne fold up parchment paper around a mouthwatering filet of halibut on a bed of beautifully julienned vegetables. She poured a bit of white wine into the little creation wrapped up in the paper. It looked like such a special and fancy treat as she put it into the oven, telling us, her viewers hanging on her every word, how lovely it would be when you took it out and unwrapped the paper for a "wow" moment of escaping steam and fish cooked to perfection. How hard could it really be, right?


Since that episode, I've been waiting until a humid summer night to attempt the dish. I am a big fan of heavy food (I don't like being hungry), so for something as light as fish and vegetables, I like to wait until it's so hot outside that I can't bear the thought of lasagna or steak.

So Saturday night, I decided it was time. I told my husband not to snack, because the recipe said the fish only cooked for 8-9 minutes, so I just had to spend a few minutes prepping, and we would be good to go.

Two hours later, his stares were throwing daggers my way.

It all started with the julienn-ing. I know what a julienned vegetable is supposed to look like--long and skinny like matchstick potatoes. I get it. But there HAS to be an easy way to do it. I remembered seeing Ina, the authority for me on useful kitchen gadgets (she has a measurable pepper grinder!!), use her Cuisinart chopper with an attachment that I had that I never used. So I dug through my pantry and found the attachment, only to find that it had been put away slightly dirty and had a bit of rust starting. Genius that I am, I decided I could pick the rust off the blade with my thumb nail. Well, we all know what happened next.

Here I am trying to stop the bleeding.

After searching online for the owner's manual, which I couldn't find in the kitchen, I set up the attachment and got going--only to find that it chopped my zucchini, not julienned.

Finally I gave up and decided to julienne the old-fashioned way, with a knife. Which took FOREVER. Notice the alcoholic beverage and wrapped up thumb.

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