14 June 2009

Chicken Saltimbocca with Gnocchi & Green Beans

Congratulations to me on my first ever grease fire! Yay. My reaction went as follows:

1. Stare at it for a couple seconds wishing it would go away.

2. Think back to Sesame Street where I probably first learned that you should throw a towel on a grease fire to put it out, and under no circumstances use water.

3. Consider, even still, the incongruity of putting a towel onto a fire.

4. Blow feebly on the fire: nope, not a good idea.

5. Give in, and throw one of my nice new dish towels onto the fire, being careful to cover the pan completely. (In retrospect, I should have dampened the towel first.)

Seconds later I lifted it up to check on it -- this set it on fire again, so I had to recover it. Then I just stood there and waited for a while until it died out completely. It's somehow comforting to know that in times of adversity my mind instantly defaults to Sesame Street skits. Life lessons learned from muppets live on somewhere in there, and continue to be relevant.

Anyway. Fire aside, my first attempt at Chicken Saltimbocca with Gnocchi and Green Beans went o-kay. The Chicken Saltimbocca turned out great, though the gravy, looking a bit overly charcoaly coming from my cast iron skillet, was suspect.

Other problems:

• I didn't have enough pans or arms. In class there were three of us working three pans (the beans, the gnocchi and the chicken). Of course this can be choreographed to work with just one person in charge, but not when you only have one pan to work with (due to having set the other one on fire).

• I made the gnocchis a bit too big, and the dough was a bit too wet. So I wasn't able to shape the gnocchis Godfather III-style. They kept sticking to the counter.

• I didn't sautée the gnocchis in a Teflon pan as my instructor suggests, because I don't own one. Therefore I ended up with a thin layer of gnocchi dough on the bottom of the skillet.

• Because of the one pan thing, by the time the chicken was ready to serve, the gnocchi and beans were cold.

Chicken Saltimbocca, by the way, is extremely salty, as the name suggests. I don't think it can be fully enjoyed without the accompaniment of a glass of beer.

It was quite the day of cooking. I also made another batch of pizzettes this morning for lunch, which brings me to my next post . . .

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