In the world of culinary efforts, there are winners and losers.
Tonight, we lost.
It seemed simple enough. I could plop everything in there, let it bubble away while I got through my workday, then slide a tray of chicken parts into the oven at the appropriate time, heat a vegetable, cut up a salad, and voila! A nourishing, tasty dinner on the one night this week we’ll all be able to sit down together.
I was confident.
Oh sure, there have been some kitchen mishaps in our past — forgetting to wash the spinach so that a rolled chicken breast dish had a little extra chew; mis-measuring baking ingredients; using frozen blueberries that sank to the bottom of the quick bread, leaving it a soggy, awful mess; setting a chicken afire on the grill (this was Basil), the flames shooting so high he needed a pitchfork to remove it to the safety of an adjacent snow bank (where it continued to burn the entire time it took the Chinese delivery to reach us).
But those days are past us now. I am no amazing chef, but I can hold my own.
I found a slow-cooker risotto recipe (not sharing it here; I love you all too much) that sounded pretty good. It called for some onion, white wine, a little cheese — and five cloves of garlic. I cut that back to two small cloves, figuring two would be enough, but didn’t count on how things cook differently in the Crock-Pot.
Suffice it to say that even two cloves was a LOT of garlic. A ton of garlic. Too much freakin’ garlic. (And having been raised on Sunday gravy and meatballs and other great Italian food, I never complain about garlic.)
Catherine wouldn’t touch it.
Basil gave it a loooooong sniff test and shot me a real stink eye.
And although he will generally eat anything with a plate under it — even the meatballs my mother once accidentally microwaved to hockey-pock consistency — he ate exactly one fork full of the risotto.
I’m surprised the fork held up, actually.
The leftovers are now in the trash; it seemed the most humane tack.
Still, I think the rice now joins the burning chicken and other Vanech kitchen lore.
Advance apologies to our co-workers, the women I will teach at the Jazzercise Center of Southwestern Connecticut and anyone else we come in contact with tomorrow.
You can at least take solace knowing that as long as you are within 100 feet of us, no vampire will bother you.