Jake claims that I’m a terrible cook. If anyone else were to make such a statement, I’d have to pick up a fork, but Jake enjoys a considerable degree of latitude when it comes to reducing my self-esteem to dust, ashes, and other such lifeless substances.
After all, he has known me for a very long time, has seen me in various degrees of dishevelment and has I must admit choked down more than a few of my less-successful efforts at the stove. Though to avoid argument I acquiesce to his damnation of my kitchen skills, I’m here to tell you the statement is just not true.
Admittedly, Jake’s a good cook (see? I can be charitable!), and at any given time he’s in the kitchen, I’m comfortable with banging away at the keyboard and watching what he calls “black-and-white snoozers” on TCM. And I’m happy as a clam there. But once Jake begins cooking, I have to drop everything about every five minutes for consultations. Unless it’s something he’s cooked for a long time (a limited number of dishes, granted), he trots back and forth to where I’m sitting with a steady stream of questions.
“How much of (insert name of a spice or seasoning) should I use?” “Is it okay if I just use water to poach these meatballs?” “Do I have to use this ground beef? It smells weird” (everything smalls weird to Jake; he’s also colorblind.) “How thick should I slice these mushrooms?” “Where in the hell did you put the (insert name of kitchen commodity)?” Such intense grilling inevitably ends with, “Would you come look at this? I want to see if I did it right.” The results are always beautiful. Of course.
For baked chicken breasts, wash and pat dry split whole breasts of chicken. Brush with light vegetable oil infused with granulated garlic, dried minced onions, rubbed sage, black pepper and salt in a roughly 2:2:1:1:1 ratio. Arrange loosely on a baking sheet or in a large skillet and bake at 350) until the skin is crisp and juices run clear.