As a left brainer, I prefer step-by-step recipe instructions. There is no improvising in our kitchen. Improvising requires judgment and I have none.
So, even in the face of a parade of red flags, I am married to those instructions. I have faith in the vast knowledge of a recipe writer – a far more knowledgeable source than I.
I recently took on a little ditty titled: “Pan-Seared Chicken with Merlot Raspberry Sauce.” Doesn’t it sound fantastic?
The first red flag was raised when the sauce took shape. The recipe called for a large amount of Merlot and a minimal time period in which to cook – Hmmm. Not nearly enough time to reduce, thought the amateur cook, but cede always to the recipe gurus.
The chicken was soon lost under a sea of boiling red wine. It was retrieved, hesitantly, in a sad, sad state. It was not slightly purple. Not of a purple hue. It was simply and undeniably purple.
Pardon the poor photo – the evidence was seized on an iPhone by a conspirator who shall remain nameless…
Cue Bridget Jones Diary and the purple soup. “To Bridget, just as she is,” the friends toasted. And Doug followed suit. He ate every last bite, including mine. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
“How on earth did you make the chicken purple?” Mama Judd berated. “More importantly, why didn’t you call me?” I was following the steps, Mom. I can’t do it your way – all willy nilly.
Much education on reducing ensued, none of which I’ve retained for future use. The only lesson I’ve taken away is to avoid recipes with so much red wine. They can’t be trusted.
A friend issued the same scolding : “Did the recipe call for hair dye? Did you put the chicken in the washer with a purple shirt?”
No. And consider any and all future dinner invitations revoked.
Any readers with brightly-colored dinner disasters? Don’t you think “The Purple Chicken Incident” would make an awesome band name?