Thursday, July 14, 2011

Improv Cooking

When I first started cooking for myself (which was about 3rd year of college, yes it took that long for me to cook), I was obsessive about following recipes. Like really OCD about it. 1/4 teaspoon of salt meant ONE-FOURTH TEASPOON OF SALT AND NOT A SINGLE GRAIN MORE OR ELSE THE FOOD WILL TASTE HORRIBLE AND I'M GOING TO DIE OF SODIUM POISONING. 68 measuring utensils and 24 bowls later, I had a meal. Don't get me wrong, it always tasted good (if I do say so myself), but my kitchen inevitably looked like a tornado/hurricane/flood/blizzard/earthquake/all of the above wrecked havoc in it every single time.

Lately I started getting really lazy about cooking (okay, I'll be honest: I just hate washing all those dishes) and started just eyeballing things and improv cooking, which involved kind of throwing together anything I felt like. Which sometimes works okay, but sometimes makes things taste like...a lump of something that was edible but usually flavorless because I am apparently always conservative with the salt.

Until this BBQ chicken pizza two days ago that I put together with some leftover BBQ pulled chicken.

I guess it's hard to mess up pizza. But I consider this pizza to be a personal improv cooking success, because it looked good and tasted good. I even made the crust! Okay, I did follow a recipe for the crust pretty carefully from here, but that was because I didn't want anything horrible to go wrong and end up with BBQ chicken on top of cardboard. Also it only required like, 2 utensils and one bowl. Maybe 3 utensils.

But the dough was good! Look! It even got bigger after 10 minutes!

(Before and after. If anyone out there knows how I can caption these pictures and still keep them in one line instead of stacked on top of each other, please let me know, because I just spent about 45 minutes failing to do so.)

The crust went on a cookie sheet for a rectangular pizza because I don't have a pizza pan.

Dough with BBQ sauce! :)

And leftover BBQ pulled chicken! :) :)

And an entire bag of mozzarella, per Nick's request! :) :) :)
And then I baked it. And it was beautiful.

:) :) :) :)
I think Bailey realized how good it was, because as soon as we started eating it, she started rolling around trying to get our attention.

So I gave her a slice.

Not really. But I did let her lick some BBQ sauce off my fingers, which she REALLY enjoyed.

She proceeded to sit in her chair and look grumpy before passing out afterwards.

And now there's no more pizza left. :-(

I did also make giant (really giant) rainbow cookies yesterday from How Sweet It Is here (apparently I'm slowly cooking through the recipes on this website). This doesn't really have anything to do with improv cooking (except that I subbed chocolate chips for the M&Ms so I can't really call them rainbow cookies, alert the media). But the cookies were delicious and Nick and I are already almost halfway through with them.

In our defense, there were only 12 cookies total. So really if you think about it that way, eating almost half a batch isn't awful.

And no, Bailey did not get any cookies or licks of cookie dough, because there was this one time I let her lick a drop of melted ice cream off my finger and I guess the sugar made her go absolutely nutty for a few hours. She would not stop sprinting. I will not make that mistake again.

So clearly I should just become a chef now. Maybe a chef who makes food at home and people can come and pick up the food they ordered. Because then I could work from home...which means I could get a puppy, since I'll be home all the time...uh oh. Here we go again.


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