Cooking With Luke – Disaster Recovery

Weekends are my favorite time of the week.  Because I’m off work?  Sure.  But also because I can pretty much plan to cook some serious food.  I have all day, for TWO DAYS.  It’s really quite amazing.  Plus, I’ve offered Adam a deal that if I bring him lunch every day he has to write a blog every day…so there’s some added pressure here.

Sunday evening, I was cooking my last meal of the weekend.  I had pre-cooked some chicken earlier in the day so I was making a buffalo chicken rice casserole to end my weekend on a high note.  If you know me (and my other blogs), I love a.) chicken and b.) buffalo (sauce). 

I was on dad duty as Tara was in the shower and I was tasked with feeding the little(r) one and possible the bigger one, and possibly the entire family because I’m superman.  So I threw some chicken nuggets in the microwave (recipe coming later), and started a pot of brewing water to put some rice in.  In the meantime, the littlest baby began crying.  I hear a beer open from the bathroom and I wonder if Tara is showering or locking herself in a room binge drinking.  I continue on.  I get everything into the pan and toss the rice in.  I lower the heat, cover it, and we’re good.  I grab the bottle, chicken nuggets are on the table and everyone is happy, right?  Sort of.

About half way through the feeding, I get warm and uncomfortable and I know my rice needs checked on.  I yell for Tara.  No answer.  I can’t scream because I’m feeding an infant and I don’t want that to go south.  I try to bargain with Hux.  “Hey buddy – can you go tell Momma I need help?” Mmmhmm, he shakes his head yes and I intently listen to see if he asks for the right thing.  He doesn’t.  I grow hotter as I can see smoke rising up from the pan.  Fuck, this isn’t good.  I check the clock, check the bottle, check the baby.  I’m not going to make it.  “Tara,” I yell again – just as she comes around the corner asking what I’m burning.  “Yeah, honey, could you um put the fire out on the stove, please?”

Okay, long story short the rice is absolutely caked to the bottom of this pan.  The house smells like burnt popcorn and this is a trainwreck.  How can I recover?  I mean I can start over but this recipe called for 4 cups of chicken broth.  That shit doesn’t grow on trees.  I get up and survey the damage.  There’s a portion that’s salvageable.  But the recipe wasn’t done.  I was to add the chicken in, stir it up, let it cook, and then add cheese.  Fuck it.  When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  When life lets you burn the piss out of a pan of rice, you take what rice you can salvage and you make dinner for your family because damnit you’re superman.

I scraped the good rice into a container.  I heated the leftover chicken up in the microwave and I threw enough cheese to cover any burnt taste into the bowl and mixed it all together.  The weird thing was the rice wasn’t hot enough to melt the cheese as it was still supposed to be on the stove so I have a mixture of food that I’ve thrown together not sure what the hell it tastes like.  I grab a plate and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t just as delicious as I pictured.  Sure, I took the long, hard road – but my meal was just as satisfying as if I hadn’t almost burnt the house down.  The right amount of flavor, the right amount of food, and just a few black specs of burnt rice.  It was a success.  I mean, it was a fucking trainwreck, but I made it a success.  Started from the bottom now I’m here.  But for real, why wouldn’t I have a cooking show?  How many cooking shows have you watched where the cook just burns the shit out of his/her meal and then MAKES IT WORK.  I’m making miracles happen here, folks.  Someone get Food Network to sponsor my ass!  Cooking With Luke coming Spring 2019.

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