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‘Flour’ Power

As some of you already know, over the past year I decided to try and learn ‘How To Cook’. You know, like with a stove, and an oven, and recipes, and ingredients. In fact, I have even surprised myself on several occasions.

Do any of you remember when I made these fabulous Lemon Chickens? And how they came out of the oven so unbelievably, perfectly, delicious!

my-lemon-chicken

And,

Does anyone remember the time I miraculously created these totally super amazing Sesame Encrusted Tuna Steaks placed lovingly over Risotto?

tuna-steaks

Yeah?

Well, this story doesn’t exactly have a happy ending.

Nope.

This story is about a girl [namely me] who had NO BUSINESS trying a new recipe and who should NEVER defer away from the specific directions.

I will have you know that even before I got in-touch with my ‘Inner Italian’ and stopped fearing the kitchen, my one specialty has always been Pork Chops with my homemade Mashed Potatoes [from scratch]. And quite frankly, I should have stayed inside my wheelhouse a couple of weeks ago.

But, instead?

I attempted to expand my horizons, and put my culinary skillz through a painful and unnecessary test.

And that?

Was only the first of many mistakes I would make that evening.

Before I go any further, I must preface this post by acknowledging the fact that I severely underestimated the Power of Flour. I’m not sure if any of you have ever experienced the power flour truly possesses, but, after what I went through? I think unbleached flour could be quite useful in the field of construction.

Now let me explain why….

A few weeks ago I decided to cook ‘The First Meal’ I would ever cook for my boyfriend and I wanted it to be a memorable experience. I wanted to make some thing extra special.

Inspired, I chose to make ‘Chicken Roll-Ups’ a seemingly easy recipe that promised to deliver greatness to one’s pallet. [Trust me when I say, if cooked properly Chicken Roll-Ups taste much better than they sound.]

Overly excited, I got right down to business. I placed parchment paper on the counter and covered it with flour, just like I was supposed to do. I took thin slices of chicken breasts out of the package, washed them, and drizzled them with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, just like I was supposed to do.

Then, I proceeded to ‘lightly dust’ each side of the chicken with flour. [And by ‘lightly dust’ I mean: completely smother] just like I THOUGHT I was supposed to do.

After the chicken was prepped, I placed each slice flat on the counter stuffing them with what could have been a delectable explosion of flavor.

Lovingly, I placed a few slices of Provolone Cheese and Prosciutto bought from my local famous A&S Italian deli. [Side bar: A&S really IS the greatest Italian Deli possibly In The World. Yanno, outside of Italy.] Then, I sliced fresh cut Asparagus into perfect slivers before placing all of the ingredients into the middle of each chicken breast. I gently rolled them up, used a toothpick to hold them together, and then I sprinkled a dash of breadcrumbs on top.

Honestly, they looked amazing.

[You are just going to have to use your imagination here people because sadly, I did not take a photo.]

The last thing I had to do was make a light sauce to cover the stuffed cutlets and bake them in the oven.

I took one can of Campbell’s Chicken Broth, mixed it with equal parts of only the best White Wine for cooking [and relaxing], and cut up fresh Lemon slices without getting any pulp into my eyeballs! I also peppered in a ‘splash’ of flour in the mixture to thicken the sauce. [And by ‘splash’- I mean: large heaping spoonfuls] just like I THOUGHT I was supposed to do.

mommys-time-out-the-perfect-cooking-wine

I prematurely patted myself on the back as I slid the glass-baking dish into the pre-heated oven. I busied myself preparing Wild Rice and steaming Sweet Peas while my son JCH and Sonny shared laughs watching Television together.

Twenty minutes later my house filled with a warm and inviting aroma.

And it smelled delicious.

But then?

Everything went downhill.

When I opened the oven to check on dinner, I noticed the chicken breasts still seemed awfully white. And, I am pretty sure chicken is never supposed to be that color.

Nonetheless, after I saw the provolone oozing out of the sides of the chicken two thoughts ran through my head.

1. The chicken was an odd shade of white due to the melted cheese and there was nothing to be concerned about.

OR,

2. Maybe the temperature on the oven was too low, and all I needed to do was turn the heat up.

Little did I know heat and/or cheese had nothing to do with coloring of the chicken. And, little did I know the coloring of the chicken was the least of my problems.

Another fifteen minutes went by and it was time to take the chicken out of the oven. But something was still very wrong.

Much to my dismay, not only was the chicken still a funky shade, the sauce it had been roasting in was a lot LESS like a sauce, and a lot MORE like raw concrete.

Yeah.

Um.

Apparently, excessive amounts of unbleached flour convert into Sumo Gorilla Glue, especially when exposed to heat. And if you try to stir the mixture? That will only make matters worse. I witnessed my ‘light sauce’ spontaneously turn into mortar right before my eyes.

Horrified, I stood over the baking dish blinking my eyes in rapid succession AS IF that would change the appearance of my meal. I was hoping maybe my dinner only LOOKED terrible.

But I was wrong.

And then I prayed to the cooking gods for some kind of miracle.

[Which of course failed.]

Honestly, I have no explanation for what I did next.

I went ahead and plated the food.

And served it to the people I love.

Yep.

Full well knowing I no longer had an edible meal that would be pleasurable to anyone’s pallet. Seriously, it was ‘gravely disgusting’.

Now, I don’t know if Sonny really loves me, or, if he is out of his mind, or, if he simply lacks taste buds all together, or, if he was just STARVING, but I will never figure out HOW or WHAT possessed him to clean his plate! And he even went back for seconds.

On the other hand, my grandfather, Poppa Sye, kind man that he is, tried one bite, and then another – before ever so politely eating the rice and peas SURROUNDING the chicken.

My thirteen-year old son JCH, took one bite, spit it out, left the table and went to the kitchen to make himself a bowl of cereal.

By time we finished at the table [which could not have been more than ten minutes] we returned to the kitchen [henceforth referred to as ‘The Crime Scene’] only to discover something even more repulsive.

The sauce left in the baking dish, along with the leftover vile chicken, had thickened so much you could have Cut It With A Knife. And I’m pretty sure that’s NOT a good thing.

In fact it’s safe to say the 1st dinner I ever cooked for ‘The Love Of My Life’ was nothing short of an Epic Failure!

I did the Walk Of Shame for a week after that!

On a good note?

I think I may have inadvertently discovered a CURE for Crohn’s Disease. Um. I had NO IDEA flour could have such a ‘binding’ effect on one’s intestinal track. Needless to say, no one has been to the bathroom since I last cooked.

PS:
Did you know that a really hot oven can [and will] curl your eyelashes so far back they practically come off? And, may cause your contact lenses to become so dry that they literally adhere, directly onto your cornea.

Yeah well, neither did I.

Lesson Learnt.

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  • BK

    I absolutely love the look of the lemon chickens and the Sesame Encrusted Tuna Steaks but reading through your experience with the 1st dinner for the love of your life really made me break out in cold sweats.

    PS: The contact lenses adhering directly to the cornea are no joke.

  • I just smiled and laughed reading all the way to the end – you are so funny ! But you were brave to try out something new on the very first occasion.

    I’ve made numerous blunders with flour – entire contents of baking dishes tossed out and then a take out ! LOL

  • HAHA – I’m laughing with you, not at you. We all have moments like that in the kitchen love. You just got yours out of the way early. 😉

    You’re so cute. I’m so proud of your improved culinary skills

  • Meleah

    BK:
    Yeah..um…I had NO IDEA heat from an oven could affect my contacts like that! HA!
    Too bad my chicken roll ups didn’t come out as GREAT as my lemon chicken!

    Jaffer:

    Good, you are supposed to smile when reading this!
    Oh good, and now I don’t feel so badly knowing YOU have had issues with Flour too! My god when they say Lightly Dust they really MEAN that!
    🙂

    Cute Ella:

    Girl, you better be laughing WITH me!
    And you know how hard I’ve been working on cooking! Hell, when Sonny and I have our own place and our own kitchen, I have a feeling I will be doing a whole lot of experimenting. And I am VERY glad I have YOUR number in-case of any cooking emergency!
    xoxoxo

  • “…and that’s the story of how chicken glue was invented.”

    You’ll be telling that story years from now as you sit atop your Chicken Glue empire and having Sonny fan you with a fig leaf.

  • dont be so hard on yourself… cooking really IS an art.

    I totally suck at it, but i think you did fine…

  • Awww at least you tried… I used to cook a lot but my husband likes to cook so I let him. Most nights it is absolutely wonderful- but he does experiment with new things too. Sometimes the new things turn out scary- so you just take the good with the bad. I probably would have used lots of flour thinking it would make them like KFC.

  • Everyone makes mistakes in cooking; it just takes practice.

  • Meleah

    Moooooog35:
    Ahahahahahah Ahahahahahah Ahahahahaha
    I wish!

    Slyde:
    Cooking is very hard work!
    And thank you!

    Michelle G:
    I really did TRY! Oh, man, if my chicken came out like KFC that would have been awesome! Let’s hope Sonny is a better cook than I am! I’ve been spoiled over here with my father’s cooking! But, one of these days I will be a master! I am determined to learn how to cook all things delicious!
    xoxo

    BobG:
    That’s true! And I did redeem myself when I made an awesome breakfast the other day!
    🙂

  • This is why I let the Hubby do all the cooking around here. Although, those lemon chickens looks DE-LI-CIOUS!!

  • cmk

    The only time I have a problem with flour is when I try to make pie crust. One of the only things I fail at EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I used to make bread and nisu (Finnish cardamon sweet bread) all of the time, so I learned that flour CAN be your friend.

    I did, however, have a terrible disaster with yeast once. One day I made a batch of dough in order to make cinnamon rolls–and the yeast was dead. I don’t know if it was too old or if I killed it with too hot water, but the dough would not rise. Thinking I could salvage the mess, I still formed the rolls and baked them. Of course, they never puffed up like they should and each roll weighed about 5 pounds. The Husband took those horrid things to work and they were eaten! {shudder} I KNEW those guys would eat ANYTHING and that day just proved it!

  • Meleah

    Random Chick:
    Lucky Girl!!

    CMK:
    I need to learn how to make Flour my friend!
    I’m not brave enough to try pie crust!
    [At least not yet]

    Ahahahahhah. Ahahahahahah! Ahahahahahah.
    OMG! Some guys really will eat anything!

  • OMG>>>>>>>I couldn’t stop laughing!!!! This is one of your BEST posts! Sonny going for seconds — if that isn’t love and a testament that you two belong together — I don’t know what is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A cure for Crohn’s–HILARIOUS! You made my day!

  • This is my first visit and I’m already loving you site..

    Dorothy from grammology
    grammology.com

  • Meleah

    Laurie:
    Oh yay! I love when I make YOU laugh like that!
    xoxoxo

    Dorothy:
    Thanks and Welcome.

  • LOL! You always manage to have a humors way of saying things. You son should have never left the table like that. For shame!

    I would LOVE you to cook for me any day of the week! Don’t be discouraged. Even the best of chiefs mess up. Emerald Lagasse said that he use to feed his audience the recipes that went wrong. Of course you never see that on his program. Trying a new recipe can be tricky.

  • Amusing post Meleah – unwillingly you stumbled on the precise way to fabricate Wheat Paste, or “Engrudo” as it is called in Mexico, a very popular and cheap home made glue used to make traditional Piñata, excellent paper to paper bond properties there 🙂

  • Meleah

    AIR:
    Oh my son had every right to walk away and SAFE himself!
    ahahahahah!!!

    Well, if Emerald Lagasse makes mistakes like MINE then I am positive I should just keep TRYING!
    Oh, and I would LOVE to cook for you any day.
    But you might need some Pepto afterwards!
    xoxoxooxxooxxoxoxo


    ROG:

    Yay! It’s nice to hear that I haven’t lost my touch when it comes to blogging! Maybe I should stick with WORDS and leave cooking for the professionals like my father!

    “unwillingly you stumbled on the precise way to fabricate Wheat Paste, or “Engrudo” as it is called in Mexico, a very popular and cheap home made glue used to make traditional Piñata, excellent paper to paper bond properties there”

    Holy CRAP! Now that? is Hil-AR-ious!

  • Aww, sorry the meal didn’t come out but hopefully you’ll try it again-just without the sauce.

  • Very funny commentary – So Sorry it did not come out as you would have liked but DAMN the effort was impressive – Keep it up and in no time you will be making some killer culinary creations!! Practice makes perfect!!

  • “Needless to say, no one has been to the bathroom since I last cooked.” Oh my God, I cannot stop laughing! I agree w/Laurie. Sonny truly does love you. This post was superb, Mereb! Absolutely hilarious.

  • Ha ha ha, Mel. Flour does that – I learned the hard way, too. I love the pics of that chicken and tuna, though! You should send me your recipe 😛

  • Meleah

    Silver
    I’m going to try this recipe again in about five years from now
    ahahhahah

    Cathy
    too bad this meal didn’t come out like some of the food I see over on your blog WMDA!!! But practice makes perfect !!

    Steph
    yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this! And yeah, I have to agree with you and Laurie…Sonny REALLY does LOVE me!
    Xoxoxo

    Noemi
    I loved making the Lemon Chicken and my Tuna Steaks! That was surprisingly easy to do! I will email you the recipes for those!
    But I had NO IDEA flour could be so powerful.

  • LOL! I have moments like these always … but that lemon chicken looks lip smacking delicious 😀

  • And in spite of your very descriptive descriptions… it STILL sounds like a recipe I’d like to try. Minus the raw concrete, of course.

  • Meleah

    Nick:
    That Lemon Chicken was the best thing I’ve ever made!

    Terri:
    Oh it is delicious as long as you go EASY on the flour!
    xoxo

  • It is definitely true love. Hilarious. I bet you needed a chisel to get rid of that flour that had turned to concrete. Thanks for a great laugh!

  • Strange things are bound to happen when you “touch your inner Italian”.

    Thanks for brighening my morning with your very visual and descriptive narrative but you owe me a new keyboard (note to self: never drink coffe and read Meleah at the same time).

    While I cannot claim to be a culinary expert, I would like to impart you with pearl of wisdom I have learned over my many years in the kitchen: “The Cheese is always binding” – no further explanation required.

    BTW – great job on dinner. Sorry the results were not as planned/hoped for, but it did make for a great blog post…

  • Meleah

    Selma:
    I had to soak that pan for DAYS to get rid of that damn flour!
    xoxoo

    Agg79:

    Ahahahah. Im sorry I wrecked your keyboard! But, that means I succeeded in making you laugh. And that’s all that matters to me.

    Yeah, I know cheese is binding, but the FLOUR made it even worse!
    And, at least I was able to salvage a blog post!
    🙂

  • Frank Tyson

    I love the post! I notice you said you cook with that pinot grigio. I don’t know if you know about this new product – these folks have four types of really tasty wine they blend specifically for gourmet cooking.

    I think the blend #2 or #4 would have gone great with this recipe (had it worked out!).

    They have a website: http://www.academiewines.com. Just thought I’d share!

  • Meleah

    Thanks Frank

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