Look, can we talk about how much supermarkets suck?

I’m enjoying the actual process of this cooking thing, but shopping for food is a nightmare. I legitimately believe that going into supermarkets is my version of hell. Because I can’t find anything. And I know all the aisles are labeled with helpful indicators like “baking needs” or “dairy” but I end up strolling through every aisle looking for seasoning salt, and finding none. Is it a baking need? What is seasoning salt? I inevitably end up asking a grocer, and they say, “We don’t have that. What’s seasoning salt?” and I’m left saying “The thing in the recipe?” and ultimately I end up buying a Mexican taco mix of seasonings. I really hope that works out.

Ugh, that is not going to work out.

I just couldn’t handle accosting any more people to try to figure out where everything is. It took me a good ten minutes to locate pecans. All I need is for there to be one aisle called “Here. Here is what you a looking for. It is here.” Because right now, to me, being in a supermarket feels like being in one of those dreams where you are trying to get to the airport, but you keep not being able to leave your apartment because you keep forgetting things and having to go back.

Those dreams are the worst.

Here is a song about how grocery stores make me feel:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3Vi0R0vI6U?version=3]

So. That. Do you know people who like to go to grocery stores and buy things? How do you make that experience not actually exactly like being in Hell?

I do not know! You know what I know how to do, now, though? Make stir fry!

MASTERFUL SEGUE.

Anyhow, turns out making really, really good stir fry is fun and easy. I found a great recipe for it that leads to stir fry that looks like this:

stir fry recipe

AND I used autofocus on my camera. This is the recipe:

3 tbsp. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. dry sherry
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 sm. onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, pared and thinly sliced

Combine soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, garlic and 1/4 cup water; set aside.

In wok or large skillet, stir-fry chicken in hot oil 2 minutes. Add vegetables; stir-fry 4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture; cook and stir until slightly thickened. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 4 servings.

I couldn’t find garlic, and I do not have a garlic press, so that didn’t make it in. But it made no difference. It was delicious.

AND SO PRETTY.

The same, alas, cannot be said of peanut butter pretzel chicken.

I mean, we can certainly say it looks pretty, because it does. Look!

We could also say it tasted it great, because lying is fucking fun, but it did not. It tasted like absolutely flavorless chicken combined with pretzels. Based on this recipe:

3 tablespoons fig jam
2 tablespoons prepared stone ground mustard
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, thighs or legs
8 ounces sourdough pretzels, coarsely crushed
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Mix together fig jam and mustard in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Place pretzels in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, egg, water, salt, pepper and hot sauce.

4. Place flour in a large plastic bag. Add chicken breasts and shake to coat evenly. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then dredge in the pretzel crumbs, pressing coating lightly to adhere to chicken. Place coated chicken on a rack set over a baking sheet. Bake until chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

5. To serve, divide fig mustard among six plates, and using the back of a spoon, smear it in a line across center of plate. Place a piece of chicken on top of jam, garnish with parsley, and serve hot.

Obviously, I did not try the part about the fig jam, because, hahahahahahaah, are you kidding me, you decadent Eloi? Fig jam?! I did, however, combine some honey with regular mustard to make honey mustard, and I felt really good that I figured out that that is how honey mustard gets made. Like a supergenius.

Also, I could not find hot sauce, and, accordingly, did not use any. (I was in the supermarket for like 45 minutes, okay?) And I only did two chicken breasts, because I am only one person. (One chicken breast is sitting on my counter; I was going to bring it for lunch today, but I grew unenthusiastic about that prospect). That meant I divided everything except the egg, and maybe that made a difference.

So, I guess, if you’re going to try making this, definitely use tons of hot sauce? I don’t know. Maybe I was just expecting it to taste more like peanut butter? I love peanut butter.

So, that was sad. The salad that accompanied it, on the other hand, was much more successful. Nothing special. Blueberries. Strawberries. Some goat cheese. Raspberry vinaigrette.

Oh, it would have been simple, HAD I NOT CANDIED PECANS TO GO IN IT!

I totally candied my own pecans.

candy pecans

Here’s how you do that.

You dump half a cup of pecans in a sauce pan, on a stove, with the heat on.

You put in 4 tbsp of sugar

You put in 4 tbsp of water

You stir it all around for 7 minutes, until the water sugar mixture has mostly burned away.

You have candied pecans.

They really added something special to the salad.

My biggest regret about this whole week is that I didn’t get around to making a baked potato, which I still really want to do, especially since commenters have mentioned to how to microwave it effectively, or even stick a nail in it to make it cook faster. I like the nail idea, because I really want a soupcon of gritty realism with my food prep.

If it’s cool with you, I kind of want to keep doing this. I mean, I also want to eat in restaurants again, but I would like to continue cooking food, somewhat reluctantly (but secretly enthusiastically!) and report on it once a week. I know it seems gratuitous to post it on the Internet, but sometimes it’s really hard to motivate yourself to cook when you live alone and you know there’s no one else to see the things you bake. So, this solves that! Also, I want more recipes. Preferably ones with three steps that will not require me having to go to the supermarket ever again.