The fear of cooking (+ roast chicken recipe)

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was making instant ramen for the​ first time. Mom told her to crack some eggs in the boiling water, but she was way too afraid. What if the hot water would splash on her hand? That would be painful…

Cooking can be scary: dealing with sharp knives (don’t cut the finger!), using fire to make the pans hot (the burn!). And the food can come out crappy… But stop there! Don’t be scared! After some practice it will be fine! After failing a dish, at least you know what NOT to do the next time.

Story time

I have had some fail moments in my lifetime of cooking. Especially making something the first time.

I still remember well the first time stir frying. With a good friend we tried to stir fry beef with green beans. Using the stir fry basics learned from my parents it should be fine right? Cutting and marinating the beef went well. Then stir fry the meat first, take it out of the wok and stir fry the green beans. When the green beans are almost done, add the meat and done!
In the end the meat was so dry. I am guessing we added the beef in too early. So while waiting for the green beans to be done, the meat became dry. FAIL! But now, I have a vast knowledge of how long meat and vegetables need to be stir fried. Just try it often and find the right time. Try, fail, try, succeed!

This blog post idea came to me, because I made 6 hour roast chicken for the first time. I don’t use the oven often, but I thought: what could go wrong? Just put the chicken in the oven on low heat for a very long time, that should come out delicious right? Well… I will tell you the result after the recipe.

6 Hour Roast Chicken

Inspired by different roast recipes I used the following ingredients:

  • 1 Whole chicken
  • 4 shallots (or onions)
  • 6 garlic gloves
  • A bush of coriander
  • 4 slices of ginger
  • salt (sorry, don’t know the amount)
  • black pepper, Sichuan peper
  • oil
  • fish sauce
  • soy sauce
  • white vinegar
  • lemon (I didn’t have a lemon, but I wanted to use one. I used white vinegar as the sour ingredient)

1. The main ingredients. Pre-heat the oven on the lowest Celsius degree possible. Mine was 110 Celsius degrees (230 Fahrenheit).

2. Cut everything. Cut some long celery stems for holding the chicken up. Cut shallots in half. Peel the garlic gloves.

3. Place the celery stems and shallots in an oven dish. A dash of oil over the ingredients.

4. Mix a sauce: 3 dashes of soy sauce, 1 dash of fish sauce, 1 splash white vinegar, pepper, sichuan pepper. Put sauce, garlic gloves, ginger, coriander and chunks of celery inside the chicken. (Also a lemon if you have one. Cut in two and squeeze in and over the chicken. Put the lemons inside the chicken.) Lift the skin of the chicken near butt area. You can poor in the sauce here. Use leftover sauce on the outside of the chicken. Drizzle some oil on the chicken. Add extra salt and pepper on the outside.

5. Use a rope to hold the chicken legs together, this prevents burning them. Put the chicken in the oven and sit and wait for 6 hours.

6. After 6 hours you have crispy chicken!

The meat just fell of the bones.

After tasting it…

In the end the taste was really nice. Salty chicken meat and the shallots were so sweet and salty. The texture however was a bit dry to my liking. It was very mushy/sandy, not dry like terrible cooked chicken, but still a dry feeling. I think this could be better if I injected salt water brine into the chicken. That is a trick to keep the chicken moist. Also I didn’t have a lemon and only added the white vinegar later to the chicken. I think the sourness also keeps the meat tender. So the next time when I will roast a chicken, I will keep these things in mind and make the perfect chicken!

So readers, don’t be afraid to cook. You can only become better, after making something terrible 😛

Have a good weekend! 

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Your wish-dish at your favorite restaurant

Bad at cooking?

Making someone’s favorite food is showing love. What if you are not that good of a cook, but you still want to serve someone’s favorite food. What to do then?

💡 Cooking service!

What if restaurants offer a service where you can let them make a dish of your choice. You can also choose your own favorite dish, but the idea here is that you let the chef make something your friend likes. Sharing some love yo!

But what about the ingredients? The restaurant might not have the stuff you want to make. Or even worse, they don’t know how to make it. But assuming they have master-fast-learning skills, they can use a recipe.

So the restaurant would need:
– Ingredients (the restaurant can buy it beforehand, or the customer brings the ingredients)
– The recipe (from the internet or from the customer)

Does a cooking service exist already?

Maybe it’s too much effort for the restaurant to make something new or it takes too long to make something off-menu.

On the internet I can find restaurants where you can cook your own food. Like Korean BBQ or making dakgalbi; DYI-restaurants. But that’s not really what I was looking for.

DYI Korean BBQ

Going on…
Oh wow, there are already websites offering a chef who will come to your house and cook! Hire A Chef.com. Awesome! Then my “MacDonalds home cook service” idea has sort of come true. On a side note, according to my friends, MacDonalds in the Netherlands will soon have home delivery service! Burger King is already offering home delivery service in Den Haag and Emmen.
Hire a chef does solve the problem of making someone’s favorite food though.. but I want to take the concept to the restaurant! Nanananana (batman transition sound)

There was a trend in 2013 with Bringing Your Own Food (BYOF) in the USA at bars where they don’t serve food. At those places you can drink and have food delivered to the place. But that’s also not really what I have in mind. So I think my idea doesn’t really exist yet. Or it has been done and failed. Who knows..

The Concept

What if there is a website for sharing this kind of service. Customers will post their wish-dish and restaurants can bid on a dish, the customer can then choose from different restaurants.

Or the other way around; the customer picks his favorite restaurant and suggest a wish-dish. The restaurant needs to say yes and schedule a date.

Steal this idea

I really wonder what restaurants will think of this idea. Is it feasible? Would they like to offer this kind of service? I am thinking of asking a few restaurants and see what they think (user research!). Also would people want this kind of service??? I also have no idea. Would you like this kind of idea?

The idea can be developed more by focusing on the surprise part. What kind of nice surprises can be added to the restaurant trip? How to make it even more special?

Dear Restaurant owners, feel free to use this idea and develop it further. I am really curious how it would work out in the real world. Have a good weekend!