I like to cook. Creating in the kitchen is my nirvana. Having people get all warm and gooey over something I’ve made is like a drug… and I’m crazy addicted to the high. I’ll go to great lengths to achieve it. Just ask Mr. Clean. He’ll tell you how I dragged him, for months, to every restaurant I could find with Chicken Tortilla soup listed on their menu. The determination to create the Best Soup Ever took over. It was worth it.

According to those who’ve tried my version – I succeeded. Indeed, one of my more discerning tasters (lab rat #4) claims the soup requires outside intervention in order to Stop. Eating. It. I need only to email the words “Chicken Tortilla soup” and he’s a guaranteed show for dinner. The fact that he routinely causes himself pain (four bowls will do that!) does my ego good.

Even so, I still have to try other versions from time to time; in order to reassure myself that mine is the very best, of course. It drives Mr. Clean crazy.

Something else I like to do? Reverse-engineer recipes. Many restaurants, if asked nicely, will gladly give you a run-down of ingredients in a dish and sometimes basic instructions. Figuring out how to put it together is up to you. Not too difficult, really - if you have the knack for that sort of thing. The famous chicken salad I make really belongs to a posh Houston restaurant – something I readily tell anyone who compliments it. (chicken, bell pepper, almonds, etc... it is to Die for)

Nothing too crazy making yet, I know. Stick with me.

Mr. Clean and I take the spawnlings to dinner every other weekend. The unanimous choice for almost all of these outings is an amazing little Italian place. During its peak hours, we never wait longer than five minutes for a table. The waiters know what we want before we want it and they treat the spawnlings like Real customers rather than just snot-nosed brats who haven’t a clue, like some places have been known to do. This greatly assists my attempts to have independent children who can order for themselves. If that weren’t enough, the menu Rocks – and if what you want isn’t on there, just explain what it is and They. Will. Cook. It. For. You. This place is pure gold and Never injures my wallet (even with appetizers and dessert!).

That being said. One of the dishes they have is an unbelievable Chicken Marsala with gorgeous cremini mushrooms, amber butter, and marie cheese. It’s like none I’ve ever tasted. I have re-named it “Orgasmic Chicken”. One simply cannot eat it without moaning as each delectable bite touches the tongues and fires off taste bud fantasies that should be outlawed. So, of course, I asked for the recipe.

And they would not give it to me! Nothing. Not even a glimmer of an ingredient not listed on the menu or readily obvious. (Yes. I know it has chicken in it. Thanks. But what the hell is amber butter? And marie cheese?) I ask them every time we visit and, as they know me now, they just laugh and then ask if I want my cherry cheesecake to go, as usual.

I tried re-creating it at home. The results were good eats but ultimately, a failure. It was not Orgasmic Chicken. I’m obsessed. I Have to have that recipe. I must!

Mr. Clean suggested that each time we go, I surreptitiously ask questions like, “Did the chef use rosemary when grilling the chicken or is it in the sauce?” or “Did they roast the garlic? It tastes roasted.” And then... maybe... at some point... I can get enough information to re-create it. Whoa! That would require way too much patience from me. Personally, I think I should just get a job in their kitchen so I can look over the chef’s shoulder.

Until then, I'm going nuts. Attempt #3 will be the weekend after Easter, I think. In the meantime, I'm going to haunt their establishment... and beg for a cup of sauce to take home so I can put in under the microscope.
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3 Responses
  1. laura Says:

    On things like Orgasmic Chicken, I just give up and accept that I'm going to have to eat it at the restaurant. Some things are not meant to be re-created. It's like they are God, and you are Dr. Frankensteeeen. It's just not meant to be.

  2. dragonfly Says:

    Orgasmic chicken, hastily scrabbled together with kitchen twine stitching, simmering on the stove. A bolt of lightning strikes and the power goes out. Dang. So much for that attempt.

    But then! A soft glow emanates from the stove top - providing just enough light to illuminate the pan. To my horror, the chicken sits up and begins bumping and grinding, singing I'm Too Sexy for My Sauce. It's ALIIIVE!

    Meh. I'm in it more for the puzzle of re-creation than for trying to make a Franken-Chicken. [grin] This kind of cooking is my Sudoku.

  3. laura Says:

    Ah. Sudoku is my Sudoku, and also my guilty pleasure and secret shame.