Cooking with Wine

Having wine nights with my girlfriends has become one of my favorite pass times…and a pretty frequent one too. My friend’s and I have wine nights 2-3 times a week where we just hangout and watch Netflix; I’d call it one of my favorite hobbies. When I saw this recipe included wine I leaped for joy — I knew what we were making would be delicious because wine makes everything fabulous. On tap for tonight is Too-Easy Chicken with Leeks, Lemon Rice Pilaf, and Whatever-Your-Garden-Grows-Salad. Let’s get tipsy!..I mean cooking!!

It was a real struggle convincing myself to go to the grocery store today. I was just not in the mood to get off my bed, but I knew it had to be done. I headed to Trader Joe’s and the place was crazier than usual. The line usually wraps halfway around the store, but this time it went completely around the store. I shopped the smart way AKA shopped while I was in line. Not only did I get most of the ingredients I needed, but I also picked up some weekly groceries all for $20! My wallet was super happy today. As I was heading out I was thankful I arrived there when I did because there was a line a block long just to get into the store. Seriously, Trader Joe’s is nuts!

Next stop on my list of grocery stores was Fairway. Fairway was extremely annoying today. I needed to pick up 5 more ingredients and they only had 1: a shallot. I mean I can’t complain too much considering it was only 33 cents, but I had to go to ANOTHER grocery store.

So, on to plan C: Whole foods at Columbus Circle. I had never been to this Whole Foods before so it was extra adventury. Luckily I was able to find everything except for the wax beans, but I decided those weren’t that important. This Whole Foods was great aside from the mile long line, but other than that all around great experience and I will definitely be coming back.

Everyone came over around 6:30. I knew this week would be extra interesting because I have a dog staying with me. Not a big dog, just a little old man chihuahua. I was didn’t know if he’d get in the way while cooking, though. He didn’t, thankfully. He laid on the couch the whole time with his tongue sticking out — such a cutie.

Nicolette, Mel & Martina were my sous-chefs this week, and like usual we all chopped what needed to be chopped first. Then I assigned everyone a recipe. I was in charge of the chicken, Mel was in charge of the rice, Nicolette was in charge of the salad, and Martina went home to get some wine for us to drink…great system we had going on.

The chicken recipe featured leeks..if you don’t know what leeks are they’re just like giant green onions. Anyways, they made the chicken smell amazing. Not just the chicken, it made the whole apartment smell amazing!

Ashley Gray came over and ate her cafeteria food, but it’s always nice to have extra company.

The salad and the chicken were completed before the rice. Since rice takes forever to cook we all sat around and talked until it was time to eat. Eventually we all became very impatient waiting for the rice so we just decided it was done cooking ourselves.

I set up a nice little buffet and we all made our own plates. Nicolette asked “Are we all going to try it together?” but Mel was already digging in. We each had our own separate moments of truth. Mine was wonderful. The chicken was so savory and juicy. I could taste the hints of wine in it. The rice was a tad bit under cooked due to my impatience, but still tasty. Also a hint of wine — very subtle hint. I was super impressed with the salad. I am not a salad person most of the time, but this was extra delicious. I think the dressing made it so yummy. All in all a very good meal, also pretty fancy. This meal made me feel like I’m actually an adult.

After we ate we made a trip to Schmakery’s for dessert and had delicious home baked cookies. It was the perfect ending to a great cooking night.

Now comes for the most complicated part of the night: rating. Too-Easy Chicken with Leeks receives ♥♥♥ (3) hearts. It was good, but there was something about it that made it meh. The Lemon Rice Pilaf also receives ♥♥♥ (3) hearts. I don’t know if it would’ve been better if it was fully cooked. Maybe it was the wine that gave it a too mature flavor for me. Finally, the Whatever-Your-Garden-Grows Salad receives ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. I was impressed with this because it included green beans, which I am not a fan of, but surprisingly it was my favorite dish of the night. The mustard-vinaigrette blended all the vegetables together very tastefully.

Honestly, I thought that these wine-infused dishes would’ve turned out better. Don’t get me wrong, everything was yummy but there was just something missing. This did not sway my opinion on wine, though. Wine is still my favorite, just not when it is in food. Oh well.

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus



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