I've been busy - getting engaged, working full time and planning a wedding in 6 weeks (which is taking place this Saturday). It's not that I haven't been doing anything - in fact my sister and I did the Great West Village Gelato Tour (which we made up and photographed) and I've cooked pies and cookies and yet nothing has inspired me to actually get any words/photos typed into the blog....until tonight!
It's been a stressful couple of days - people canceling and uncanceling and canceling again, people wanting to bring more people and less people and more people to events, food allergies, family drama and a big hurricane that may or may not be blowing into Queens on my freaking wedding day.
I needed a break.
I threw myself into making Coq au Vin (basically, a red wine chicken stew) from Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking. I got it as a wedding present and this was the first recipe I tried. As I parboiled and peeled pearl onions, butchered a chicken and peeled potatoes, I felt better - my stress was still there under the surface, but I couldn't focus on it - there were things to chop, for god's sake! Thyme to be stripped, wine to be poured, lots of things for my brain to be distracted by.
And then the coolest moment of my cooking non-career happened:
As directed by Julia Child (I could hear that flutey voice of hers in my head), I dumped a quarter cup of cognac in the pan with the chicken and LIT IT ON FIRE with a fireplace starter. Flames shot up to the cupboard above immediately (totally freaking Zack out). I shook the pan until the flames subsided, giggling gleefully the entire time. My stress was on vacation - I lit the kitchen on fire! On purpose! And man, the chicken tasted good after that.
"I should have taken a picture!" I bemoaned to Zack later. "My readers would have loved to see that!"
"Sure," he said. "And maybe next time, you don't light alcohol on fire under a wooden cupboard."
In my defense, the cupboard did not catch on fire. He's such a worrier.