Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Assorted Vegetables with Chicken Thigh on the Side

I never used to like garlic, or onions, the two most essential ingredients used in almost all dishes, which I only started to realise when I started cooking. It's hard to make someone like something they already don't like, let alone eat it. But I also discovered through my own experience that, it's not that a person does not like to eat something, it's because it's just not cooked to suit this person's taste.

I was at a restaurant with my parents and I had the most wonderful dish in my life (at that time). Every mouthful was dancing on my tongue as the flavours fused themselves in my mouth each time I took a bite. I looked back at the menu... GARLIC CHICKEN!!! WOT??!! There's GARLIC in this thing?!!! But I remembered garlic, the first time I tried it I don't know where. It tasted SO bad in that dish I spat out the contents in my mouth. So why did I like the garlic that was in this dish? It's because I could not taste it. It was cooked long enough for the garlic to just melt into the dish. Same goes with onions. I LOVE onion soup. Doesn't make any sense to me because it's a bowl filled with onions. BUT, they're so soft, I didn't know they were onions. I thought they were cabbage ( I was little). Give me a pasta dish heavily dressed with garlic that I can taste and smell now, and I'd still start to pick them out of my dish.

So when it came to Rachel, my baby sister, I could understand why she didn't want to eat her greens. They just simply did not taste good to her. Plus, she could see that there was garlic in her food. Hence, she wouldn't even want it knowing she would be able to taste garlic. I did an experiment on her. She's a lot like me, and I know how I like my food cooked, so I did the same for her. I made her pasta with lots of onions and garlic, but I diced them so small, and cooked them so long with some good chicken broth that she likes, and served it to her. She couldn't see them, couldn't smell them, couldn't taste them. So she ate it all. I asked her after if it was good, and she said yes. So she does like garlic and onions. She just doesn't like to taste them raw or semi raw. This experience I went through with Rachel, would also come in handy some time down the road. I just didn't know it yet. =)

Julien I found out, likes his greens in salads, fresh. Once they're cooked, he starts to pick them out. With mushrooms, as long as he can taste or smell it, he wouldn't eat it. The two phenomenons I've observed since day 1. Then I realised, when I'd ask him to try to have some greens, he'd take the leafy parts and leave the stems, because ' the stems are too hard'. That's the solution. The carrots, onions, garlic, and asparagus you see in this picture have zero crunch factor. They're not cooked to mush, but they're really really soft when you bite into them. With mushrooms, I only managed to get him to eat it once by accident. When I made chawanmushi. This is a savoury egg custard with chicken chunks/seafood and mushrooms. He ate it mushrooms and all because he could not smell or taste the mushroom even though he could see it. It's funny, because when we go to Japanese restaurants and we order chawanmushi, he still picks out the mushroom. So then I realised what was different. Chawanmushi is a very quick and simple dish to make. Once you have everything combined, it only takes less than 5 mins to cook. That day I made the chawanmushi, I could not find the lid when I steamed it, and hence it took me about 30mins just to steam the egg up. So maybe I cooked it long enough for the mushroom smell and taste to disappear. I don't know, I'm just guessing. This still remains a mystery to me because I haven't made him any mushroom dish since. But it's really interesting how our five senses work.

All this just to tell you the black pepper chicken thigh we had on the side for dinner was good. =)

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