Now that I’m a semi-emptynester, I am no longer restricted to cooking a kid-friendly menu of chicken nuggets and spaghetti. However, after twenty years of cooking like a line cook at a fast food restaurant, I thought it was time to hone my skills in the kitchen. Naturally, I could have taken a class or read recipes on line, but since I was working at home looking for a distraction from writing my next book, I chose to watch “Chopped,” instead. Although a lot of the show focuses on making a main course from such things as fish eyeballs, ramen noodles, and jelly beans, I still managed to glean a few tips and techniques to amp up my cooking game. At the very least, I learned how to hold a knife so I didn’t chop my finger off.
Here are some of the dishes I’ve created. I think Chris Santos would be proud.