Monday, July 19, 2010

Hearing Voices in my Head

Today went by rather quickly for a Monday. You won't hear me complaining about that. It wasn't a bad day at work, just a busy one. Sometimes they're the best type of Mondays because you don't have time to sit there wishing it was still the weekend.

Unfortunately, the evening has also gone by rather quickly too which, adversely, is a bit of a shame.

We're having an office barbecue at work. They're usually not quite as awkward as Awkward Bagel Days but since the barbecues still involved forced interaction and mingling, there's definitely some awkwardness there.

It's a pot luck barbecue which means everyone gets to bring something. I find it ironic that a few years ago, I used to be one of the potluckers who attempted to sign up to bring plates or cups and things and now I actually enjoy them because it means I get to cook or, at least, prepare something to bring.

This time around, I decided to make a trio of salads. Yes, I know, I've been watching FAR too much Top Chef. I could have settled with one or I could have gone for a duo. However, since I, unfortunately, have taken to hearing Tom Colicchio- the co-host of Top Chef and a very successful chef in his own right- in my head when I cook, I felt like I needed to take a risk. Tom's very big on taking risks.

I think this might be a good opportunity to mention that yes, I do find it odd that I hear Tom Colicchio's voice in my head. This does mean, indeed, that I really should not watch any more Top Chef reruns, even if my DVR insists on taping them. However, it seems to be a compulsion I can't keep from happening. Imaginary Tom tells me to watch my seasoning, lest it be too salty or, just as bad, underseasoned. I also hear him telling me when my food looks like slop on a plate so I try to make it look nice when I cook food now. I find myself checking to make sure my vegetables are chopped uniformly.

I know, I have a problem here. Still, it's making my food turn out rather well so maybe it's not quite so bad. Even if it is a little, you know, crazy.

Anyway, since Imaginary-Tom told me I should take risks and not 'play it safe,' I decided to make a salad trio. This consists of chicken pesto (with homemade pesto, of course. I scoff at you, silly jarred stuff), a caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (it's seasoned fine, I checked, Imaginary Tom). I'm also making Zucchini & Carrot a Scapece. Since I was afraid I'd scare my coworkers with a fancy name like that, it's been renamed "marinated zucchini and carrot salad." Unfortunately, it has to marinate for at least 8 hours before it's ready for tasting so, Mr. Imaginary Tom Colicchio in my head, I definitely think I took a risk there. Perhaps I'll wait and not take it and make my coworkers take a risk.

Of course, Tom would then tell me off for not tasting my food. A good chef always tastes his or her food.

So far, the salads are looking and tasting pretty good. The nice thing about them is that though they seem fancier than your average coleslaw and potato salad fare that normally accompanies a barbecue, they're actually pretty easy to make. The best thing is I only had to buy the mozzarella and tomatoes (since mine aren't ripe yet). I got all of the basil, the zucchinis, the mint and the garlic from my garden. I had all the other ingredients in my pantry. That made me feel like a well prepared chef.

And you know Tom Colicchio likes a well prepared chef.

Not that I'm a chef. I'm just a Monkeypants who's obsessed with cooking. I'm hoping that tomorrow though, my dishes go over well. If not, well, they tasted ok to me and, since I'm in charge of the Tom Colicchio in my head, they tasted just fine to him too.

I think I definitely need to stop watching Top Chef. I'm afraid Tom might just tell me to pack my knives and go.

Please feel free to offer psychiatric advice.

Happy Tuesday!

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