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Do It Afraid

May 22, 2020
Pan-Seared Chicken with Shoe String Fries
Pg. 86
Zac, Season 4
1 down…98 to go!

Let’s address the obvious. I definitely picked the easiest recipe I could find. As soon as I first fingered through the cookbook, my immediate thought was, “I am in WAY over my head.” It has 242 pages, countless ingredients I’ve never even tried before, let alone cooked with, and includes both techniques I’ve never done and equipment I don’t have.

I tried to talk myself down and thought, “Dani, just start with one of the easier recipes.” That’s when I found chicken + fries. I can do that, right? Then the fear set in. What if I overcook the chicken? What if I under-cook the chicken. What if the sauce breaks. What if I burn the fries? And to top it all off, fear got me thinking, what if I don’t have what it takes to see this project to the end? Should I even really start?

Well, fear didn’t get the best of me this time. I did it afraid. And it turned out really freaking good!

It was so moist (sorry to all who hate that word.) It was definitely the juiciest chicken breast I’ve ever made. The fries were amazing. I’m never going to make fries any other way. Cutting them into shoe strings allows them all to be perfectly crispy.

The only struggle was the sauce. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be thicker than it was turning out to be. I figured it should be so I did my best to thicken it up, but when I took a closer look at the picture, I didn’t see any thick sauce predominantly on the plate; so maybe it was supposed to be a thin drizzle? Either way, that’s how it ended up on my plate. *shrugs*

During each episode, when Gordon Ramsey (and the other judges) taste a contestant’s dish, he almost always asks himself, “So, what would I do differently?” Then he proceeds to answer himself. I’m gonna do the same thing but with a slight twist.

“So, what did I do differently?”

  • Instead of frying the potatoes in oil, I used an air fryer. I recently treated myself and got one! I am assuming I’m going to gain a little weight throughout this project, so I’m going to make some small adjustments where I can to hopefully keep from having to buy myself all new jeans. The result? AMAZING. Not as greasy as normal fries, but just as delicious.
  • I also added a little cayenne pepper to the fries. I do that with almost any potato dish I cook. I don’t add so much that it overpowers the dish, but enough to add a great amount of flavor and a little bit of heat. And I added a little chopped parsley. I’ve actually never made my own fries at home, but I love when restaurants add a little parsley to their fries, so I added it to mine.
  • I have been wanting to try the pan-basting method I’ve seen Gordon Ramsey demonstrate countless times on MCJ, so I was excited when I realized that was part of the directions. However, he always does it with butter, thyme, AND garlic. This recipe only called for butter and thyme, so I added the garlic. No regrets.
  • Obviously, I added a veggie to the dish. I always try to have some sort of vegetable on the plate, so I added some simple French-style green beans. YUM.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introductory post about chicken and fries. I promise the recipes are about to get a lot more complex, difficult, and intriguing. If you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any of the fun.

All my love,
Dani, a big tid

P.S. What is something you’ve done afraid? Let me know in the comments, so I can cheer you on, celebrate you, or learn with you.

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  1. Since childhood, I have been fearful. I chalk it up to early childhood trauma and my naturally introverted nature. Because of my tendency toward an overabundance of caution, nearly everything I do, I do afraid,or at least with some amount of hesitancy and nervousness. Flying overseas, traveling solo, hang-gliding, hiking in the wilderness, sea kayaking, volunteering, you name it, I’m game for it—-but I will be afraid. As I have grown into adulthood, now in my 30s (eeek!), I am settling into a sense of peace about it all. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. To be brave, one must first be afraid. I will probably always be afraid, but I also will always choose to be brave.

    • Miss Holly, I said it on our cross-country roadtrip in 2017, and it is as true now as it was then…”You are the bravest person I know.” I don’t have the same kind of fearful approach to as many things (which can be very dangerous, frankly.) So I would consider myself adventurous, not brave. But you, my friend, are as brave as they come. Your courage inspires many, including myself.

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