When life gives you lemons...

Oh to have a kitchen all to myself! What bliss. I mean, obviously I’ve cooked at college before, but it’s been so long since I’ve been able to let loose without feeling guilty about wasting my meal plan.

Tonight, my sassy pants friend Suzy and I shacked up in our boss’s apartment to house sit, but Suzy did most of the sitting. I took to the kitchen. In this typically New York kitchen, armed with limited counter space, some expired bread crumbs, and a spirit to exceed, I began.

Chicken? Potatoes? Olive oil? This wasn’t promising. I smelled fried chicken and roasted potatoes if we were lucky. Boooring. Suzy is too sassy for that. So I got creative. Looking at this meager kitchen with its basic (read: scant and expired) ingredients, I had to figure out how to make something worthy of Suzy’s taste buds.

Garlic and balsamic vinegar on the chicken? Check. I doused the chicken with the sweet liquid and aromatic herb and tossed in the oven, leaving it lusciously moist. Sautéed onions in olive oil with brown sugar topped off the chicken. I tossed them in a pan and drizzled the mixture over the chicken and broiled it in the oven. The brown sugar and the onions’ natural sweetness complimented the bite of the balsamic vinegar

Mashed potatoes with garlic powder and a healthy dose of some aged (read: sell by January 2008) parmesan cheese? Check. I mashed them with a little butter and E.V.O.O. (oh Rachel…) and left out the milk or sour cream. Why? Because we didn’t have any. But they were smooth but hearty, and with a little bit of crispy bacon thrown in, well, who can go wrong?

While watching Sex and the City and enjoying the fruits of my labor, Miss Sassy Pants came up with the idea for a blog. Rachel Ray started out on public access, and Giada DiLaurentiis started out as a food stylist. A blog is just as good, Suzy insisted. While discussing ideas for recipes and names for my future TV show, we savored the tangy chicken and the potatoes quickly disappeared.

It was simple fare, but we made do with what we had in front of us. And the results were delectable. It just goes to show that it doesn’t take a test kitchen with everything from star fruit to ochre to make a good meal.

A little more counter space wouldn’t hurt, though.