What started off as a simple, exaggerated-for-effect observation about George’s cooking—“You are simply incapable of cooking light”—turned into an Iron Chef Raihala challenge, as I reported last week. George’s reaction should not have surprised me because years ago, when he was young and rebellious, his mother told him to choose a career that was safe so she wouldn’t have to worry about him. He became a combat aviator in the United States Air Force and went to war twice.
Yeah, that’s safe.
Anyway. My comment that he couldn’t cook light threw down the gauntlet for Iron Chef George, who took on Battle Cooking Light with determination but also with a certain level of waffling which didn’t surprise me in the least. At first, he decided to try a mole sauce with chicken. For those who don’t know, a mole (pronounced mo-lay) includes a bit of dark, unsweetened chocolate to add richness and flavor to a savory, spicy, nutty sauce served over rice.
In general, one doesn’t think of a mole as light, but George could have made it light by using fewer nuts (he used toasted almonds), very little oil, and lean chicken. It would still be rich, certainly, but at least relatively low fat. Then we had this conversation:
George: Oh, you didn’t get boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Me: No, these were cheaper. Do you want me to run to the store?
George: No, I bought two packages of boneless, skinless anyway. I guess I’ll use one of the boneless, skinless packs and the one with skin and bones. It will give the dish a nice flavor.
Me: But you can easily peel the skin off the thighs.
George: No, it’ll give the dish more flavor if I leave the skin on.
Me: But then it won’t be light.
George: No, maybe I’ll cook light tomorrow.
Me: I knew it!
George: If you blog about this, I’ll boil chicken breasts and serve them over plain white rice tomorrow night.
Me: I don’t have time to blog about this until late in the week.
George: You are evil.
So on Saturday, the mole definitely didn’t get a light make-over. It had EXTRA chocolate and almonds, chicken skin, and George knows what else.
Excellent flavor, not so light. No victory for Chef George in Kitchen Stadium.
Sunday, George decided to make a light stir-fry with lean beef and asparagus over noodles. The flavors were strong and spicy, the beef and noodles were satisfyingly filling, and the dish was definitely not fatty. George thought he’d need to use more than two tablespoons of oil (carefully measured) to cook the beef but found the lighter version worked fine. He even decided that his other stir-fry specialties could use less oil without sacrificing flavor, which can only be a good thing for our waistlines.
Chef George wins in Kitchen Stadium, defeating the doubting Susan who is forced to admit she was WRONG! He CAN cook light!
What isn’t good for our waistlines is the sad fact that cooking a light meal seems to have a rebound binge effect on George. He proved he could do it, but this weekend he’s talking about roasting a whole chicken wrapped in bacon and then wrapped in pizza crust. At least he’s not talking about wrapping it in puff pastry and deep frying it.
Now THAT would be high fat.
See you at the gym, folks. It’s my only hope.
To read George's version of this story, please see his blog, Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!