Every now and then I decide to prepare a fattening meal.

Nearly everything I cook is "healthy," coming from Cooking Light or some other healthy-foods cookbook. I steam a lot of stuff. The Lean Mean Fat-Grilling Machine is my most-used appliance. Products like half-and-half, heavy cream, bacon grease, and egg yolk generally make up about 0.00000001 percent of the ingredients I use per year. If a recipe does call for such things, I generally make substitutions.

So tonight I decided to make a yummy-looking dish from The Seasonal Palette, a cookbook that my birthmom Sherry gave me a while back. The name of the dish was "Cider Chicken Over Apple Potato Cakes." Yum. And the picture of the crispy golden-brown potato cakes, with a creamy cider-chicken sauce being lovingly poured next to them ... I had to make it. And I decided I wouldn't make healthy recipe substitutions, particularly since Dodger, our housesitter from last week, had left a bunch of fattening ingredients in our fridge.

The recipe was going to be a lot of work, but I had all the ingredients and plenty of time. Plus I'm not usually one to shirk when it comes to cooking for the Hubster. Not even when I have a million other things to do.

So much was involved in this recipe: peeling, coring, and grating two apples; peeling and grating four potatoes; dicing an onion, a leek, and some celery; making a roux, poaching and then chopping the chicken breasts; frying bacon to make bacon crumblies for the creamy cider-chicken sauce; sauteeing the celery, leek, onion, and apple in the bacon grease; etc. I must have dirtied at least seven pots and pans. But I actually enjoy all of that work. I like recipes that have a hundred different steps. It forces me to slow down and be "in the moment." And that's therapeutic.

The cider-chicken cream sauce came out wonderful. (Of course, anything that contains half a stick of butter automatically comes out wonderful. Funny how that happens.) The recipe called for just a touch of nutmeg in it--mmm. It had half-and-half in it, but Hubster likes fattening things, so I was very excited about seeing how happy it made him. (Do I sound like a little wifey or what?)

The potato cakes, on the other hand, were more like potato mush. The potatoes I used were really watery. I probably should have used russet potatoes, but I used yukon gold because that's what I had on hand. No cakes were going to come of my leaky potato-celery-leek-onion-egg-salt-pepper-flour-another half-stick of butter concoction, so I just cooked the concoction up and mixed it all in with the creamy cider-chicken sauce. So it was more like a Goop Melange than the beautiful, crisp, golden-brown potato cakes with the creamy cider-chicken sauce topping.

It tasted good, though. It was very rich--I couldn't eat a lot in one sitting. Even after just a little bit, I am stuffed. Hubster is really stuffed. He gave the dish an 8 out of 10. He said the taste was a 10, but that he prefers crisp, golden-brown potato-cake texture to that of Goop Melange.

Next time: russet potatoes.

Next time: Make this dish for company. Hubster and I are really, really stuffed!

P.S. This is a wonderful cookbook. Thanks, Sherry, for sending it back to me when you did!


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