The Dark Art of Delegation

Last week, I got unexpectedly delayed at work by over an hour and a half. This happens sometimes, and is not usually a big deal as long as Loving Boyfriend can run home and let the dogs out, but on this particular evening, I was exhausted from having to get up at 4:45 am (not my usual arousal). So, as you can guess, I no longer felt feeling like cooking. To remedy the situation, I called Loving Boyfriend and asked sweetly if he could take over dinner. And Loving Boyfriend, being as Loving as he is, agreed. Better yet, I even got him to make (almost) exactly what I was hoping we would have that night...Curried Chicken.

"What's that?" You say.

"You didn't make it? Loving Boyfriend made it?
Now just how did you get him to make just what you wanted?"

Ah, my friends. Rest easy. Let me share with you the Dark Art of Delegation.

You see, I had carefully chosen this recipe out of the myriad of recipe inspirations I have around the house, made the trip to the Farmer's Market and the grocery store to get the ingredients I needed, and had planned on making it that night. Not wanting the green beans I'd picked from the basket at the Farmer's Market to go too many more days in the fridge and having already thawed out some chicken, I asked him if he would please, pretty please, make what I had planned for dinner.

Step #1: Ask nicely. If dealing with someone from the opposite sex, it probably
helps if you're wearing skimpy clothing, but this is not necessary,
especially if you're at the office and asking over the phone.

Now, Loving Boyfriend doesn't use recipes. He throws a bunch of stuff together in a pan or on top of a pizza and lucky for him (and me!), it usually comes out quite tasty. He also makes a mean batch of crepes, and is quite the go-to breakfast man since I like to sleep in these days and he'll get up with the pooches when they get too annoying so that he can go play video games without me nagging on him that he's not helping around the house (Wait...doesn't engagement give me a license to nag?! He he he...). So, to avoid the usual follies that could occur, I fanned his ego a bit.

"Oh! I almost forgot to tell you!
LB, you sure looked good when I left this morning..."

Now, mind you, I left at 5 AM to come into work. LB was sleeping in his sprawled out, very cute, bed-headed, non-communicable position. Never-the-less, step 2 is important.

Step #2: Fan the ego. Small, white lies are fine to use here if it can advance your position.

Then I hit him with the necessary refinement of my former request: "But, um, (shuffles feet) will you please, for me, follow the directions?"

Step #3: Move in for the "kill." Acting cute while you do this may help.


Step #4: Be sure to qualify your needs so that confusion is at a minimum.

"I'll make you a special dessert tomorrow...with ice cream...

Step #5: Bribe and coerce as needed...

Although it took some coercion and bribing, he agreed to follow the recipe and make the Curried Chicken I had planned.

I did it! I thought things were going along just as planned. One slight problem, however. I also had planned NOT to cook it in the microwave, even though it was a microwavable dinner recipe. I try to cook in the microwave as little as possible, for about a billion reasons, but also because it's so difficult to control how cooked your meat gets.

I neglected to relay this to Loving Boyfriend. Damn! How could I forget step 6!

Step #6: Know exactly what you're asking for.

But, Loving Boyfriend, being the good Loving Boyfriend that he is, followed my instructions to the letter (Good boyfriend!) and made the dish exactly as it was written...lucky for both of us, the meal didn't suffer at all (or not noticeably so). It was actually really simple, fast, and best of all, didn't heat up our kitchen, which has been hovering on 100 degrees every night (one reason, besides how busy life has been, that I haven't been cooking much). I think we'll also be making it again...but maybe not in the microwave.

So there you have it, my friends. Six simple steps to get you through the Dark Art of Delegation. You can do it!

Curried Chicken, from Everyday Food
Serves 4. Total time: <25>

1 small red onion, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (1 cup)
1 green apple, quartered, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks (1 1/4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. curry powder
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. In a 2-quart microwave-safe dish with a lid, stir together onion, apple, garlic, ketchup, and curry powder. Add 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

2. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over. Cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes longer or until chicken is opaque throughout. Lift chicken from dish, and divide among four serving plates.

3. Stir yogurt into onion-apple mixture in dish. Spoon sauce over chicken, and sprinkle cilantro over each plate. Serve with rice or noodles to soak up the sauce.

We served this with blanched green beans, and it was an excellent accompaniment. It's essential to have some kind of light vegetable on the side, even a salad, to freshen it up. Chutney would also work wonderfully to do this.

9 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

I can tell that you will be a fabulous WIFE! This dark art is a skill that requires many hours of practice. I advise you to continue your practicing, but beware...LB can read your blog so you may have to change your tactic which I advise you NOT posting on your blog. Job well done! LOL!

LB-food looks good. When I come for the wedding, you can cook for me! I will even clean up and do the dishes. Now is that a deal or what???

Dawn said...

I second Vickie's comment...I think that you may already be better at that dark art than I am (and I've been married for over 8 years). It made me laugh and think: Harry Potter for the Housewife, Dark Arts Every Woman Should Know.

michelle said...

Vickie, Oh don't worry, I would never reveal all my secrets! I've been in "wife" training for a while now, and heck, I've learned from the best!

Dawn, ha ha, I was thinking of Harry Potter when I came up with the title...and the rest just sort of evolved. I bet you're really a pro in the dark arts; don't worry, I won't tell...

Anthony said...

Just tried this recipe tonight - quick, tasty, and versatile. Very nice! We added in a couple of chiles, some Asian greens, green beans, and some garam masala mix (MDH brand, from India, available at Sunrise).

By the way, congrats on the "alternate recipe" too!

michelle said...

Hi Anthony,
Glad you liked it - sounds like you made some wonderful additions to the recipe. I need to use Sunrise a lot more, especially since it's just down the street from my house and I love all the people that work there. You know, yours was the first blog I ever discovered! Thanks for the congrats!

Anthony said...

Really? Wow, I hope I gave you a good intro!

That's so funny that you live near Sunrise - before getting my house, I lived down near 29th & Willamette. Typical Eugene, no?

Now I'm much closer to that Asian shop on West 11th; I've been in there once or twice, and it seemed pretty cool, but I haven't gotten in there properly to see how it measures up to Sunrise...

michelle said...

Well, you must have, because eventually I started up my own blog! You didn't live in my house, did you?! After I posted pics of my kitchen I had comments that people had been to parties at my house before I lived there! I've never been to Kings, but I've wanted to stop in there every time I make it down to that part of town.

Anthony said...

LOL. Good blog, too - great pics.

Wasn't your house - I had a wee apartment. The kitchen was one of the main reasons I got it though. It was big, for an apartment kitchen, with a half wall to the living room. Very easy to have friends over, do a huge mess o' cooking, and keep up the chat while the stove was going.

michelle said...

Ha! The kitchen is the reason I wanted our place too - at least you didn't have to share your wee little apartment with as many roommates as I do my house - we've had up to 6 of us living there at once! Usually it's only 3, thankfully. Thanks for the compliments as well ;)