Cooking: From a Rachel to a Monica?

As a single person living alone in NYC, my dinner routine can best be described as: seamless.com, delivery.com, the pizza place next to my apartment, bowls of cereal, and the occasional set of three meals from Blue Apron when I’m feeling ambitious. So for this weekend’s routine maintenance, I decided that I was actually going to cook something from one of the many cookbooks I own. You know, the ones that look SO pretty on the shelf in my kitchen but that I never actually use:

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Naturally, I chose to start with this one:

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I have been known to refer to reruns of Friends as the “adult version of a security blanket.” There’s just something about that show that makes me feel happy and good and safe. That said, I’m still waiting for my NYC life to resemble theirs. When is my job going to calm down such that I can spend hours and hours in a coffee shop every day and still get paid? And would it be possible to trade the potheads across the hall for a Joey and a Chandler? I’m really good at foosball…they would love me! Also I still haven’t been stuck in an ATM vestibule with a celebrity, but I know that when I do, the best thing to say is “gum would be perfection.” But I digress…

My mom bought me Cooking With Friends years ago at a garage sale for like $1. I love flipping through it, but I’ve only ever made one recipe from it. It’s a recipe from The One With George Stephanopoulos when Rachel is having a little bit of a quarter life crisis:

“Okay, I’m not just waitressing. I mean…I’m… I, um… I write the specials on the specials board, and, uh… and I, uh… I take the, uh, dead flowers out of the vase…um, oh, and, um, sometimes Arturo lets me put the little chocolate blobbies on the cookies.”

I, too, can put the chocolate blobbies on the cookies. I am basically Rachel Green.

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So it was time to pick another recipe. I was really tempted by a few, but ultimately I landed on Onion Tartlets a la Monica. Mostly because it’s one of the recipes in the book that really is from a specific episode: The One With The Stoned Guy. Some of the other recipes are just sort of generally Friends-themed because they’re comfort food (for when it’s not your day, your week, your month, or even your year). Also I couldn’t find the recipe for a traditional English trifle. Because OBVIOUSLY I would have made that.

Turns out the recipe I chose was problematic from the start. I needed a food processor and a rolling pin. I own neither of these items. What I do own is a blender and a wine bottle wrapped in saran wrap. So that is how I managed to make the crusts for the tartlets. I have no doubt that Monica would be proud!

Then it was time to slice and cook the onions. The recipe said to cook them until you stop crying. Well…pro-tip: wear your ski goggles while working with onions and you won’t even start crying in the first place! And if you live in a small NYC apartment like me, you keep your ski gear in the kitchen closet so those goggles are practically a kitchen utensil/appliance anyway. Forget a rolling pin, I own goggles!

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Finally it was time to put the tartlets into the oven. I’m not gonna lie…I was feeling nervous. They just didn’t look quite right. I actually forgot to take a photo at this stage because I was sort of consumed with the idea that the crust was going to get stuck in the pan and the eggy mixture that I poured over the onions seemed like it sort of overflowed out of the crust. But it was what it was and regardless of how they turned out, this was dinner. So into the oven they went. And then 20 minutes later, they came out looking okay and they’re pretty delicious. Maybe I should Julie and Julia this thing. Only it will be Caroline and Monica…and Rachel, and Phoebe, and Joey, and Chandler, and Ross.

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