When 2 Chainz decided to put out a cookbook along with his sophomore album B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime, there were generally two reactions, and only two: it either made perfect sense or none at all. It’s the same dichotomy that describes Chainz as a rapper, and makes him simultaneously one of the best and most ridiculous to do it. So with the album digested and on its way to the charts, the staff at XXL decided to take another, closer look at this cookbook. So close a look that we actually, you know, cooked. Flying in the face of many of our natural inclinations, each member of the staff selected one dish from Chainz’s cookbook, fired it up on Sunday, and brought it in for a potluck lunch on Monday. The results—good, bad, and delicious—are below. Enjoy. —XXL Staff
Asparagus with Me Time Sauce
I’d never made asparagus before and had to call my mother for directions of how to buy the stuff. After picking out the right asparagus and getting the rest of the ingredients—since I had nothing but the garlic powder at home—I went home and got to work on the dish. I didn’t dress up in any tracksuit or even put on 2 Chainz tunes because I didn’t think about it until it was too late. But the dish only took me 10 minutes to make. I can’t say the directions were that easy as there wasn’t a specified amount of Old Bay seasoning for the Me Time Sauce. But they weren’t that hard either since the whole thing involved only a handful of steps. I was hoping to start liking asparagus after making it but I didn’t like the smell so I never actually tried the finished product. And with the Me Time Sauce, well, it didn’t matter how much Old Bay seasoning I was supposed to use, I couldn’t find the can of it that I had just bought anyway. So I added some other spice mix thing I had that probably didn’t make sense, but I didn’t use a lot so I think it will be okay… —Vanessa Satten, Editor-In-Chief
Step one of my recipe called for throwing on my favorite Alexander Wang t-shirt. I substituted this for a white Hanes, which seemed to work out all right. I stuck to the script for the rest of the recipe, though, doing as 2 Chainz instructed, from dicing onions to putting on “U Da Realest” and zoning out. This is a pretty straightforward Chicken Marsala recipe, a flavorful one-pan meal, which means less cleanup at the end. I’d never added mascarpone cheese to Marsala sauce before, but it thickened it up and made it less watery than it usually is. Most valuable takeaway from this experience? I should always leave “U Da Realest” on loop while cooking. It helped me to realize my kitchen quarterback potential, dropping work in the pot. —Christine Werthman, Managing Editor
Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa
First off, I was unable to surround myself with a handful of TVs playing SportsCenter, so I settled with my old fashioned tube TV playing the movie Gangsta Squad. Then followed that with cool renditions of lullabies by Jay Z so that my six-week-old son could coo along to it in the background. So the atmosphere was set to begin the cooking adventure with 2 CHAINZ!!
—I started to mix the salsa ingredients but figured out the Mangos I got were too hard. Who the f— knows how to pick Mangos? Not this guy. So I said forget this salsa and went to buy that dessert salsa. Much better decision.
—Mixed the fresh Canned Crab meat since no Bodega near me had fresh lump crab (go figure) and the rest of the ingredients. I guess this recipe is not for someone that does not live near a good grocery store.
—Coated baking pan with a melted stick of butter and prayed that I would not die of a heart attack. Placed cakes in pan and let cook for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes.
—After letting them cool for a few, I tried them with the “Me Time” sauce and Salsa. It was not bad, though I had to add additional breadcrumbs to make this concoction work since I used crappy canned crabmeat. All in all the crab cakes are merely a 1/2 a chain made by me. —Josh Clutter, Photo Director