Monday, May 28, 2012

Thing Number Eleven | Nourish

I don’t like to cook. I used to say that I hated to cook but now I just don’t like it. I don’t enjoy cooking. My mother is an excellent cook; we almost always had a home-cooked dinner when I was growing up. She says she doesn’t like to cook but you’d never know it. My sister is an excellent cook and she likes to cook. Here’s my thing:  I can slave over a recipe and Jon may not like it. I may not like it. Even if we both like it, all that work is devoured quickly and then what have I got to show for it? The memory of a great meal?

Here are some of the things I cook well:  enchiladas  |  beef stew in the crock pot  |  Mom’s biscuits  |  Mrs. Neufeld’s plum cobbler  |  Aunt Liz’s spaghetti sauce (but now I like to add quinoa to the recipe)  |  Mom’s tacos (we include potatoes with the ground beef and we fry tortillas for the shells)  |  potato cheese soup (I use a “Black Angus” recipe)  |  lasagna  |  tortilla casserole (I think this one is Aunt Amie’s recipe)  |  steak (I am gradually weaning Jon from needing to have his steaks cooked well)  |  cheating (and lower-fat) fettucine Alfredo  |  omelets  |  Mrs. Field’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies  |  quesadillas  |  Michael’s cheating (and lower-fat) refried beans  |  pizza (I use Trader Joe’s pizza dough and the pizza sauce recipe is from the Top Chef cookbook)  |  squash  |  jello eggs (embarrassing, but this is what Dad and Luke request at family gatherings)  |  pot roast with roasted vegetables  |  barbecue chicken (with Bone Suckin’ Sauce)

There are more things that I cook, but that’s the list that came to mind. Lately, I’ve been baking bread. I have Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day and I bought all the equipment (tubs to hold my dough in the fridge, a pizza stone, a pizza peel, all the different flours) and, so far, the breads have been a success! My favorite is pain d’Epi but Jon made an amazing French toast from my granola bread. I’m lucky that Jon is interested in cooking. He’s my breakfast guy:  pancakes, French toast, and crepes. He’s also a baker:  his molten chocolate lava cakes are unbelievable (the secret is almond extract) and his cinnamon rolls at Christmas are acclaimed throughout both our families. Jon also makes the only kind of sweet potato I like (besides sweet potato fries). He makes a mashed sweet potato, topped with caramelized apples, to take to Thanks-
giving and that is one yummy dish. Even my dad likes it!

I’m trying to cook more and to cook better. Luckily, Jon and I both love veggies. We’ve given some new foods a go:  quinoa, edamame, eggplant (that was a fail; it sort of poisoned Jon—did you know eggplant can be toxic?!?), yellow squash. Jon’s even given some old aversions a go:  he’s more accepting of onions and is almost able to tolerate bell peppers. Almost. But not quite. Last night, we had a light meal of carrots, grape tomatoes, and pain d’Epi. Jon ate that but I cut up my grape tomatoes, added some thinly sliced burrata cheese, topped it with chiffonade basil from my basil plant, and drizzled balsamic vinegar over it all for a modified salade caprese; sooooo good! I don’t like to cook but I do like to eat.

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