Cooking up a storm!

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By Caitlin Kelly

It was a veritable frenzy — a combination of impending medical anxiety, again, no work to produce and fall’s slightly cooler temperatures that make our small, un-ventilated galley kitchen more bearable.

In the space of 24 hours I made: curried corn soup, pork chops with red onion and red peppers, (both from a Gordon Ramsay cookbook), morning glory muffins, (a NYT recipe, so good — filled with carrot, walnuts, raisins, coconuts, apple), lemon roasted potatoes and a lemon loaf.

Whew!

I really enjoy cooking, and went through two sweat-soaked T-shirts and bandanas to produce it all. Cooking is physical! All that slicing and chopping and grating and mixing and peeling.

I love having a fridge filled with ingredients — fresh dill, eggs, unsalted butter — and reaching for my baking pantry of flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices and sugars. To make it easier, we have a dishwasher, multiple sets of measuring spoons and cups, multiple mixing bowls, a hand mixer and a small blender; (the poor Cuisinart stays in the garage as there is NO room for it in the apartment.)

 

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COMBO 01A
The left is before; the right is after. I designed the kitchen myself

 

I play loud music on the radio or stereo and off I go. Our stove/oven is a four-burner Bertazzoni and still burns hot. Our kitchen counters are stone, so I sometimes cut directly on them.

I’ve been collecting recipes for decades and have a good collection of cookbooks — favorites include oldies like Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking, The Vegetarian Epicure Part Two, The Silver Palate and Barefoot Contessa. But I also clip recipes all the time from papers and magazines — I made mince tarts last year for the first time, thanks to one in the weekend FT, our preferred weekend read.

When it all turns out well — and it usually does — we sit, light candles, pour wine, and savor what we happily call “restaurant food”, carefully thought out and prepared with care and energy.

I know that, for some people — those with fussy kids or eating disorders or medically restricted diets — food can be a source of frustration and stress. I know I need to lose at least 30 pounds, too, but my intense pleasure at eating a delicious meal is a constant challenge in that regard.

 

Do you enjoy planning a meal, prepping and cooking?

 

What do you like to make?

 

Why?

24 thoughts on “Cooking up a storm!

  1. oh, these all sound lovely! i’d say it was all worth it and i love how you celebrate these ‘restaurant meals.’ one set of cookbooks that i really love are written by donna hay, beautiful tastes and pictures. she is an aussie who my daughter and aussie husband told me about.

      1. I’m so glad that you know her books, even if you didn’t like to cook, they are beautiful to look through. My favorite things to cook are soups, stews, and pasta with fresh sauces.

      2. They are indeed! Love the pix and oversize format. I agree — I love to open the fridge day after day and there is delicious home-made food waiting. NOT a fan of processed anything and I have never owned a microwave.

  2. I do almost all the cooking in my home and most of it is just that, home cooking. Things like white beans and ham with fried potatoes and cornbread are straight out of my Appalachian roots (Thanks, Mom), and there’s this pesto lasagna that gets me pretty high marks from Cathy and my friends, but is a lot easier than it looks.
    Pad se ew is a Thai noodle dish that Cathy is nuts about. It took me about a dozen tries to get it right. We don’t have it as often as we would like because it just isn’t that good unless it’s real greasy and no one needs that every day.
    There’s a restaurant here called Tupelo Honey that makes a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich. I didn’t order one but I made one a couple days later. Fit for the King.
    I don’t like making lots of labor-intensive food, though I will if it’s what is necessary to get it right. I’ll read a recipe over a few times before I decide to go for it. If I find instructions like “Gently stir 1 teaspoon kosher salt into the rapidly boiling water.” (This was in a Cooking Light magazine I don’t remember) or “Dice the shallots on a red oak cutting board with a brand new knife at midnight on a Thursday” (I made that one up), I move on.
    The one place where it’s the hard way every time is cake. I will not, I mean Will. Not. make a cake from a box. I don’t do it often, Cathy gets one for her birthday and maybe one of our friends if the occasion and my mood happen to collide, but when I do it’s always something special. The last one I did was an inside-out German chocolate cake, three layers with the coconut-pecan frosting between them and the outside covered with shiny chocolate ganache. Just like up the holler, y’all. I love pie and have all kinds of good ideas for them but I just pass them along to Cathy because she’s the one who bakes the pies and I can’t touch her. Thanks a lot for bringing this up. I’ve got to go get something to eat. See ya.

  3. I love to cook and bake! I’ve been learning for years, as I had to learn to make sure I got to eat before midnight (my parents had busy schedules), and after I started living in apartments with a roommate and then on my own. It’s healthier, tasty, and saves on money. I have lots of recipes I love to use, and I also discover new ones every now and again. I just learned how to make steak recently, and I have more than a few ways to make chicken that tastes like restaurant quality. And just the other day, I made chocolate chip pumpkin muffins that were dee-licious!
    Next, I want to ask my Mom for her recipe for chocolate mousse. I think that’d be fun to make for a party.

  4. Robert Lerose

    I do all the cooking here for the two of us. There are dozens of cookbooks and literally thousands of clipped recipes in our house. I try to do a lot of cooking on the weekend. With some dishes, I divide them into individual portions in Ziploc bags, and toss them in the freezer. Makes it much easier to have a good meal as the week goes on. On Sunday, I made green split pea soup and a chickpea dish. I love them and they are a great source of non-animal protein. I’ll also bag sliced carrots, celery stalks, lettuce and broccoli to snack on, usually dipped in Newman’s Own salsa. When the weather turns a little cooler, I’ll make a much-loved pumpkin bread recipe.

    Robert

    1. Yum! It’s so much easier to do it all in batches like that. I love split pea soup. We’re still eating the lemon loaf, corn soup, cooked black beans and muffins from a few days ago.

      Trying hard to reduce our grocery bills somewhat — which is tough when we eat 3 meals a day for 2 people on that budget. And we do eat meat and fish.

  5. I love to bake! I find great joy in baking especially during the fall season. Just recently made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I’m dating someone who lives a few hours from me. I gave him a container of the chocolate chip cookies. I loved his reaction when he removed the lid off the container. You smell the aroma of freshly baked cookies. Thankfully, the taste of the cookies matched his reaction to the smell of the cookies. It’s a way to share something that I enjoy. I made enough for my family to have a container. Just what I love to do!

  6. Love what you did with your kitchen-especially the lighting. I, too, love to cook, especially with a good soundtrack going. Last night we made Emeril Lagasse’s “perfect roast chicken” with garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery. So yummy!

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