Now we’re cooking with gas!

January 24, 2007

I don’t quite know when I got interested in food. The actual cooking of it, the preparation, recipes, watching Food Network and Top Chef on TV, reading cookbooks…

Possibly it started as a way to get out of having to do the dishes, in all of the places I have lived in, if you cooked dinner for everyone you didn’t have to do dishes. And I DETEST doing dishes, something L. can attest to very vocally.
Possibly it started when I worked in a traditional European restaurant. I call it traditionally European because the head chef is a wonderful Romanian man, who is gigantic and slightly overwhelming when you start serving, but is in fact a teddy bear of a human being. He can pair food and wine like no one else and has a soft spot for unusual and exotic wines. Working at his restaurant (off and on for 3 years) was an interesting experience and allowed me to try all sorts of food combinations I otherwise wouldn’t have, see the inner workings of a kitchen and learn a BUTTLOAD about wine.

Possibly it stems from my childhood. My parents made sure we tried everything. A plate with only two colors is not a complete meal for me. My father would often order something unusual in a restaurant and make sure we tasted it before (and expressed our love of it) before telling us it was lengua (ground cow tongue, really fabulous) or squid. My sister and I are now avid sushi eaters, lovers of Ethiopian food, and willing to try just about any food thats put in front of us at least once.

who knows…

I find cooking very relaxing, when I’m stressed out or frustrated, it’s not unusual to find me making biscuits, or cookies or dinner in the kitchen. With my pregnancy making me crazy hormone girl and feeling a little lonely being at home all day, I’ve tried to cook dinner as often as possible.

My recipe collection (the dishes I can make well) is slowly growing. I’m well versed in Mexican food (from my Nana and my Dad), I cook a delightful pot roast (a skill first learned for an ex-girlfriend), and I adore making soups, my cream of tomato is my favorite. Mostly I stick to comfort foods, Thai style salmon with glass noodles, grilled cheese and tomato soup, hummus, fajitas, chicken with rice, Minestrone soup, Manacotti (a dish I first tried for a friends birthday). All of these are easy and taste good and most everyone enjoys them.

Lately, I’ve been slightly frustrated with my partners limited palate.  L. has some food issues which are more entertaining than  life threatening and cooking for him is a little bit of a challenge. I’ve learned to make new things, how to grill a steak, how to let go of any dreams of candlelit gourmet meals. And when I really want to make something new (or something he won’t eat) or try an unusual food I call up my less picky friends like Molls, or even better Pablo Norte (who I assume will eat almost anything!) or my dad and get my fix.

At the new place we have a gas stove, which I adore having grown up cooking on one. Electric stoves are fine, but gas is much easier to work with. I have used it in limited quantities, since I have no earthly idea how to cook for only 2 people. But it’s great.

Today I’m making a pot roast. I’ll make Luke pick up a loaf of sourdough and a bottle of blood orange soda on his way home and we’ll have a lovely little feast.

Tomorrow is fajita night (it’s a weekly thing here)

This is one part of staying home I can enjoy…maybe I’ll bake bread tomorrow…


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