|Photo from chucktv.net|
Um...guys...I know how to cook.
And I love it.
And I'm really quite decent at it. So decent, in fact, that since Christmas, I've tried at least 15 relatively-simple-yet-new-to-me recipes...many that I'd proudly and confidently serve for dinner, if you called and announced you were coming over tomorrow night. Spice-rubbed pork tenderloin and quinoa with corn and shallots? Easy-peasy and so delicious. Moroccan-style chicken tagine on couscous? Awesome. And even better warmed up for lunch the next day. Mushroom, corn and poblano tacos topped with queso fresco? Jay says he may never eat at Chipotle again.
I've got a wild rice soup recipe that will make you long for snow days...and a chicken pot pie recipe that should qualify me to be someone's grandmother. I'm not even kidding.
To what do I owe this recent barrage of culinary triumph? A good system. And good/idiot-proof recipes. Turns out, cooking isn't all that tough...especially if you plan ahead. As my always truthful and ultra-kitchen-ologically-adept office neighbor says, "That's the big secret...cooking is pretty easy. People just like to brag and make it sound much harder than it really is." Wise, that one. "Baking, on the other hand," she added, "...now that takes talent."
So I've been paging through huge stacks of Food Network Magazine back-issues. I've been getting it since it debuted. And I've never made a thing from it. I've also been scouring my new issues of Cooking Light. Not only are both of these magazines beautiful and delightful to read, they have a delectable range of healthy-to-not-as-healthy recipes, as well as a hearty helping of ideas for weeknight cooking. I sift through each magazine (stack of recipe cards at the ready) and only copy down the things that I know Jay and I would both enjoy eating...AND things that are easy enough to make on a weeknight. Everything else just gets a post-it note. Then we pick out the meals for the week and design our grocery shopping around the featured dishes. I know this isn't rocket science...I know everyone else has been doing this for eons...but I'm excited about it!
I'm still not anywhere near boldly going where no chef has gone before. And I can't even imagine making up my own recipe. In fact, everything I've made is carefully culled from the "weeknight cooking" sections of my two favorite (and aforementioned) magazines. But I'm chopping with confidence and seasoning with zest. I've even made a couple adjustments on the fly...and guess what? Dinner survived!
The best part of it all is when Jay, upon taking the first bite, furrows his brow while raising his eyebrows and stammers (through a full mouth of food), "Wow. That is so good!" I can tell when he's faking it...and he hasn't been. I also love it when he brings his plate to the sink at the end of the meal, looks at me with sleepy eyes born of a warm, full tummy and says, "Gosh do I love you." Though he would swear it isn't possible, I think he loves me a little bit more than he used to.
I feel a little silly being so excited about something as mundane as making dinner. But this has been a huge transformation for us. So I'm celebrating and being excited about stuff all the rest of you have always done! It's quite a bit of time and effort to get lunches and dinners organized for the week...but WOW it is worth it. What a difference this has made!
So to those of you who are seasoned veterans of the kitchen, I salute you! And to those of you who can't yet tell a leek from a scallion, I encourage you to join me in a new adventure. If the last few weeks have proven anything, it is that, truly, anyone can cook!
|Remy's mentor was right...|