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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Myspace Migration: I'm? A Culinary Genius

I am, perhaps, a culinary genius. Seriously, I made the BEST dinner tonight! Let me walk you through my cooking experience. It started with a glass of wine: Jackie gave me a bottle of Reisling, one that she likes. It was Weingut Kurt Hain, Riesling - was a little too tart and bubbly for my taste. Almost tasted carbonated. But, I digress. Anyway, I took Spanish olive oil and coated a pan and threw in Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Thatch Pablanos, Roasted Tomatoes, and let them simmer in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. I then threw in some chicken breasts and cooked them to a lovely golden brown. They were flaking with the fork and they were juicy! Perfect!
I had cooked some brown rice (I do not like white rice) while I was cooking the chicken. So, while the chicken is sitting, flavor melding with all those beautiful roasted veggies, I cooked some cream sauce with hatch pablanos. Mixed in some pico for added consistency (not into runny sauce). OMGoodness, the presentation rocked! Created a circle of brown rice on the plate, placed the breasts in a heart shape. Why? 'Cause I'm a chick and I can, that's why. :) Actually, I thought the girls would like it. Then, I layered the roasted veggies on and topped it with the sauce. It looked SOOOO beautiful! And it tasted even better. *Sigh...

I love to cook. I love to entertain, too. Cooking for people brings me a lot of joy. And not just because I get to show off. For me, it's a way to show I care. So, I take a lot of care with cooking. A huge improvement over a decade ago, when literally the only thing I didn't burn was spaghetti. I've always been good at making sauce. Go figure. I remember the first big meal I tried to make my husband after getting married. We had just gotten back from our honeymoon and I wanted to show him how much I cared. I had been working 100-hour work weeks (literally, we were getting ready for product launch) and so I took off early one Friday and decided to make shark in white wine sauce with grilled asparagus and stuffed mushrooms. I.Burned.Everything - and spilled the shark dish in the oven. We finally ended up moving, we never did get the smell out.

Over the years, cooking became a way to show Jason's friends and our family that they were welcome. I began cooking for his friends when they played computer games at our house all weekend. Then, I started entertaining work people, friends, and neighbors. I felt so alive making quiche for our church (my quiches are really, really good)... it felt good doing something with my hands. I used to wonder, "Is this how a carpenter feels?" I know, kind of goofy.

Last year, I was on a Thai kick. Made TONS of Thai dishes. I'm sure my kids would rather chew their own arm off then eat another pad thai noodle. LOL So, this year I'm on a wider, European kick. Spanish dishes, French cuisine, Italian food... yummy stuff. I'm really into French and Tuscan herbs (not so much together, though). I've had fun with the Thatch festival, though; so we've done a lot of Latin cooking this month.

Fall is a great time for cooking. I like to go to the Farmers Market during the fall - another thing you should do, if you haven't. The farmer's market rocks. Butternut squash - that's my favorite thing to cook in the fall and it's not even remotely healthy when I get done with it. I hollow the center, stuff it with butter and brown sugar and bake it. Definately not healthy, but sinfully yummy. Do the same thing to baked apples. Great fall fare.

Anyway, cooking makes me happy. It's even cathartic and I'm really glad I've gotten back into it. If you're into cooking, what are your favorite things to cook? If you're not, what brings you joy??

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