Monday, November 29, 2010

Learning to Cook

Disclaimer: This is not a cooking blog. I don't know how to cook, but I was so surprised with my progress since August 1, 2009 I couldn't help but share. Experiential Learning at it's finest.
There are several reasons why I don't enjoy cooking. I'll admit, my recipes are not organized and I can never remember what our favorite meals are. I'll say that I don't enjoy grocery shopping, and I'll confess that I have an aversion to touching uncooked meat. It's all a recipe for disaster in the kitchen.

My fridge on Sunday (most days for that matter) wasn't very inspiring either:

For some reason, Sunday dinner became the road less traveled. I decided to 'wing it'. Usually this ends in cereal for dinner, but last night cauliflower was our centerpiece. I managed to pull this off:

Does it look like a crab cake? Fooled ya. I think I once tried a similar recipe from a Rachael Ray magazine, but (see aforementioned disorganization) without the recipe I decided to see what I could do with what I had on hand. Here's what I used:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 handfuls of whole wheat flower
  • 2 pinches of special herbs de province my friend gave me
  • dried basil (I'd season everything with basil if I could. I'm crazy about this herb)
  • some oil
  • lots of spinach
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette
  • shredded parmesan cheese
How that for measurements? I don't measure when I don't have a recipe.

I boiled the cauliflower, but I can't tell you how long because I got it started then had to turn it off while I delivered some cookies to our super. Maybe it took 15 minutes. I just waited until I could smash it down with a fork. After draining and smashing all the cauliflower I added my herbs and eggs then picked out the shells... I didn't mention I can't crack an egg... and my handfuls of flour.

I began heating some extra-virgin olive oil (I thought this would be 'lighter' than frying in butter) in a large skillet and dropped in the cauliflower globs in four-at-a-time to fry. I think there could be other ways to heat them - perhaps by broiling - but I wanted Dom to eat something for dinner and I knew if it was fried he would give it a try.

Once all my little patties were set out on paper towels I rinsed off the spinach, picked off the stems and drizzled in my balsamic vinegar. I made little beds for the patties and shredded some fresh parmesan cheese on top. Not bad at all.

The picture above is the reheats I had with a whole wheat tortilla for lunch. I ran out of balsamic vinaigrette last night so this is Greek feta dressing. Just as I sat down to enjoy the leftovers my dear friend Jill called from Columbus. She said she found my blog and plans to read every post, welcome Jill. I'm happy you're here.

It was very appropriate that she called just as I was thinking about sharing my makeshift cauliflower recipe because it also gives me a platform to shout my hoorays for her chocolate pumpkin cookies I mentioned delivering above. I make these cookies constantly (when I have access to pumpkin) and they're a big hit.

I don't like to share this recipe because it's so easy people might not think of the cookies as a gift. We'll see if Jill really reads and if she gives away my cookie secret.

My mom will tell you, and my college roommates will confirm, that I've come a long way in the past year and a half. Marriage brought out the Julia Child in me. While there's still progress to be made - Julia made tasty food after all - I feel like breaking free from the cookbook to create something edible is a step in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

I don't have the recipe right in front of me but if I remember correctly there are about four ingredients for the wonderful cookies!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. You are one creative cook and you are I remember you wanted nothing to do with the kitchen while growing up. Jeff was my baker (although he hasn't made any of those delicious homemade brownies in a long time). I'm afraid you inherited the lack of interest for grocery shopping. I have pumpkin in the freezer and might be making some of those cookies :)