I’m a fairly good cook, not entirely self-proclaimed. Being a decent cook has its plusses. Friends will happily accept dinner invitations, and nobody orders pizza just before meal time. But it’s also a curse of sorts. Everyone always wants to eat at home. Like my hubby would say it’s your birthday, let’s go out. Or maybe it’s Mother’s Day. He doesn’t use Hon, it’s your whatever day… but often volunteers to peel and chop the ingredients if I put them on the kitchen counter. So I just need to throw them together, easy.
But I like eating out. So I’ve come up with some creative solutions to that problem. First, the freezer is a helpful invention. Second, I can try to have most of my work meetings at restaurants. Oh, I’m sooo booked, back to back, can we meet for lunch? Hmm, but it usually works.
To tell the truth, deep inside I love cooking. The issue is that I’m not into following recipes. I find it booring. Just following a recipe leaves nothing to the imagination, not much room for creativity. It also requires all kinds of measuring devices and mathematical skills. So that’s not for me. I like to shop groceries about once a week, but I don’t plan the meals in advance. No grocery lists based on recipes. And it’s not possible to buy .275 oz, 1/2 dl or 2 teaspoons of anything anyway. So my shopping lists tend to have only a few things on them, items that we don’t buy that often, like batteries or light bulbs. Who remembers to buy light bulbs when they now (finally) last for 2-5 years, if they are not on the list? I know what we like to eat, mostly healthy stuff, so I simply wander around the store and browse what I see. Then I make meals of what we have. That’s simple, and so much more fun. A bit of an artistic challenge, rather than just mechanical work.
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading recipes. I look at them to get ideas, for inspiration. I can sit and browse recipes from the whole world for hours! I particularly like to learn about spices and herbs. If I can’t grow them, and they are not available in the local stores, I can always get them online. So recipes are good, I just can’t follow them.
Last night I had some chicken breasts and made a pasta sauce. In addition to the chicken, I threw together onions, red bell peppers, lemon and then added a little bit of this, a dash of that and a pinch of the other. And a tiny “pour” of cream. It was really tasty with low carb pasta and a fresh salad. But it’s close to impossible for me to remember how I did it…so next time will be a different culinary adventure. I kind of like that.
Today, or maybe tomorrow, I think it might be time to make some pizza. To use some good leftovers. We don’t have pizza very often, maybe three or four times a year, but I like making them. Artistic and tasty toppings on a super thin crust. Like the Kilimanjaro. It has a yellowish alfredo-type mustard sauce and extra cheese to remind us of the surrounding savannah, then small heaps of really thinly sliced beef fillet for mini-mountains, topped with feta cheese for the snow. And a few green bell peppers for bushes and yellow ones for lions lurking around. And some mushroom pieces for other animals. Maybe.
Or it might be time for a completely new one. I’m thinking something like the Red Earth. With a barbeque-tomato sauce and small villages of …say, asparagus-topped chicken and zucchini? Or the Western Farm, with a light tomato-based sauce, just lightly sprinkled with cheese and lots of ongoing activity represented by different veggies? And black olives for tractors in the field?
So that’s what’s cooking.