Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cooking!

I've been cooking lately. Mostly on the weekends, when I get a good idea, I make a dinner all by myself! Brock gets to stay out of the kitchen.

It's not that I can't cook, that's not the amazing thing, it's that I really didn't like it. I get very tense about the measurements of things, how long to cook stuff, how it doesn't look right, that it might taste bad, all those things. I still feel that way, but for some reason, this past summer, I really wanted to spend time in the kitchen making stuff.

A few weeks ago I decided I needed salsa. Not just any salsa, no store bought stuff. I wanted nice, chunky, fresh salsa. I did a quick google search and didn't really find anything I liked, so I figured I would try something out, based on some of what i did find on the internets.

I made my own recipe for salsa. Yes, you heard me right. The one who is terrified of not measuring exact and following the recipe to a 'T' made her own recipe. Of course, it was for something very simple - seriously, it ain't easy to screw this up. But I tried it and I liked it and I even use a hot pepper! Yes, me, the 'this better be mild or else I ain't eating' person added a hot pepper to her salsa and ATE IT!

Very simple - chopped tomatos, chopped peppers (bell), chopped onion, chopped cilantro, juice a lime, a little salt and one small hot pepper chopped very fine with no seeds or ribs (and this is the only thing that Brock does in this recipe!) It's awesome! I'm making some today!

I found that I didn't have to be exact (well, except when baking). That playing with the recipe a little wasn't a bad thing. I'm not as adventurous as Brock or Jennifer who both seem to really like making good food. I'm just starting to learn how to loosen up a little and have some fun in the kitchen. I also find it good time spent making my family a meal.

I started to cook over the summer because I wanted to use my herbs growing in my garden. I've made fresh pesto, which was REALLY good. I've made lots of different things with tarragon (well, not LOTS, but a few more than just my step-dad's Chicken tarragon in tomato cream sauce recipe).

I hated meat - beef, that is - before I got pregnant. The only time I ate steak is if I was at someone's house for dinner and that is what they were serving and there wasn't anything else. I think I went for a whole decade without eating beef - well, except for hamberger - that's GOOD! After being pregnant, I have found either my tastes have changed or my body just NEEDS beef now, for whatever reason. I can't get enough steak these days. And, I barely will have it worse than Medium-rare these days - I eat it pink-red! Would never, NEVER happen before Leda! You can imagine my husband's GREAT delight in this change in events. He gets a LOT more steak these days!

I still don't think I can cook steak yet - but I did make a great shish kabob out of chunks of london broil, onions and peppers. The steak is marinated in a margarita bath (YUMMMMM!) for about an hour or more and WOW does it taste good! I loved that recipe.

I decided I needed to have baklava - I LOVE baklava. I figured I would try to make it. Besides some issues with the filo dough (the stuff I bought was all a mess) I made a whole batch of baklava that was just AWESOME. It really wasn't that hard - a little patience is all you need (HA! Yes, I know I am not the most patient person you all know, but I was when making this!) It turned out pretty good and I sent some next door to our wonderful neighbors and we gave some to my father. Which was a good thing because else, I was gonna be eating the whole darn thing! I'll probably be making some of that for the holidays!

I like to catch some Food Network shows on Saturdays to get my inspiration. I love Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) and have made her Shrimp bisque recipe. That came out okay - it could have been a bit creamer, but that was probably me, not the recipe. We've taken to watching Emeril Live on the week nights this past week - since we only have the TV in our bedroom, after dinner we will gather in the bedroom until Leda's bed time and watch Emeril - or "Mommy's Noggin'" as Leda calls it. Toward the end of the week, it was, "let's watch the cooking guy." I think she likes the cooking shows!

So I am waiting for some insiration to hit me so I can come up with an awesome dinner for tonight or tomorrow night. So far, only Tyler's Ultimate has inspired me to make roasted creamy tomato soup! Yum! We'll see what other inspirations come from my Saturday morning "Noggin'"!

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