Boy, do I love cooking. I've only discovered my true culinary identity in the last few years, so now I'm making up for lost time. I was puttering around in the kitchen with lamb chops and wild rice tonight and it struck me (a thought, not a lamb chop) that I should write about it.
One of the beauties of working at home is that it leaves the perfect chunk of time between signing out and D's arrival home to cook supper. D used to make supper a couple of times a week when we were in the city (which is how I learned to hate tilapia) but I've pretty much taken over chef duties at Someday by choice. I love that my man is self-sufficient and not a bad cook (MEAT-VEG-VEG), and he's my main dude when barbeque season rolls around (oh how I hate the BBQ lighter!) - but there's something about having the kitchen to yourself and peeling through recipe books to find an "aha!" meal. The tunes go on, the Coke with lemon comes out, the dog gets something to gnaw on and I'm off to my magical kitchen escapade for the evening.
I come from a long line of amazing cooks. My mother was a virtuoso in the kitchen, whipping up gourmet concoctions from all cultures. When she died, she had a stack of Gourmet magazines that was almost as tall as I was; I still occasionally want to kick myself for selling her mandolin (the kind you slice with, not the kind you strum). Nana also reigned supreme in her kitchen. I have never to this day tasted roast beef as good as hers was, and I have very happy memories of eating lamb and roasted potatoes in her apartment kitchen ("Oh, I thought you might like a snack.") Even Baba, who leaned towards the simple things in life, made delicious soups and yeasty raisin cakes that she never had recipes for. I would kill for a bowl of her "Kroupki (barley) soup" right now on this -20 degree day.
The lovely, talented (and perpetually good-natured)Jaime has begun posting recipes and meal plans on her funky blog, which is very cool. Her cake in a cup is beyond words - I mostly just moan with pleasure when I eat it with vanilla ice cream and blackberries - and I'm forever indebted to her for the peanut butter ball recipe I made at Christmas. So hey, I'm gonna borrow from her creative brain and post a few of my own favourite recipes here. Not a cook? Well, if foolhardy-and-inexperienced-but-brave me can make stuff, anyone can. I have about a 75% success rate in the kitchen, which occasionally leads to bouts of rage where I throw vegetables and pots around, but I have come to view cooking as more of an art than a science. Sometimes things don't turn out the way you want them to, but that's okay - you just feed it to the dog and try again.
Ode to Alisa (Mom)- Chili Honey Shrimp
Mom loved seafood and used to serve this regularly. I remember my sister's dairy famer boyfriend came for dinner once; he didn't know you weren't supposed to eat the shrimp shells. Oops.
- 15-20 medium sized shrimp, shell on
- 1 clove minced garlic (or more, if you're not kissing anyone later)
- 1 good pinch dried chili peppers
- 1 good pinch sesame seeds
- 4 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp butter
- green onions, chopped
- basil or any herb of your choice
1) Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium heat; saute garlic for about 1 minute.
2) Add shrimp and saute for 30 seconds.
3) Add the chilis; saute for another 30 seconds.
4) Add sesame seeds and onions
5) Turn up the heat to high and add the honey. Stir until thickened. Top with herbs of your choice.
I serve these on Oscar night; you suck the coating off the shrimp, then peel and eat. Yes, it sounds disgusting. But trust me - these are addictive.
Tomorrow: Ode to Baba!