Now that I am a full-fledged housefrau, I have a little more time to concoct edible delights. You know, move past the jell-o-with-whipped-cream phase into more of a home-made-brownies-with-bailey's phase of cooking.
Lately, I've been pretending that I own a little bistro. Please note that I do not aspire to actually owning a bistro. I could think of nothing more horrifying than making people pay me to eat my sometimes dubious cooking. But when I'm in the kitchen, I day dream a lot, and one of my fantasies is that I'm the owner of a funky restaurant in Kinkytown and I'm being interviewed by some idiot on the Food network about my fascinating menu.
It often goes something like this:
Idiot from Food Network: So tell us about today's exciting features!
Funky Bistro Owner (aka Me): Well, in the summer we make both a hot soup and a cold soup -
Idiot: Uh Huh! Wow! Cold soup!
FBO: - and a choice of two daily salads that change every day -
Idiot: Wow! Cuz people really love salads!
FBO: (shoots Idiot a look of annoyance) - Yes. Right. So, we have favourites that stay on the menu permanently, like our chili, and we always offer a few gluten-free options -
Idiot: Oh yeah, my sister's totally into the gluten free movement, that's becoming very popular!
FBO: (fingering a sharp skewer) It's not a movement. People have gluten intolerances that make them sick.
Idiot: True, true, but it's a great way to lose weight, isn't it! I love these foodie trends!
FBO (skewers Idiot through heart, hides him in compost pile)
For some reason, having these imaginary interviews and restaurant fantasies inspires me to make different stuff for dinner. I picture myself in the bistro, deciding that today's special will be Thai-inspired, so I'll take the leftover BBQ'd meat from last night, slice it up and roll the meaty goodness inside delicate rice-paper wraps, along with whatever wilty vegetables I can find in the crisper. I'll whip up some peanut sauce (which is different almost every time I make it because I can't remember the real recipe, which came from my vegetarian pal who never writes his recipes down anyway), fry up some tofu, and there we go. Or I'll do a running commentary as I blend two recipes together for a batch of soup, throwing in spices that seem to fit, running out to the garden for a handful of dill or chives and pretending it's part of the organic meadow that magically grows behind the bistro. It's weird, but it works.
Yesterday, I made the "daily salad" specials: wild rice with apple, old cheddar, celery, onion and pumpkin seeds in a honey-dijon dressing, and an improvised raw broccoli/cauliflower salad with shredded carrot, marble cheese, green onion and bacon. Tonight I'm going to make curried summer squash soup, sourced from local farmers, which will be served cold or warm and comes with a side of toasted pita bread for $2.99 a cup or $4.99 a bow- um, oops.
Jade has caught me muttering to myself on more than one occasion in the kitchen; she doesn't say anything, just looks around to see who I'm talking to, and flounces out again when there's nobody interesting in sight. I've heard her having dozens of conversations with imaginary characters
- including the infamous "Mr. Ant" - so perhaps the apple doesn't fall far from the quirky tree.
And so far, I have not skewered anyone in real life.