What We’ve Been Eating
I haven’t been blogging much lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. When I first decided to teach myself to cook, and started writing this blog six years ago, I shared every meal, because every one felt like a tiny revelation. I learned so much every night at dinner time. Now I have a solid set of techniques and favorite recipes in my apron pocket. I find that I don’t have as much to say about dinner, because these days it’s often something tried and true, with maybe one or two slight twists. I still love to cook, but I don’t feel the same thrill of learning something new (well, not all of the time, though there are still nights when I’ll pick an intense-looking recipe with some unknown-to-me ingredient or technique).
So what does the kitchen look like, now that I’ve settled into more of a predictable rhythm? What recipes are part of the Kitchen Illiterate repertoire these days?
I still love soup, especially now that the evenings are cooler. Soup is incredibly versatile, which makes it a no-brainer for a weeknight when there are things I’d rather do than cook dinner. I loved this lentil and swiss chard version, with carrots and turnips.
Remember Johnny Machete? Oh boy, I do. And it really is delicious. Throw off your disdain for the hearty casserole and dig in. You will not regret it.
One evening, I sliced up the last of the summer tomatoes and eggplant and zucchini very thinly, and layered them in a baking dish. I drizzled the whole thing with olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and oregano, and baked it until everything was soft and melted together into one happy summery dish. We ate it simply with a baguette. I love this kind of dinner: no thinking required.
And there have been salads, crunchy green salads with peppers and radishes, cabbage and almonds, apples and avocado, and whatever delicious things I can find in our crisper. Sean makes a mean salad dressing. A salad and a grilled steak make for a perfect dinner sometimes.
My cooking has become an exercise in agility, using a template in my head and filling it in with the ingredients I have on hand. In some respects, my fascination with cooking has gone from a rolling boil to a quiet, steady simmer. I’ve focused my drive to learn and take on new challenges in other areas (I’m a little obsessed with my sewing machine right now). The years I spent teaching myself to cook have paid off, because I’m confident in the kitchen now, and I can whip up a healthy dinner any night of the week without having to think about it too much. I still love to try new recipes from time to time, and I do hope to still take the time to share those with you, but my singular obsession with it has dimmed a little, it must be said.
If you haven’t yet delved into the world of cooking, it is such a completely worthwhile endeavor. Knowing how to make a meal changes things. I eat better and healthier than I ever have in my life, and I would never be able to say that if I hadn’t decided, back in November of 2006, that I wanted to have a food blog.