Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dishes I am proud of

Most of the time I was working, I pushed much of our cooking off on my wife.  Patti Caro's husband told me years ago that the Bible says "He brews" and that is why the husband is to make the coffee.  I took that to be a holy admonition that brewing the coffee is ALL the husband is to do, other than getting an apple or a cheese stick for himself once in a while.

Then, once we were retired and I had time, it was clear that I had to move toward more food preparation.  Lynn told me many times that anyone can cook if they can read and follow a recipe.  Reading I can do but following a recipe is not so easy.  I often skip steps or do them more than once or get them out of order.  But I am improving, at least a little.  

Getting her Phd meant she lived much of the time in a one room apartment 100 miles away.  So, when Thanksgiving rolled around, I had to get the turkey going.  I have a deep respect for oven bags and followed the directions carefully.  The bird looked great.  I was proud, despite the ease of the task.  I can feel pride over very tiny things.

One day, trying to find something to pass the time while she explored glassware in a Pier 1 store, I came across Joie Warner's No-Cook Pasta Sauces.  Several of my best dishes came from that book, which emphasizes cooking the pasta while assembling the other ingredients for the dish.  Add the hot drained pasta to the mix and toss.  

Most impressive dish: chopped fresh dill, chunks of salmon, with chopped red onion.  Lynn pronounced it good enough for company.

Related and good:
  • a can of tuna and fine bits of lemon peel with capers
  • garbanzos and fresh rosemary

My visits to Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y. got me interested in her ideas and recipes.  "The Broccoli Forest" and other cookbooks by Katzen have given us both lots of good ideas.  Lately, I tried her pan-fried grilled chicken breasts and bulgur from "Get Cooking", which we have on our Kindle.  It was ok but her baked cut-up chicken with fruit was a definite hit.  She says many fruits can be used but recommends figs, prunes, and oranges.

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