I'm not very good at relaxing, yet cooking works for me. It allows me to be methodological and nit-picky (as I am about many things!) yet also to have fun and to enjoy myself because I believe that our emotions are cooked into our food (ever read Like Water for Chocolate?!) I get excited to come home after a long day at work and put together a meal I've planned . My goal is to keep my food shopping around $100/wk (its just me and my husband), to cook healthy, low-fat, and mostly non-dairy as I'm often lactose intolerant. And because I get home late at night, it needs to be able to be cooked in 30 minutes or so. All while making my meat-and-potato-husband happy :) It's always a challenge, but one I look forward to!
My favorite things to cook
We like spicy food!! My favorite things are often stir-fry's where I can mix lots of flavors and vegetables up quickly. But I am lately getting kind of sick of the same M.O. and have been leaning towards soups, and lots of Indian food (yum!) - I am obsessed with fall flavors right now (beets, pumpkin, cranberries). I make an effort to have 50% of the meal be vegetables, then add a protein (often chicken, shrimp, fish or pork) and a carbohydrate (rice, pasta or potatoes). On weekends when I get a chance I love to can. Sauces mostly, but with a rainy winter coming up I hope to branch out to pickled veggies and beans!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom never enjoyed cooking. She enjoys eating, but is happy to eat what's in front of her. Growing up she used to clip out recipes from the newspaper for things she could feed a family of four without too much effort. It was always a chore to her, but my sister and I have grown up as super foodies somehow. We both love to cook! My sister prefers to cook gourmet, but she only does it when she has time and ends up eating less than exciting meals during the week. I prefer for every meal to be exciting (or try to be) and I actually think i took a few great tips from my mom about trying new recipes each week and aiming towards a goal of making it quick yet interesting. No need for newspapers though - we have allrecipes! :) My "mom's meatsauce" is one of our favorite meals and its so super simple! who would have thought?! thanks mom!
My cooking triumphs
My biggest triumph is the fact that I can cook at all! I had never cooked a thing in my life until my husband (then boyfriend) and i moved in together. He is a disaster in the kitchen (if i say "honey, please keep an eye on the chicken" and i come back and it's smoking, he says "what, i was watching it!" haha -very funny, honey.) So i taught myself to cook on a fold out table, taking hours to prep my meals because my knife skills were so bad. we ate terribly for a year or two, but practice makes perfect and my supporting membership is here to tell the tale! I am now confident enough in my cooking that I can scan a recipe for a new idea but play with the recipe and it's flavors to my liking. I know what I like and I know how to incorporate it into new ideas and new recipes.
My cooking tragedies
Oh, but there have been so many. With the good, come the bad, and because i like to try new things all the time, i dont always succeed. however, it always helps me to know which recipes are the definite keepers!