Saturday, January 15, 2011
SUZI: The Chef
When Scott and I first got married, I wasn't much of a cook. I didn't really like cooking. I would have much rather gone out to eat. I cooked because I had to, but there certainly wasn't much enjoyment. Part of the problem was that I'd follow a recipe exactly only to get less-than-perfect results. It was exasperating! All that time and all those ingredients down the drain. Among others, I remember undercooked broccoli cheese twice baked potatoes, tasteless chicken, chewy stew meat, tart spaghetti sauce and overdone cookies.
A few years down the road, and a lot more practice under my belt, I really enjoy cooking. I've learned to make adjustments to recipes, throw some things together without a recipe at all and try a variety of flavors mixed together. Now I would much rather eat my own cooking than go out.
Homemade food feeds you a little differently than store bought, out of the box mixes. There's something about the time and love that go into the dish that makes it a little more satisfying for both the "cooker" and the "eater."
Scott and I have pretty traditional roles when it comes to the kitchen. I do most of the cooking/baking and Scott does the grilling. (Although Scott does make a delicoius Mexican cornbread. Yum!) Although sometimes we cook together, and we both have a wonderful time. We listen to music while we chop, sautee and mix. We serve up our food on lovely plates and declare, "This is better than a restaurant!" Then we decide how much we would pay if we were eating the food somewhere else. "You'd pay at least $10 for that sandwich in a nice deli!" "This steak would be $25 in a restaurant!" Then we gloat at how much money we saved.
A lady I used to work with volunteered with children in abuse shelters. She believed that cooking was one thing that brought everyone together. Even the very young children could help with something. The children could talk or be silent - either way, cooking was what brought them together. Afterward, they would all enjoy the fruits of their labor together.
If you've been eating out-of-a-box food, here are some yummy recipes to get you back in the kitchen:
Apple Pumpkin Muffins (I leave off the streuel topping, and they're still yummy):
Chocolate Cake with this Topping. (There is nothing healty about this!)
Old Fashioned Apple Cake (one of Scott's favorite...I cut the glaze in half...just keep saying it's an apple cake to try to convince yourself there's something healthy in it)
Curried Chicken with Almonds and Dried Fruit
Lemony Lentil Soup with Greens
Good, Ol' Fashioned Pancakes
Spicy Ginger Tea
4 cups of water
4-5 slices of fresh ginger
A few strips of orange peel
4 pods of cardamom
2 cups of milk, low-fat
4 teaspoons of tea leaves (Assam)
Brown sugar (according to taste)
Put the water, cardamom, ginger slices, orange peel, and cloves in a saucepan, bring to boil, then cover and simmer for about ten minutes. Add the tea leaves and milk and simmer for another two minutes. Turning off the heat, allow it to steep for about 4-5 minutes or according to how strong you want it. Strain the tea and add sugar according to taste. Serve hot.
Thai Peanut Butter Chicken
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanutbutter
3 T soy sauce
3 T water
2 T cooking oil
Heat all ingredients in pan over medium heat until dissolved. Serve over chicken (or beef or pork) and cooked veggies of your choice. Serve with rice or noodles. Yum!