As I noted in Doing Stuff You Love, my wife and I love to cook together. She’s recently started food blogging which she gets a kick out of. A side benefit to this is that my family has been eating even better lately. Unfortunately, we often have to sit through her taking pictures before we get to eat. Oh well, I can live with that! So as a toast to her, here is an un-food blog in my own style. It’s less about the food for me and more about the stories and experiences. Plus, I’ve been wanting to piece together some good pictures and use them in a blog entry in an organized fashion.
The first and shortest part to this will be the toast. I’m used to being efficient when cook. I learned how in a restaurant and I tend to cook more on our at-home-date-nights. By efficient, I mean that I plan things out, get my prep done in advance, then get a timetable in my mind of when things need to be ready and in what order. Meals come together in parallel with salads, main courses, and sides all going at the same time. I often like the frenzy. Lately though, I’ve been slowing things down from parallel to serial processes just to enjoy the cooking. Nothing helps this like a good drink. It might be a glass of wine, a hand-shaken margarita, glass of bourbon, or even some vodka with blue-cheese-stuffed olives. Sometimes (see the olives) this actually requires prep in itself. However, if I’m cooking then I get to prioritize and take care of this first.
When I cook, I often get an idea in my head and either experiment or research recipes for inspiration. I’ve got a fairly evolved sense of what tastes good when combined. This improvisation generally comes out really well. Unless its something precise, I tend to eyeball ingredient amounts and taste along the way. I’ve built up a guacamole recipe (below in the upper left corner) that I can do a few different ways. That’s always welcome at parties and sometimes I’ll make it along with a margarita so I can nosh and have a drink when I’m cooking Mexican. Another attempt which only turned out so-so were the fried blue cheese olives (just to the right of the guacamole in the picture below). They sound amazing and take just a bit more effort than stuffing the olives for a martini. Actually, that’s not true. Hand battering things is a gummy mess. And the olives came out too salty (although my son just walked by and said he liked them). They look pretty fab though, don’t they?
Other ideas I’ve gotten in my head turn out pretty awesome. The pasta dish just above started as a side dish and turned into an entree by the time I was done with it. OK, so I happened to have prosciutto, pine nuts, and goat cheese in the house and fresh basil in the garden. Each ingredient just seemed like it belonged there and didn’t seem to be that crazy at all. Awesomeness. In the final pane above are grilled peaches over ice cream. The grilled peach idea was planted in my head Inception-style at some point. Actually doing the dish was just a matter of slicing the peaches and tossing them with some brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and a splash of bourbon then putting them on the Weber for a bit. Something similar happened below with the grilled Caesar salad with shrimp below. Experimentation can be a lot of fun and usually pays off.There are also plenty of times when I use a recipe. The ribs below come from a competitive BBQ cookbook I was given for Father’s Day. The author talked so highly about earning a living making these ribs that I had to give them a shot. It’s a long and involved process that’s got and insane number of steps. The result was a completely quiet dinner table aside from the odd “ooooooh” or “mmmmmmm”. The shot on the lower right is a recreation of an Asian fish recipe from The Atlanta Fish Market. For me, this was a dish worth going to the restaurant for. I found the recipe published online and it turns out to be pretty easy. This is one of those efforts that makes me prep ahead then work in parallel. It’s rewarding though and nearly impossible to mess up. Finally, there’s a caprese salad. A good dish that’s simple and goes with anything.
Thanks for reading this bit of indulgence. I’ll be cooking moules frites tonight then guest blogging them for my wife – just because I want to.
So scroll back up to the top, pour a glass of something, and make a toast to doing stuff you love! By the way, there’s a high-res copy of each picture a click away for your drooling pleasure 😉
I've been in the software sales and service industry since 1994. I am an avid biker, father of two, and have been happily married for nearly 25 years. This blog is simply to share some thoughts on what can help make you more aware of yourself and therefore more successful in your interactions.
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