The excuse I’ve been using for lack of knitting content is the bike. But it really isn’t all about the bike these days. I’ve been spending a ton of time on something I never imagined I would. Cooking. Yes, I can hear the collective gasp. It is such a far cry from, say, a year ago. A year ago I was lucky to get one decently home cooked meal in a week. Everything else was leftovers, quick snacky foods, and to a lesser extent eating out. But, at this point, situations in my life have conspired to make me into someone who cooks far more regularly.
I’d say this is a combination of events. You see, I’ve got a wonderful man in my life who loves to eat and at least acts like he loves to help in the kitchen. He takes an active role in meal planning as well as cooking and is always helping to think of what next addition to the meal we should try in order to make it even better than before. No running off and sitting in front of the TV while his woman cooks for this guy, he takes pleasure in the kitchen activities. For me, it has almost become relaxing. Coming home, focusing on the planned meal, pouring a couple glasses of wine and getting to work helps me remove the cares of the work day and wind down for the evening. At first I did a lot of instructing, but these days the roles are almost seamless, he just steps in where he is needed and gets to work. And the sharing of our days and the laughter is just the icing on the cake.
We have yet to have a meal failure. And while our successes are great, we also keep adding to the recipes we grew up with, improving on them and suiting them to our tastes. I’ve always had a great deal of insecurity when it comes to cooking. This has everything to do with having a mother who is a cooking genius. I never felt that I could compare, and where kitchen stuff is concerned, I just always felt like a bumbling fool. Now, however, with so much success in the kitchen and a man who tells me regularly just how good everything tastes, I’ve gained a fair bit of confidence, which just makes me want to cook more.
Now, all of this would already work toward ensuring that I’d cook a heck of a lot more than I had in the past, but there is another factor at play as well. Our very dear friends and the couple that we spend the most time with also enjoy cooking together. And we enjoy them. And because of this, we decided that the best way to get us together each week without it costing an exorbitant amount of money is to set aside one evening a week to cook together, all 4 of us. The fact is, all the same ways cooking relaxes me applies to this as well. Now instead of being with one other person who won’t judge if my meal fails, I am around 3 people, all actively participating in the cooking who won’t judge if the meal fails or if I’ve just had a bad day. They’ll cook with me, they’ll listen to me, I’ll hear about their days, and by the time the food is consumed, I am full, happy, and relaxed.
And so, because I have a lot less knitting content, and because there are almost always pictures taken of the food, I intend to post about food a bit more. Don’t expect the meals to be healthy, though they sometimes will be. Don’t expect them to be fancy, because I seriously doubt they will be. Don’t expect someone who makes a plate look like it does in a restaurant, because I don’t care about that, and don’t expect the portion sizes to be small. I am not even particularly interested in posting recipes, though if you were to really ask, I’d do so. Maybe. But I can’t commit to it. This is entirely unknown and uncharted territory for me!
First up is our version of boiled dinner. The boiled dinner I grew up on, which we called Ala Nana, was very basic. Onion, potatoes, green beans, and Kielbasa. You’ve got your food groups pretty well covered there, and the meal appeals to picky eaters like my brother and I were. (Some would argue still are!) When Jeremy and I started cooking this dinner, he thought to add carrots to it. I didn’t love this idea, but I went along with it. Turns out it is a fantastic addition. While growing up I think the green beans were generally frozen, I’ve been using fresh green beans. I also add a fair amount of garlic for no other reason than because I believe garlic belongs in just about everything. This dinner is quick and easy for a week night and is a consistent hit with us. Each time we make it, we are thrilled with our meal. However, the other night, we came by some thai chilis, and decided to add just two of them to the boiled dinner. It took the entire meal up a notch or two in the heat department, and way up in the flavor department. We could not have been more thrilled with the dinner, I don’t actually think there is anything we could do to improve it at this point. We also had brussel sprouts, something I will post a bit more about another day. But, really, we cannot get enough brussel sprouts. I do not think it is even possible.