Tuesdays: Things I’ve learned in Cooking

I want to blog consistently, so I’m going to try and set up certain days I post about certain things. It’s all very certain.

So, for things that I’ve learned this week (the first!): Cooking.

I moved out with my boyfriend and good friend last summer. I was 20, I liked to bake and did so well but not so much cooking. There was trial and error – lemon pasta with too much lemon, fried rice with too much ginger, days were I had no idea what to cook but plenty of food, days were I had so many ideas but no food with no money to buy food, times were all we really had to eat was food our parents gave us, and let’s just say it’s been interesting. I hate getting take out as a way of life, and I’ve tried very hard to use my skills as a cook to make little food into delicious, and a relatively small (but now stable) income into consistently healthy and good cooking.

For this, I had several challenges, the first being the whole income thing – two (and sometimes a third) college students with part time jobs don’t exactly make a lot of money for food. Second, the sad fact that I grew up in a stocked kitchen, with not only every type of broth and pasta was constantly stocked but every pan, pot and spoon used for anything imaginable was there. My mom would ask for cooking utensils for her birthdays and while originally confusing I now understand this. So imagine my surprise when I had to cut butter into flour with a fork and knife! And when I had to “cream” butter and sugar together by hand! No kitchenaid mixer to aid me! Last, was also a problem with the first – my new kitchen didn’t have any of the consistent stuff in to make dinner every night – I ended up going to the grocery store every night if I wanted to make dinner!  I wanted to make tacos – no taco shells, olives or lettuce. I wanted to make chicken Parmesan – no Parmesan!

(pizza toppings for tonight’s dinner)

But now, from a combination of experience, calling my mom for advice I have learned that all I need consistently in the house are a few things and I can come up with dinner from those things. I always stock meat (I’m a meat lover as is my red meat loving boyfriend), broth, garlic, sauce, onions, eggs, and various baking things. I normally drink wine and love mushrooms. From that, I normally saute garlic and onions in olive oil, add some type of meat dosed in something (crumbs, wine, salt and pepper), make a sauce either from the wine and some broth or from a can, with spices, and add pasta. And while that’s not every night – that’s what I’ve noticed about 95% of recipes start with, saute garlic and onions until soft, then proceed. This, for me, was a discovery! And a happy one at that.

My problem now (and I  would love suggestions to remedy this): getting veggies into my diet with out having to make frozen veggies every night. I do many dishes like fried rice (with less ginger) that have veggies in them without worry, I put tomatoes on my pizza, carrots in my quick coco au vin, etc. I’ve made butternut squash soup with tons of veggies and ate that for days, but are there any good recipes with tons of veggies but still a meal made together?

But before I go: this website is awesome, and great for looking at for cooking or baking inspiration or when you want to make yourself really hungry.

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