Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cooking for idiots

I've started to really enjoy cooking.  Like, really enjoy it.  I love prepping food, and I love trying new things.  Well, new recipes with new things slowly introduced to my palate.  In the last year, I feel like I've really developed my palate to the point where I'm not longer eating like a toddler.  Why is this?  Two words:  Food Network.  I love the show Chopped.  It's so fascinating to watch people take 4 random ingredients, things that should not go together, and often things I've never heard of, and actually make the ingredients work together.  Granted, the food may not taste very good to me, but the judges more often than not seem to like it. 

Which brings me to my next thought.  I want to go to culinary school.  I'm not aiming to be a kick ass, world famous chef; no, instead, I just want to learn basic technique, and learn how all these flavors go together.  Also, I've heard that when you cook stuff in culinary school, you have to eat it.  I think this would be another way to introduce myself to new flavors and new foods. 

My spice cabinet is looking pretty awesome these days.  My spice cabinet literally used to consist of black pepper, salt, garlic salt, garlic pepper, and garlic powder (are we seeing a theme here?).  Now, it's got all kinds of goodies in it, and I know how to use them.  Thank you random recipes I find.  These recipes have forced me to buy cumin (which, I've had to buy more as I actually ran out recently), coriander, ground oregano, cilantro, and lots of other things.  My spice cabinet is overflowing with yummy goodness.  I really need a spice rack.  I registered for one.  I love the reaction I get to that, too.  "What are you going to do with all those spices?  You know you can't use more than half of them, because they are weird."  I don't know how weird they are, but I'm willing to bet I can find a use for many of them. 

My fiance is loving my new adventurousness into cooking; of course he is.  He gets to eat all the yums that I make/create/destroy.  I did destroy a recipe yesterday.  Literally.  I'm sure there's nothing wrong with the recipe, when it's followed.  But, I don't follow recipes well.  I see things on the list that I can't find or I'm not willing to eat, and I substitute things.  This is not where the plan went awry.  It went awry because I may not have been paying attention when I was adding salt.  I'm imagining that the food tasted much like a cow's salt lick.  I've never had a salt lick, but that's what I'm guessing, anyway.  I'll have to try the recipe again at another time, this time with a lot less salt. 

My fiance also thinks I should bake more.  When you bake, the recipe is important.  It's not a guideline, most often.  It's a rule.  I hate rules.  And that whole I don't follow recipes well kinda screws up baking for me.  If I can't play with the recipe, I don't want to make it.  Plus, I don't eat a lot of sweet stuff anyway, and I certainly don't need it around the house as temptation.  Seriously working on losing this back injury/steroid/general laziness weight, and having cakes, cookies, and cupcakes around the house are likely to be counterproductive to this goal.  I'll stick to my dinner recipes for now. 

Which leads me to my next thought.  I want new pots and pans, and better knives.  And, I want to learn how to properly sharpen knives.  I'm sure I could look that technique up on Youtube, but I'm also certain that I'm not smart enough to mimic that technique without causing major injury to myself.  I also want a gas stove in the house we eventually buy.  I'm not a fan of electric stoves, really.  I'm not sure why they are a staple of houses.  All stoves should be gas.  Gas is much easier to control, I think.  When it's off, it's off.  It's a quicker temperature adjustment too.  Plus, it's a freaking fire.  I can't light candles on an electric stove eye; I can on a gas stove.  Not that I spend a lot of time lighting candles with the stove.  I couldn't, anyway.  It's electric.  I'm just saying, it would be awesome if I could

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