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C is for Cooking (that’s good enough for me)

I love making dinner. I love starting with ingredients and ending with something delicious. I find the ritual of chopping vegetables, stirring a sauce, or browning onions to be deeply meditative. It makes my heart happy.

In the past few months of busy time, I’ve barely been cooking. I’ve fallen into the trap of heating things up – a practice that is absolutely fine, if you don’t love cooking the way I do. I recognize that times like this require sacrifice of some luxuries, and for me, that’s been spending an hour or more in the kitchen each evening. Now that things are (knock on wood) slowing down, here are a few things I’d like to make.

1. The Caribbean Pork Shoulder braise in All About Braising. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that this is my all-time favorite cookbook. Molly Stevens also recently released a second book, All About Roasting, which my mother in law gave me for Christmas. I haven’t used it yet, and I’m dying to try that, too.

2. Red Shrimp Chowder with Corn, from The Wednesday Chef. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and the broth really makes it. I’m counting down until summer produce arrives at the market, so I can make this.

3. Smitten Kitchen’s Chicken and Mushroom Marsala. Favorite favorite favorite.

4. Poached Salmon with Corn and White Wine Butter Sauce. The Horse Whisperer adores this, and it got him hooked on zucchini. Winner winner chicken salmon dinner!

5. Another Smitten Kitchen gem: this Chana Masala. It is delicious, and totally worth the eleventy-billion spices.

6. Meatloaf. I don’t have a recipe for meatloaf, I just crib from what I observed my dad do for years. Ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, various seasonings and whatever is left in the fridge. Also, onion. The Horse Whisperer DETESTS chunks of onion in things, and I’ve finally found a way of dealing with that. I chop the onion into hunks, then give it a whirr in the food processor. Then I mash the onion puree into the ground beef mixture.

7. I’d also like to dive into the many recipes that I’ve pinned over here.

Is there anything you’d highly recommend making?

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Stevie April 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I love cooking, too. I like to think of my kitchen as my laboratory – I love experimenting with new foods, spices, etc. and I also love trying out new recipes. For me, the process of cooking is almost as fun as eating the food I’ve cooked! It’s so exciting to see a meal come together, and to taste along the way as it evolves from a bunch of single ingredients to something totally delicious.

    Thanks for the recipes and cookbook recommendations! That corn chowder looks amazing (minus the shrimp, though – I’m allergic).

  • Megan April 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I totally know what you mean! I’ve found that if I go without cooking– actually cooking, not just assembling or heating– for too long, I get sort of edgy. I made eggplant parmesan last night to take to a coworker that just had a baby, and I found myself wanting to keep it. The secret, fyi, was pre-grilling the eggplant slices (without breading/frying) and then just creating layer upon layer of eggplant/sauce/basil/cheese.

  • Natalie April 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    So glad to see you posting again. I have a recipe for chicken polenta casserole that I can’t find online anywhere, but we love it. You layer slices of polenta, a drizzle of cream, shredded chicken mixed with salsa verde and cilantro, black beans and corn, and cheddar cheese (layer twice). Cook until ti’s all melty. Also, nothing beats Smitten Kitchen’s ginger fried rice.

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