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[personal profile] kellinator
Pretty much every year I make a new year's resolution that I'm going to learn how to cook and actually do it, and since I make it every year you can guess how successful it is. I didn't make a resolution for it this year, I just kinda started doing it. The deep freeze was actually a real stroke of luck for me cooking-wise because when I realized how bad it was going to be that Thursday night, I looked through Everyday Food (I'd just gotten it recently after long coveting it -- James was skeptical at first, I think he thought it was just more food porn), made a list, and got enough groceries to last the weekend. So there I was with all the stuff I needed and it started to become more routine. Everything I've made so far from that cookbook has been excellent. I've been making a lot of pureed vegetable soups and crumbling up fresh whole-grain bread in them. It seems like I've been reading Mark Bittman for so long that it kinda feels like I hit a critical mass and finally internalized "eat food, not too much, mostly plants" (yeah, I know, that's actually Michael Pollan, not Bittman). (Right now we're working on the plants part and I'll worry about the not too much later.) James is even giving relatively good feedback considering what a picky eater he is, though at one point I did announce "you can not eat a pound of bacon every day, you will have a heart attack." 

I really think the most important thing is to stay away from the processed crap as much as possible and use fresh ingredients. 

Tonight: Butternut squash soup. Has anyone ever had their hands start peeling from handling butternut squash? Mine look like when we'd put glue all over our hands in elementary school so we could peel it off. 

I really hope I can keep from backsliding now that I've posted this. 

Date: 2010-01-19 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes to the weird stuff on the hands when peeling butternut squash. It is the one thing that keeps me from making butternut squash on a regular basis.

Kitchen trick

Date: 2010-01-19 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Doc and I always cook at home using seasonal ingredients. Tonight was Cajun fifteen bean soup with ham. We eat out only a couple times a month and 95% of the time have a home cooked meal together as a household every night, no fast food or junk food whatsoever generally. Both of us take turns cooking and each of us has specialities.

Half the raw squash carefully, cover with saran wrap and nuke in microwave until tender and then use a knife to cut squash halves into halves again, hold squash in place with knife and simply use fork to scoop and scrape to get the squash meat out. No handling or peeling involved:)

Date: 2010-01-19 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's awesome when you can make good food at home. Good luck keeping the habit! *hug*

P.S.: Fresh = yay; processed = boo. :P

Date: 2010-01-19 04:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My wife buys frozen butternut squash to use in recipes.

The next time I mess with one, I'll probably use a towel or paper towel to protect my dainty hands.

One of the best motivators to keep making my own food (aside from not going broke) is the feeling I get when every meal in a day is purchased from some fast food place or other. Ugh. I'll make a damn PBJ just to make my digestive tract feel not-so-nasty.

Date: 2010-01-19 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh agreed, a whole day of fast food makes me want a shower on the inside.

Date: 2010-01-19 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, the butternut squash thing is weird. One thing you can do to avoid it (and/or be lazy about making soup) is just cut the squash in half and roast it with the skin on, and then scoop out the insides to make soup.

(And good-o for cooking!)

Date: 2010-01-20 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is often what I do. And I don't even have the skin problem from the squash.

Date: 2010-01-19 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I"m glad you are finally getting into the whole cooking mess! It's really fulfilling to be able to take your husband a plate and say, "Here's your dinner, Honey!" Wearing a big pink apron with frills on it. Yes, really, because I am a total lame-o spaztard.

I started backwards, my grandmother taught me how to bake when I was a kid, so I'm really good at baked things, and have tried to incorporate that into my regular cooking.

My lasagna is to die for.

Date: 2010-01-19 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"The New Best Recipe" by Cook's Illustrated is very large and dense, but very good, because they are OCD precise about recipes. Not just "boil 1 lb potatoes;" they specify to use 50% starch russet potatoes for THIS recipe, and high-moisture yellow ones for THAT recipe - cut into 1/4 inch rounds for maximum surface exposure. Their technique for high-temperature roasted chicken is so good that I achieved better-than-restaurant quality with a simple supermarket bird.

But yes, learning to cook healthily and habitually means building a whole skill set around shopping and having ingredients on hand and owning all implements to make the dishes. It's not necessarily hard, but the actual recipe is like the tip of the iceberg. The good news is that it DOES become second nature.

Cut butternut squash in half, put the pieces in a large glass pyrex dish with a teaspoon of water, cover with saran wrap or a glass lid, and microwave. Scrape out interior. Or roast it and THEN scrape out interior. I've never peeled it raw.

I have a ring binder on my cookbook shelf. The recipes that produce top results go in that binder. It grows slowly, but it is my bible of what works.

Date: 2010-01-20 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heck, I wrote a poem about that butternut squash thing once. I think it's got to do with the sugars. They really dry out your hands! I just wash my hands a lot and put handcream on later. I love butternut squash!!!

Date: 2010-01-20 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"The Food You Want to Eat" by Ted Allen is a really awesome cookbook for good, relatively simple recipes. Everything I've made from it has been really tasty, and Ted is adorable. :)

Date: 2010-01-20 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I used to subscribe to the magazine that most of those recipes first appeared in. (I think the mag was also just called Everyday Food.) I had some damn tasty meals from those recipes.

Date: 2010-01-21 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is such a cool and awesome change you are making in your life. :)

Date: 2010-01-22 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think making New Year's Resolutions is counterproductive for a lot of people. It puts extra pressure on and tends to result in people giving up on the change if they can't manage to do it completely at first. The nice thing about cooking is that you can do as much or as little of it as you like. Not doing it all the time doesn't interfere with being able to do it when you can.

Date: 2010-02-11 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
pour olive oil on your hands before handling squash. Works for onion and garlic smells too. As well as protecting against the perma-burn of hot peppers. When you wash your hands, you will wash off the offending matter that has stuck (mostly) to the oil, not your skin.


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