Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cooking Explosion!

I should probably title this "Explosion of Cooking" so people don´t think I had an explosion in the kitchen! A lot of you will already know that I am not known for my cooking repertoire. I will blame this on my mum, grandma and aunties ;-)). They are all an excellent cooks and I grew up being spoilt by their wonderful meals. It is only now that I can admit that after I graduated from the Defence Academy and had my first "single girl´s apartment" in Sydney, I decided to host a dinner party at my place that was "catered" by my Aunties, especially Auntie Fabi! Zev came to this dinner party and loves to remind me of how I broke the oven door (the glass part) when I tried to shove the (already cooked) turkey in to warm it up. When Zev and I got engaged, my sweet grandmother innocently asked (in Spanish, of course!) "But Fiona, how are you going to cook for your new husband when you can´t even boil water!?" I am truly blessed to be married to an excellent cook. For the first few years of our marriage, Zev did the main cooking in the family. I dabbled here and there making (or inventing) things like my infamous "Saurkraut Surprise" which I made in the first year of being married. Basically, imagine pre-cooked saurkraut with beetroots and sausages mixed in. I think I was going for the "sweet and sour" taste. Zev ate that pink saurkraut creation and deserves a medal for being a trooper. He is an excellent cooking instructor and taught me some invaluable cooking skills including how to use the right tools for the job at hand and so forth. He is still the "gourmet" cook in our family (if the cooking magazines on his night stand are any indication: "Bon Appetit" and until last year "Gourmet"). In the past couple of years, I have been dabbling in making easy meals that involve the crock pot or a stir fry of some sort. But in the last year or so, I have started to venture out and experiment with different recipes and flavors. You will be happy to know (Zev is really happy to know) that after almost 7 years of marriage, I now can say that I LOVE TO COOK! Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a Cooking Explosion!!   
I think a real key to cooking well consistently is being organized, not only with staples and ingredients but also with recipes, so you know what to stock up on at the beginning of each week. I started to create my little "Fiona´s Favorite Recipes" folder a year ago and thanks to Cooking Light magazine and Jessica Seinfeld´s Do It Delicious recipes, I have made some "winners" that will go on the "keepers" list in our house and therefore be on the "regular" list. I wanted to share a dish that turned out so well last night, I really shocked myself. Zev went back for seconds if that is any indication. (Maybe I should "rate" my recipes based on whether Zev goes back for seconds or asks for the left-overs in his lunch box?)
Last night I made Beef Tagine with Couscous. The recipe is from this past month´s Cooking Light magazine. If you would like it, call or email me and I will forward it to you ;-) I would like to recommend Jessica Seinfeld´s website called "Do It Delicious." You can google the website. Under "Recipes" you will find SUPER EASY recipes WITH VIDEO instruction for those like me who like simple but healthy and yummy meals that are satisfying but do not take too long to make. Favorites at our house from this website include Freaky Greek Pasta, Rosemary Chicken "Al Mattone," Sweet Cherry Tomato Pasta (you make the "sauce" from cooking the olive oil with basil and sweet cheery tomatoes and then mix it all together with the cooked pasta and fresh ricotta cheese....soooooo good!), Slow Cooker Lasagna and Herb Roasted Beef with Potatoes and Carrots. Great for new wives who are learning the ropes on how to cook. I know this is a random post, but I have to say that I never realized how much fun cooking can be.
So on that note, I better go catch my bus to uni. Guten Appetit! 

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