Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cooking for cooking's sake

I do like to cook. For some reason I prefer to do it when Poor George is not around - I'm not sure why. Because when I do cook with Poor George, I have fun and I learn things, even if he chastises me severely and then mocks me openly for every gaffe I make. He claims his Chinese heritage and his father's instruction methods as the reasons he does this to me. According to George, the Chinese have such a reverence for food that to screw around with your ingredients is the height of disrespect to the universe, and in situations where animal products are used, disrespect to the animal who gave its life so that you can stuff your fat face.

I suspect there may be more going on with PG's admonishments than that, but I'll work with that for now.

Yesterday morning I got it in my head that I would like to spend the day cooking and that I would make myself a super fancy meal. I had lofty visions of my friend Brandon, who was raised in a stereotypical New York Italian home where lasagna was served as a first course to any meal. I decided I would make myself a lasagna to start.

Of course, being the imbecile that I am, I searched the Web for an "ultimate" lasagna recipe, and ended up going with one that requires its own tomato sauce from scratch.

"I don't think you're going to want to make your own sauce - that will take too long," said Poor George gently over the phone. At present George is in Illinois helping my parents move, an act that should in itself qualify him for sainthood.

Since I didn't actually start until after 8 pm last night, Poor George turned out to be exactly right. My lasagna was not ready until well after midnight - at which point I had no desire to eat it. (I did take one tiny little square, and while not being the best lasagna I've had in my life, I will say that it is still pretty good.)

The recipe told me to boil two whole pounds of lasagna noodles. I was dubious that I would be able to use that much, but I followed the recipe dutifully and as a result ended up with an entire batch of unused cooked noodles.

So this morning I whipped up nice little tuna noodle hotdish, made with my own bechamel in place of a UBI. For the uninitiated and non-Midwesterners among you, "UBI" stands for "Universal Binding Ingredient" used in hot dishes, more commonly known as Cream of Something Soup. None of that church basement stuff for me today, Gentle Readers. Today is the Real McCoy.

And lacking any potato chips to layer on top, I opted for buttered panko bread crumbs. That, coupled with the generous dollops of Tobasco and cayenne pepper I threw into the mix, seems to give my tuna noodle dish the "innovative taste" lacking in most church cookbook recipes.

Some further investigation into my refrigerator contents prompted me to throw together a potage of potato, leek, broccoli and cauliflower which is now cooling on top of the stove. Alongside a delicious looking swiss chard souffle I just removed. (I used leftover mozzarella instead of gruyere so I'll let you know how that turns out. Smells wonderful.)

Inside the fridge I still have a nice piece of wild red sockeye salmon that I intended to eat with a miso glaze as my main course last night, but seeing as how I didn't make it through the first course the salmon remains uncooked and uneaten.

I have all this wonderful food surrounding me right now, with no appetite to eat it. I hope I feel hungry around 5 tonight because I will be enjoying a real feast. Wish some of you could join me.


Matt said...

I had no idea you liked to cook. Wish we lived closer to each other ... it all sounds incredible.

Mnmom said...

Wish I WAS there! I make a darned good lasagna if you want directions. I learned from my 100% Italian MIL. Two pounds? You must have had a sinkful!

Megan said...

Wow. Did you get it all eaten or is your fridge just as full as it was when you started?

Anyways I'll have some of everything.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I love to cook all the time, but especially when I'm stressed or lonesome, but it's so frickin hot here the idea of turning on my oven makes me want to heave.

Dale said...

I'm useless in many facets of my life and this includes cooking. I have no idea what a potage is which is doubly shameful because most of my time is spent eating potato chips while watching The Food Network. Shame!