cooking · New Hobbies

Regarding The Culinary Arts (In Which I Cook Things And Pretend To Be A Food Photographer)

So now that I no longer need to travel for work quite so frequently, I’m actually looking forward to cooking at home. This is proving to be easier said than done.

Reasons Cooking is Hard at My House
  1. Ingredients. I’m really bad at food shopping without a list or without an idea of what I’m going to be cooking later on. I usually end up buying a lot of cheese. If I send Adam, he usually comes home with chips and ice cream (because “they were on sale!”). Our childhood selves would love living in our house.
  2. Timing. Adam works from home and therefore usually has dinner already started by the time I get home from work. (Don’t get me wrong, I could totally get used to having a house-husband.) I’m not complaining, but he and I do have vastly different ideas of what dinner entails which can pose…challenges. (See #3.)
  3. Adam. Even though there are only two of us in the house, we have fairly different ideas about what a “complete” meal looks like. This is absolutely dependent on where we grew up. Adam (aka quintessential Midwestern farm kid) is a big fan of meat. In his eyes, a meal is not complete unless there is meat involved. Meat can also be a meal on it’s own… just a giant hunk of steak or pork on a plate. If he’s feeling creative, you might get a side of cottage cheese. I, on the other hand, (aka child of a free-thinking, hippie coastal town) like my meals with lots of creativity, color, and flavor. I prefer seafood to red or white meat and am more than happy to eat all veggies (and/or cheese) as a meal.
  4. The kitchen. We purchased our house a year ago and I am still thrilled with our choice. It has a yuge backyard, 4 bedrooms, and is in great structural shape. That being said, the decor hasn’t really been updated since the 70’s. Aside from the awesomely kitschy swinging saloon doors that occupy the entrance to our kitchen, the space leaves a lot to be desired. (Specifically drawers. There are only 2 drawers in the entire kitchen. What the…?) Essentially it lacks lighting, counter space, and storage space and, in general, is just not a room you want to spend time in which makes cooking a little less enjoyable.

I have managed to get a few meals on the table though in the last few weeks. Here’s are some highlights of what I’ve made so far:

Salmon Cakes with Garlic Lemon Aioli

img_20170205_125141824_hdrSuper good! I’ve started keeping a few cans of salmon in my pantry for anytime I get an craving for these. It’s basically just a can of salmon, an egg, and a few spices. I’m low-carb, so I avoid bread crumbs, but if you don’t care, it might be helpful to throw a few in.

Every time I suggest making these for dinner, Adam looks super underwhelmed but he always ends up loving them. (You’d think he’d know by now that I am always right!)

Spicy Brazilian Fish Stew

img_20170206_181346730

My rebellion against the hunk-of-meat-on-a-plate. I actually kind of surprised myself on this one. Even had a stroke of genius and threw some bacon crumbles on top.

10/10 would make again.

Frittatas of Various Flavors
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I’m so sorry about this photo. There’s something about eggs that is just kind of unappetizing to photograph.

Frittatas are one of my favorite go-to meals. They’re easy and take almost no planning. I typically throw in whatever produce in my fridge is about to go bad and/or needs to be used up. But honestly, as long as you have eggs, you’re golden. This particular frittata is essentially a giant vat of melted cheese (because any amount of cheese is the right amount of cheese). It was delicious.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

img_20170208_183444742-1Refreshing and light and proved to Adam that simple, salad-like dishes can be filling and satisfying as a meal. It’s also the only meal where I remembered to take step-by-step instruction photos so below is a how-to in case you’re interested (or you can just follow the original recipe which is probably way more coherent).

Step One: Defrost and de-vein your shrimpies. The recipe kept them whole, but I actually chopped mine up into more bite-sized pieces. This was definitely a winning strategy.

Shrimp: The boogers of the sea.
Shrimp: The boogers of the sea.

Step 2: Cut up your avocados and dump them in a mixing bowl.

Pro tip: Trial and error has taught me that avocados take 3 days to ripen when I bring them home from the store and I’ve had consistent luck adhering to this timeline. If I don’t want my avocados to ripen all at once, I’ll let them sit out for 2 days and then put them in the fridge until I’m ready. Take them out the day before you want to eat them and they’ll be good to go. (You should still probably eat them within the first week you buy them though.)

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I’m so not a professional food photographer but I did have fun practicing my Buzzfeed food photography skills.

The rest of the steps: Cooks the shrimp (recipe says to boil, but I pan-fried) and slice up the red onion. But them all in the bowl with the avocado. Add olive oil, some vinegar, spices of your choice and serve. Super easy.

The Aftermath: My least favorite step. I’ve been working on ways to subtly convince Adam that he should be the one to clean up since I cooked (but phrasing it so that I don’t have to clean up when he cooks). I think he’s catching on.

The Aftermath.
My own personal nightmare.

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