Thursday, December 07, 2006

I am a geek

A food geek to be precise. Seriously! I'm not kidding. I know it may not come as a surprise to learn that, but let's just say this was a bit of a revelation to me. It's not that I used to hate cooking. I would never go that far. But there was once a time where I would have killed to have someone else cook for me.

Today I get excited by the smallest culinary moment. This morning I walked into the office at school. On the bench sat a shipping envelop. It was big, obviously holding a large, rectangular object. I rushed over to read the shipping label. Clutching it to my breast I danced around the office. It had arrived!!! What could cause such excitement, you ask? Why the copy of Starting With Ingredients that I ordered from Amazon. It is this enormous tome organized guessed it, ingredients. You purchased some quince when it was on sale at the veggie market and have no idea how to prepare them? No problem, look up the chapter on quince. You get a section that includes information about the ingredient, hints/tips on everything from purchasing to preparing, and about 3-8 recipes. The page count comes in at just over 1050. This sucker is hefty.

You would think that would be enough excitement. Oh no, more was to come. My Kinnikinnick order was delivered! Bread mix, 4 bags of pastry/pie crust mix, and a package of GF bagels. As soon as I arrived home I busted out the bagels. Toasted and slathered in cream Perhaps not like the New York bagels they claim to emulate, but these suckers are good. My dietitian recommended the pastry/pie crust mix for making kolachi cookies (a staple in the Mueller family Christmas baking.) Mom and I have a baking date planned.

No all of that excitement is understandable. The average foodie would be thrilled by both deliveries. The two things that tip me over the line into geek territory are thus: 1) I still have the forthcoming excitement of a delivery from Gluten Free Pantry and additional cookbook, and 2) I am having to seriously talk myself out of being a bad friend. I bought a book for one of my friends for Christmas. It is a food related book. I want to read it. I could buy myself a copy or borrow it from the library. OR...I could read the copy I bought him before Christmas. I can be careful with the book. He would never know it had been read. But that would be bad. Not a good friend. Damn. Must exert self control.

One thing that became clear to me is that in the midst of geeking out, finding new recipes, try new techniques, we often forget an important rule: KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. Fancy is not always better. Of course it is fun, fulfilling, and compelling to challenge ourselves with complex recipes. I think in all that complexity, we forget how amazing the simple seasoning of a basic ingredient can be. Tonight I made pan seared tuna. Sounds fancy, but could not be more simple.

Rub tuna with olive oil. Rub with a coating of salt and Argyle Street Asian Spice Blend from the Spice House. (It is premixed. All you do is sprinkle and rub.) Pour 2 T of olive oil into a hot pan. Place seasoned tuna in the pan and sear until the edge begins to turn opaque. Flip tuna. Sear for another 1-3 minutes (depending on how rare you like you tuna). Move tuna to a plate. Eat. You basically season the fish and fry it up. EASY!

Ok, I made a rice dish that was slightly less simple.

Mandarin Almond Rice

In a medium sauce pan combine:
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
2 t. Argyle St. Asian Spice Mix
1 t. salt

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. When rice is cooked and render mix in:
1 can Mandarin oranges
1/2 cup slivered almonds


Lynn Barry said...

I can so relate to your postings. I admit I HATED to cook...I raised (and am still raising one) four kids and I had to cook and bake but always hated it. Now, I know why...because food didn't make me feel good. Now, that I feel good I want to make the things that make me feel good and I love everything about the kitchen and grocery shopping and all that is involved with F-O-O-D!

Sheri said...

You're not a geek :) You're just discovering your inner chef!