Saturday, April 23, 2011

City girl likes to cook.

I love to cook.  It's my most favorite creative thing to do, mostly because all of the senses are involved, and as a general rule, more than one person can appreciate the end result.  How many things can you do in a day that signify a job well done that you can taste?

My dad taught me how to cook.  He was born in the rural industrial community of Pawtucket, RI and I guess our shared genetic desire for the finer tastes in life helped him to deviate from the meals of his youth (except for Nana's blue ribbon winning clam chowder!) and learn how to cook.  I guess since we all know recipes from the region they were imagined, I could describe my dad's areas of expertise as French, Italian, Asian and New Englander...although he commonly mixed all four with very interesting and amazingly tasty results.

That's me and my dad.  We hang out next to the range and above the jar of kosher salt in my kitchen.  It seemed appropriate. 
Since I've moved to the country, I'm learning all kinds of new foods that my dad never prepared but always enjoyed when we went out to eat - biscuit and gravy, green beans, casseroles, barbecued anything - and I covertly watch my mother-in-law to see if I can glean her secret to angel biscuits...although I'm sure she'd tell me if I just asked her.  On the other hand, since I've moved to the country, Aaron Ray (and sometimes others, if I'm feeling brave enough to invite people over and test a recipe on them) is trying out new foods that are oh so good - and straight from my dad's secret stash of recipes.  He was not a recipe-sharer (I guess that's genetic too).

I'd been planning a particular meal all week and was very excited to cook last night when Aaron Ray informed me that he had made different plans for dinner.  I pitched a mini-fit and informed ARay that I need at least 2-3 days a week of cooking suppers in order to get it out of my system and I had only cooked once in this past week; therefore, my mini-fit won out...and I made a spectacular dinner...if I do say so myself.

Herbed steak spirals with mushroom and red wine sauce - voila!

(Ok, Anson Smart took this picture, not me.  But I SWEAR mine looked just like this!  No kidding!)

I deviated from my typical cream sauce to go over some mushroom agnolotti (how many daughters are trained in their youth to have Julia Child's cream base sauce memorized?) and it was lovely.  The key is to have some sort of concentrated flavor that adds the depth which is why I'm always putting wine in any kind of sauce, but this time I used diced tomato with the juice and it was very good.  Incidentally, the cream sauce tasted much better with the steak spirals than the mushroom sauce...I'll make them together forever.  They'll be just like BFFs.

I don't have a fancy "before" picture of the pasta because I made this recipe up and I don't have an "after" either because, seriously, it is all gone.
Throw in some roasted red potatoes, spring greens and yeast rolls and I do believe my temper tantrum was worth it.  At least, it felt very worth it as my husband cleared the table and kissed me on the head as he walked by.  From a man who doesn't give compliments, I'll take it.

If you really want the recipe, I'll give it to you (I can hear my dad turning in his grave right now), but only if you come over and let me fix it for you first!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you were such a serious cook! Beautiful photos and interesting story :)