Friday, January 29, 2016

Self-Rising Flower!

Just to clarify. I’m not a trained chef or exceptional cook. I have good days and bad in the kitchen and sometimes they’re even great! Not sure if it’s my mood, desire or energy level at the time because it’s pretty much hit or miss whenever I’m preparing meals. While I'm not a natural, I'm eager, experimental but also, inconsistent!

Then there's the fact that I'm a klutz too.  I drop or spill things and use way too many utensils at once. I’m visibly frazzled trying to produce something edible and yet, there are times I possess the confidence and ease of a pro.  By the way, I did have a steady run long ago, when I cooked regularly and thus, successfully fed myself along with company.  Even so, I limited myself to only things I knew how to make at the time along with the usual seasoning.  It was the same for everything and although comfort foods are great, there was no variety. 

Eventually, I started ordering take-out and trying new restaurants frequently to taste meals that were perfected by others.  It was convenient and I didn't miss the dishes, that's for sure.  And, there was always a reason to make a reservation, something to celebrate, or spontaneous after-work invitation.
On the weekend, everyone and their mother had to meet for brunch too or else life just wasn't worth living. 

Well, that was fun while it lasted and expensive. Once I became a mom, home cooked meals became a priority for me. It’s economical and will only help me get better at something I consider to be a survival skill (unless you can afford to keep eating out or hire a trained chef to make everything for you.) So, thank goodness for the internet.

You can look up whatever you want on a whim, right from your smart phone no less. I did this with a child attached to my hip during many long nights, when it was too risky to move him while he slept right on top of me. Then, on the following day, I’d try one of the many recipes I found. I’m quite pleased with the fact that to date, I’ve learned to make random things like chicken pot pie, baked apple pie, banana cake, apple sauce, Chimichurri sauce and creamed spinach, to name a few. I'll be posting those soon!

One of my goals in life is to make a variety of delicious things for my family to enjoy.  Hence, this blog.  Why the name?  Self-rising flour was in the first recipe I had ever used for baking a cake from scratch.  I didn't even know it existed before then.  The change in spelling simply reflects that I'm always growing and I needed an outlet for my cooking experiences.

Also, when you’re struggling to make better lifestyle choices, it’s a positive toward any healthy goals you may have to actually cook the food you eat. But, this is not about that. I welcome all meal ideas, but I’m most excited by those that involve anything from scratch, simply because it’s fun for me to understand the process. For example, Roux trumps a can of condensed soup nowadays.

I will say however, that even the processed and instant stuff is a great exercise in getting familiar with a dish until you’re ready to do it without help. This was the case for me when I was curious about Shepherd’s Pie. I'll confess that so far I've settled for the box kit for this, but when I dare to go there, I’ll give Alton Brown’s version a try. His recipe calls for ground lamb but chances are I won’t have that any time soon. By the way, if you don't know who he is, watch Good Eats some time. He’s inspired me to can homemade jam but uh, baby steps.

In the meantime, what new dish have you learned to make?  Please share!

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