...I love to cook?
WOW, this is a revelation for me. Time to get back in the kitchen!
The crazy thing is, up until I started this blog in 2010, I never cooked, ever. Unless you count grilled cheese (which actually... yes, yes I do).
Anyway, this newfound realization of loving to cook makes me pretty happy. I want to shout this from the rooftops.
|I want an apron...|
I don't do it as often as I'd like to, though. I am currently living away from home in Memphis, interning for a few months in Nashville, living with roommates, and sharing a kitchen with two people who cook a lot. However, starting this summer I am going to try to cook every day (or nearly every day) because I will be BACK HOME IN MEMPHIS WITH STACEY (translation: I will have a kitchen to myself, because he never cooks) and I will be home a lot more often than I am right now.
For now, I will continue to try to cook once or twice every week, in a large enough quantities to give myself leftovers for the rest of the week. This is fairly easy to do when you are cooking for one, as I am.
Also, I am considering adding fish back into my diet, which would take me from "vegetarian" to "pescatarian" but really... Do I need ANY label? (another blog post about labels coming soon, because I could probably write about that one for awhile...)
So if I do add the fish back in, that will open up some new cooking opportunities for me, since I literally have never cooked fish.
Right now, even though I am technically vegetarian, I cook vegan. Because when I learned how to cook, I was a vegan. And I love my vegan cooking! I don't need to add dairy or eggs to it, because there are a lot of great cooking ingredients in the plant world.
Following is a breakdown of my typical cooked meals:
My typical meals are full of vegetables. I find the chopping, washing, and cooking of vegetables to be meditative. I love working with a wide variety of vegetables, but my staples are: red onion, an assortment of bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, and asparagus. If I have those, I can make something good, but I also sometimes add more. Last week I added red cabbage, celery, and carrots to the mix!
Usually I will chop up the vegetables and bake them at 400 for 15-20 minutes, tossed in EVOO, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and a bit of salt.
I also almost always have a can of beans. Yes, I know... I will start cooking my own beans again when I get back to Memphis, I swear. It's not that hard to do, just crockpot for a few hours. But for now, a can of beans, drained and rinsed, goes into most of my cooking.
I also will add a can of tomatoes. Sometimes I will actually buy some tomatoes, chop them up, and add to the baking dish instead of going for canned, but I have found a couple of canned tomatoes that I love so much it's hard to skip it. One of them is Hunts diced with celery and green peppers. The other is original Rotel. The Hunts is kind of sweet, the Rotel is spicy. So I will let my canned tomatoes help with the overall flavor of the meal.
Also I will typically add a cup or two of whole grains or pasta to the mix. If I cooked with a large amount of potatoes, I skip the grains and pasta. Not because "OMG TOO MANY CARBS!!!" but because I just don't like the way potatoes taste with grains or pasta.
Usually this large amount of food will be split into 4 portions, 1 to be eaten right away, and three leftover lunches. Each portion comes in anywhere from 350-450 calories, depending on how many and what types of vegetables and how much EVOO I use.
The entire process takes less than an hour. If I'm cooking rice from scatch (no boil-in-a-bag or microwave pack) it can take longer. But usually I'm done in about 45 minutes, and that includes clean-up.
I'm ready to get more experimental now that I've realized that I love to cook. But I will probably wait until I get back to MY kitchen before I go too crazy with it...
Do you like to cook?
What is your favorite thing to cook?