Magically Delicious

I would go anywhere for the chance to have something to eat. I went to my sister’s softball tournaments just so I would get lunch that day. It’s not that I wouldn’t have eaten at home. I just knew if I went with them I would get something good. Something from a restaurant. As I grew older I would eat more and more all the time because I was growing. At my high school graduation dinner besides eating my own 12 to 16 ounces of steak, I finished off the rest of three or four different people’s steaks too. How my body could consume so much I have no idea. And how I didn’t have a backup in my system for a week after that is a mystery too.

Steak

It Starts

Being at home a lot during the summers without my parents around I quickly learned that it was important to make meals for yourself otherwise you’d be drinking a lot of water. Which I still do to this day. But beyond that I started finding my way in the world of cooking.

And by cooking I mean making macaroni and cheese from a box.

Eventually I learned how to make spaghetti. Which was like making macaroni and cheese but instead of the elbow pasta you had straight pasta. Then I poured in a can of spaghetti sauce. Amazing, huh?

I think eventually I branched out to cooking chicken at some point. And salmon. I baked them. Not to hard not to mess up. In high school I had a part time job in a lot of discretionary income to spend so mostly I would eat out.

Going Away to College

As I started to try to make improvements in my life with my health I started working out more. Then I turned to eating right. For a while when I was single and in college I pretty much ate the same thing everyday. My breakfast was a meal was a carb load with some protein mixed in. One of my favorite breakfast meals was oatmeal mixed with a fiber cereal and Vanilla Chai Tea. Sometimes I would mix up the mix and put in yogurt or peanut butter or raisins and usually a scoop of protein powder. I would just put it all together and eat it was like a super healthy power breakfast. It tasted good. And got my day started right.

Then for a snack I would take with me a bag of pecans and dried cranberries. So delicious.

Lunch would be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Which subsequently I ate for about the next 6 years or something for lunch everyday. I mean technically not every day but for practical purposes just about every day. The problem I have now with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is just all the sugar in them. I just don’t like that much sugar anymore.

When I was in this time of my life I would eat for dinner a package of frozen California vegetables. The kind that has broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I would steam them in the microwave. Then I would make a plate of olive oil with some cracked pepper in it and toast two pieces of whole wheat bread. That would be my meal. It is actually pretty good and satisfying. At the time and I really enjoyed it a lot

But as you can see from these examples here I didn’t really cook much I was more putting things together. Sort of like Sandra Lee. She does the semi-homemade. Now that I think about it mine wasn’t even semi-homemade. Let’s be honest. It was just putting things together out of a box. I was a single college dude just trying to eat something that wasn’t fast food.

At some point of my life I started eating eggs for breakfast. I used to never eat eggs at all. I hated the smell and thought I hated the taste. I didn’t really know because I never really ate them. Now I have a love hate relationship with eggs. I love them and eat them just about every day. My new favorite way to make them is from an Alton Brown tip. At first I could never make a fried egg. I would try and it would always end up in as sorta-scrambled eggs. It was like scrambled eggs but mostly more it was like a mangled fried egg. I was pretty awful at it. But I ate them just about everyday along with old standby of oatmeal. Then at some point in my life I started drinking coffee which continues to even this very minute.

Enter Sarah.

Besides being attractive, she was really good at making food. Which I’ve heard it said before is the way to a guy’s heart. Take notes ladies. It was certainly the case with me and I said so in our vows.

Sarah admitted to me that she wasn’t always great at cooking. In fact she said she has eaten many a bad meal as she learned how to cook as college student. She didn’t have the luxury of buying something else if she made a bad meal so she ate what she had and moved on.

Eventually she got to a point where she was making really tasty dishes. With her being such a great cook it led me to having a wide variety of meals everyday of my life. Which I’m very thankful for. We would eat a world tour of food just about every week. Mediterranean. Check. Southeast Asian. Check. Latin American. Check. This list sounds so PC… And I am very graciously indebted to Sarah for my culinary skills that I have now.

Being the loving husband that I am, I would occasionally help with dinner. Less often then I probably should. But the times when I did I am basically the Sous Chef. I wash, clean, peel, slice, dice, chop, mince, stir, bake, and sauté.

Through it all I ended up being asked by her to take the lead on some dishes. At first I was a little hesitant and was really concerned but I did it and came through with some pretty tasty meals. My first resistance to taking over was just my lack of desire to cook. It is not a passion of mine. I enjoy it a lot more now that I make good tasting dishes.

The Simple Truth

You need to fail a couple of times before you get better. But honestly anyone who can read, anyone who’s reading this, could be a really good cook. In fact I used to use this line in my tutoring sessions with kids on tutoring for reading. I would tell them one of the awesome things that reading is that if you can read you can do anything. Some things I’ve been able to do because of reading is minor car repair and cooking. I’ve accomplished a lot more in my life than I ever thought I would be able to because of reading. Nerdy of me I know.

But back to cooking. So nowadays I don’t do the greatest job still and I’m very heavily dependent upon recipes because I’m not that creative when it comes to cooking. I used to always try mixing different spices that I thought would be good but I have not always have the brain for what would go best together.

My Terrible Palate

I was hanging out with one of my older sisters and we decided to go to a sub shop restaurant and get lunch for the day. I had decided I wanted a meatball sub and I let the lady know. Generally when I go out to eat I like people just to make whatever the standard normal thing is. If I order a hamburger at a sit down restaurant, I want them just to bring it however they make it. This might not really a typical American style because here we like to give eaters a choice to customize everything. And people are super pick. Me not so much.

I’ve seen on Food Network and other shows that other places in the world will have a menu where the head chef is in charge and he makes a dish however they please. When you order it they bring it to you and its how it is and you don’t get a choice. Which is really a great idea because the chef knows what he’s doing and you as the person eating it generally doesn’t have as much knowledge and skills to let the expert. I have also heard of restaurants where you don’t even get a menu. You just get served the meal of the day. Which to me is kind of cool and especially in a society where we have way too many overwhelming choices all day. You know that is nice every once in awhile not to have to make one. Trust your chef people.

At that point in my life, when I ordered the meatball sub, I was kind of shy and very nervous about a lot of things. I would recite in my head several times what I was going to say. I would plan my order because I guess talking to people gave me anxiety. There I am standing in line. I get up to the front. I order my meatball sub and then she asked me if there’s anything I want on it. At this point I panicked! I go into default mode and start telling her all the things I would put on it if I would make a cold cut sandwich. The kind I used to get normally.

But today I did something different.

In the moment of panic I told her to put on lettuce, pickles, onions, tomato, the whole shebang! Now I get this a meatball sub that has all the fixings of just a cold cut sandwich and it is ridiculous. It doesn’t go well together at all. My sister will still laugh at me to this day about it. Which to her credit was pretty funny.

I tell you that to tell you this. That creating things food wise hasn’t been a strong point of mine. I’m recipe dependent. In fact, even though I cook meals several nights a week now, there’s certain meals I won’t touch just due to the skill level needed in them. I leave those to Sarah and I pick easy ones for me to make. That way I get the meal done but it’s not too hard. I made the soup from scratch last night which when I point it out to Sarah that I’m not sure very many people our age make soup from scratch anymore, she replied the truth is that “no one cares”, which is true but here is a picture of it anyways.

20150204_200212

Day 24 of Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine.

Today’s assignment is to create 10 recipes. I’m tempted just to look up ten things and just put it down and to give up easily. But I’ll give it a go and do the best I can. I’m just not suggesting anyone actually make these.

1. The first one I came up with is inspired by a video from Alton Brown about making homemade Wok Fried Peanut Butter. Like Claudia I love almonds.

I would like to make almond butter but to add a little twist, add chipotle peppers and maybe some stevia or honey to sweeten it up. Oh or chocolate! Yum!

Interesting side note. When I was younger I had an idea about nut butters besides peanut butter. I love peanut butter so much so I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday for so long. Even though peanuts are technically legumes and not nuts, I thought well if you can make peanut butter and its so good, why are there not hazelnut butter or almond butter or cashew butter or walnut butter or the other types of nut butters? Nowadays you can buy them and what I didn’t know at the time, and what I found out later when I looked into it again, when I was a little bit older, is that nuts are kind of expensive.

Because nuts are expensive, I didn’t really pursue making the nut butters I so craved. Actually making products is never really been something I’ve ever been that into anyways. I guess for some reason I don’t know I really like ideas. I guess that’s why I’m doing this whole become idea machine I’ve always consider myself an idea person and so here’s my chance to prove it. I love to see ideas I had made into reality by others. Even if they came up with it without my help it is still cool to see.

I saw a company on Shark Tank making several nut butters and they got a deal. Got into stores. And I’m sure the products pretty good but I don’t know I haven’t tried them. I’ve tried other brands of nut butters, almond butters especially and it is good.

2. Let’s see. Sarah and I have been trying to simplify our lives in a lot of ways. One of those ways include food. Recipes with few ingredients are better and cheaper and simpler. This next idea comes from a twist on another recipe that we tried. Edamame Guacamole that is delicious!

This idea is Black Bean Guacamole. Ingredients: Black beans, avocado, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder or fresh garlic, salt and fresh lime juice. I like it spicy! So I would throw in a jalapeño, serrano or habanero to taste. Throw these all in food processor to desired texture. There you go some BBG!

3. I don’t really have a name for this one. I was scrambling eggs the other day and while I was whisking them I added some light mayonnaise and hot sauce. Then cook scrambled eggs like normal. Great on a tortilla.

4. I love pizza! Make homemade pizza, it’s worth it. This isn’t really a recipe, but an encouragement to put on it non-traditional toppings. We’ve put all sorts of things on it. Lamb. Chorizo. Put a spinach salad with blue cheese and walnuts on top of your pizza. It’s good! What suggestions do you have for me?

5. I like to eat oatmeal. I always have trouble cooking it right so I stopped cooking it. I eat it raw like cereal. It is good with milk (almond or skim) and a stevia packet. Also add yogurt (with or without the milk).

6. Another twist is on hot wings. I love hot wings! Especially the sauce. Problem is I end up eating too many and fried food isn’t the healthiest option. So the idea here is bake chicken with the hot wing sauce on it. Make you own sauce at home or use your favorite store brand.

7. We eat quinoa often. I love cinnamon rolls! Quinoa is great at taking on flavors. I am thinking of an idea that involves making quinoa with cinnamon roll spices. Maybe I could bake them into a bar form and put on some cream cheese frosting! Yum!

Thanks to Sarah for inspiration for these 3:

8. Spicy lentil and avocado wrap. Avocado mixed with red wine vinegar and salt. Cook lentils and mash slightly and add to avocado mixture. Mix in sriracha and shredded carrots, cabbage, and/or cucumber. Place mixture on warm tortilla.

9. Trail mix muffin. Make muffin with whole wheat flour, using apple sauce for moister and add in a chopped up trail mix.

10. Orange rum mixed drink. Shot of your favorite rum. Soda water. Zest of an orange and juice of said orange. This is probably a mixed drink already but it sounds good to me. Also try with grapefruit.

So these are more of mixtures and combinations than recipes, oh well!

I once heard a comedian say he would go anywhere for cake, in fact he’d show up even if there “might be” cake.

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