Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cooking up a culinary contest of sorts

My son-in-law is getting on my nerves. Sure, we all love him to pieces. He is perfect for First Born and he has many admirable qualities. Recently, however, he has been showing off his once dormant passion for cooking on social media with photos of delectable meals he’s been preparing. His bride has also had a hand at conjuring up some enticing items, but she has busy been taking classes and concentrating on her studies, so she’s happily letting him take the helm.

These aren’t simple little recipes. The Love couple has been tossing around words like birayani and shakshuka. From goat cheese to Gruyรจre and berry compote to Smore’s bread pudding, they leave our mouths watering and our eyes glued to the photos.
The Groom's Gruyere & Parmesan
Mac & Cheese. Showoff.

In our little part of the world The Groom’s reawakened flare with fare for is causing Spouse to drool with envy and vow to start experimenting with new recipes.
I’ve seen this before. In the past he hasn’t wanted to take this venture on alone – he wants company to help with his culinary experiments. That company would undoubtedly be yours truly.

Hey, I like trying new recipes as much as the next person working full (and a half) time and trying to ease around whatever project her wonderful husband is constructing or deconstructing in at least one room at all times.  I decided a little experiment was in order to find out just how much my partner in crime would be willing to wing it on his own.

Once a week Spouse and Second Born (when she is home) take over for dinner so that I can write my column and other pieces (and so what I write makes sense). Last night I presented him with the challenge of a meatless dinner. It wasn’t quite Top Chef or Chopped but he was working in somewhat unfamiliar territory.

Since the sweet potatoes sitting in the hanging basket were winding their way into a giant beanstalk, I asked Spouse to grill them. After the initial queries – “So what else should I do with them?” (I suggested a couple of seasonings but he quickly had it under control)- he was in charge.

Quinoa was next on the menu. A while back we went through a period of claiming we would start making healthier recipes. It just so happens that healthier often means finding new recipes or using some edible ingenuity, which neither of us had yet made the effort to do. Fortunately, that meant the quinoa was still waiting for its purpose in life. He got it started in a saucepan and I threw in some seasonings before it was done.  A yummy summer salad rounded out our meal.

Not only was I impressed at how well everything turned out, I felt so much better than I do after eating a heavy meal in the evening.  I was proud of my better half for his willingness to do something a little different. I’m also always excited when I don’t have to do one bit of the cleaning up, since Second Born was “voluntold” to help out. That’s really not the only reason we love having a college kid home for the summer, but it doesn’t hurt.

While searching for chicken broth for the quinoa, Second Born discovered more expired items on our pantry-ish shelf. I think it’s a matter of not getting ahead of ourselves and loading up on things that look ‘interesting’ and that we ‘might’ make sometime.  I have since made a vow to our shelves that they will no longer be treated like a museum rather than a library.


We’ve already made it clear that during our next visit with The Love Couple we expect to be treated to at least one or two of their savory samples. In the meantime, I’ll keep encouraging Spouse to experiment here while I graciously volunteer to enjoy the fruits - and vegetables - of his labor.

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