An Amateur Cook

Thursday, August 29, 2013

(Asparagus Soup and Strawberry Freezer Jam)

Over the past couple years I have slowly been learning how to cook. For years my version of cooking was scrambled eggs if I was feeling fancy, but lately I've found that I really enjoy it when I have the time. There's something so enjoyable about taking a pile of ingredients, grabbing a glass of wine and putting on an audiobook and an hour later you have something delicious. 

I'm only cooking for me and the Huz, so I get to cook with any spices and ingredients I want. Neither of us are really picky eaters and if I'm not in the mood to cook we end up ordering Chinese or eating at our favorite Mexican restaurant (more often than I'd like to admit). Because there's no pressure to cook three meals a day for a big family I've been able to learn at my own pace, which I love.

(Ratatouille and Mushroom Risotto)

This summer I've been using a lot of recipes from an actual cookbook (unusual for me, I find most recipes online). It's called Harvest Eating and is filled with recipes for using whatever is growing locally at that time. 

We have a very small garden and we also get a local organic fruit and veggie bin every other week. Plus my wonderful mother-in-law gives us delicious homegrown items from her garden. So my recent cooking attempts have included a lot of fresh veggies. 

(Chicken Pot Pie and Beet Soup)

Some of our favorites have been the asparagus soup, ratatouille, chicken pot pie and mushroom risotto. The beet soup we made was completely gross. I also loved how the strawberry jam turned out and I couldn't believe it was so easy! 

Do you guys like to cook? I'd love to know what great recipes you all have!

p.s. I'm not a fan of reality TV, but I'm completely addicted to Masterchef. I love that it's about the actual cooking and not the peoples' personal lives. Anyone else watch it?

Photos by moi. 


Sandy Nawrot said...

I absolutely love to cook, and have cookbooks exploding out of every crevice in my kitchen. That is if I have the time! These days I really don't have the time, with meetings and kids activities. But there is nothing more rewarding than take a few hours and really putting together a well-planned meal. With wine and an audiobook! As for recipes, too many to mention (but if you catch me posting a recipe on Fridays, those are usually my favorites). I also get a huge number of them from online too.

Anonymous said...

Asparagus soup sounds lovely. I enjoy cooking, too. In my house, we're making our way through Jerusalem: A Cookbook (by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi), which features Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cuisine from the region. Sometimes we have to alter the recipes a little to reflect what's available in our co-op, but overall, it's a great cookbook with beautiful photographs.

Nikki Steele @ said...

Aww I love all the beautiful photos!

I am definitely a cooking nut. I learned at my own pace as well, while cooking with hubz. I love everything by Smitten Kitchen, but especially her Ratatouille Tart ( since you mentioned that you tried your hand at a traditional one! I also get loads of great recipes from Oh She Glows. It's a vegan blog (which I'm not) but her approach to vegetables and grains is amazing.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - I have been pinning so many of your recipes to Pinterest lately! I particularly want to try the battered Cod recipe for the Huz' birthday in October. He loves fish and chips.

misfortuneofknowing - That cookbook sounds fascinating! I'll have to check it out.

Nikki - Smitten Kitchen is so fantastic! I just pinned that tart recipe. I'll have to check out the other site as well. I love finding new recipes to try. Thanks!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

You should take a look about Beth Fish Read's Weekend Cooking feature! I enjoy cooking but honestly at times it feels like a chore. It's much easier when there are folks who are appreciative of the time you've spent in the kitchen. ;) That said, Scott can be a great help and is always a sport in trying something new that I've made. If only I could convince Elle to be so adventurous.

I'm a bit relieved to see that the beet stew was gross. LOL!! As soon as you mentioned it I blurted outloud "ew!" Ha!!

JoAnn said...

Yes, definitely check out Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads!! I love to cook and ever since Trish convinced me to join Pinterest, I've been trying a ton of new recipes. I just followed you on Pinterest (thought I already did). Of course, my kitchen is still overflowing with cookbooks...

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Trish - I'll have to check out Beth's posts! Yeah, I'm not a fan of beets, but I had a whole bunch and no idea what to do with them. Yucks.

JoAnn - I love trying new recipes. But I'm also very new to cooking so almost every recipe seems new!

Belle Wong said...

I'm not the cook in the family - my husband does all the cooking - but your description of your cooking time makes me want to do more cooking! A glass of wine and an audiobook - I would definitely spend some more time cooking if I looked at it like that.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Belle Wong - I love when the Huz cooks with me. He's really good, but I enjoy the nights when I have the kitchen to myself too!