Monday, May 16, 2011

Struggling with the pictures.

This is my second week in Jordan.
So far, I have cooked every day since my arrival.
(Except for Friday where we ate lunch so late that we skipped dinner and Saturday where my husband was the master of the kitchen.)

I have made a nice variety of foods. Even including meat (I hate touching raw meat but did it anyway). More often than not I thought about taking a picture and writing about it here. But it never happened.
I remember a friend saying that I was more of a baker than a cook because I only ever took pictures of cakes and cookies. I get his point. Except: Baked goods are just much easier to photograph.
I want to talk about it all. I do.
But when dinner is ready, I want to eat. And so does my husband.
And while I have no problems snapping pictures of my cookies, it does feel kind of weird doing the same thing for my dinner. Maybe because dinner needs plating. Something I am still learning to do.

So, let's just talk and imagine the foods we had this past week at our house, shall we?
Our first dinner together on Sunday after we arrived: Spaghetti with heated up Prego sauce. Not what you expected? Not what I expected either. We didn't go grocery shopping the first day back in Jordan and while the pantry had dried beans, lentils and pasta there was not a single onion or clove of garlic to be found.
So we ate what my husband had bought in my absence: Prego with meat.
I had wanted to try Prego ever since I saw Malcolm Gladwell talking about pasta sauces (it's not really about sauce, it's about the nature of choices but his example is Prego). I know now that canned sauce is not an option for me. Lesson learned.

On Monday, I made Chana Masala - a spicy chickpea dish with tomatoes. I didn't follow the instructions of the recipe just the general idea. I served it with bread and a green salad. It wasn't the most elaborate dish but healthy, filling and quick - exactly what was necessary after being home late from grocery shopping.

Tuesday saw another Indian dish - same book - because the colors and spices appealed to me. I made a "Kerala-style chicken and cardamom curry" with tomatoes and coconut milk. I served it with rice (faced a fear and my basmati turned out beautiful) and roasted broccoli and while the recipe says it serves 4 the two of us finished it all.

When my husband saw me putting risotto rice in our shopping cart on Monday he requested I make some soon. So on Wednesday he got mushroom risotto (loosely adapted from here but with extra dried mushrooms soaked in water) and a salad with David Lebovitz "Blue Cheese Dressing" (I added more sour cream/less blue cheese and while my husband really liked it with Romaine lettuce and cucumbers I found it still too strong).

Also on Wednesday I prepared some pizza dough and put it in the fridge to rise. I followed this recipe by  The Pioneer Woman. There are a lot of different recipes out there. I chose this knowing that I would get 2 pizzas (the second half is in the freezer waiting for its turn) and I didn't have to watch the dough knowing it would rise slowly in the fridge, developing a nice flavor. I am ready for other ratios of flour to oil to yeast though in the future. I rolled it out really thin and loved it. And so did my husband on Thursday.

So here you have my first week of cooking. Every day could have had its own post with pictures and a recipe (yes, even the Prego one). I'll get there. Some day.
I did some baking too last week. We'll get to that some other time.

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