Friday, May 29, 2009

Cooking and Cauliflower

I made this cauliflower recipe from 101 cookbooks last night, and it was delicious - kind of like home fries but with cauliflower. The photo on the left is of the lemon zest and chives waiting for their turn to be thrown in the pan. I just thought they looked so pretty together in my handmade (by me!) pottery bowl. The chives are from my new herb garden - which is why there are actually a lot fewer than the recipe called for. I only have a very small chive plant so far that I'm hoping will grow a lot over the summer and come back next year and the next, etc. I may buy a couple more little seedlings at the farmer's market tomorrow. The photo on the right is the yummy finished product in a beautiful pottery bowl that my mother bought for me at a craft fair. I have to say it's kind of what inspired me to take pottery in the first place. It's really simple but the curves are just right and the color is so calmingly organic. The photo in the middle is actually the beginnings of 101 cookbooks' 5 minute tomato sauce that I actually made the other day as well. This time I toned down the red pepper flakes and used the crushed tomatoes as Heidi recommends. Last time I had to used diced because that was all we had. I think I actually liked the diced tomatoes better. Either way, it's definitely going to be a staple (especially on Thursday nights when grocery money is getting low before payday on Friday. I was able to buy the ingredients for this whole meal along with a loaf of French bread for $15 - not bad). I'm very excited about the fact that I've been doing so much cooking at home. I'm guessing that a lot of you especially those with families do that every night and always have, so it probably sounds ridiculous that it's a big deal for me. For a while, we weren't so good about always eating around the table or even eating together at all. When the kids were really little, we'd feed them something healthy-ish and get them to bed then get takeout for ourselves - not every night obviously - but more frequently than I like to remember. As the kids got a bit older, we'd get takeout for all of us maybe once a week or so with, I'm ashamed to say, a cereal night thrown in there every once in a while. Now I have a full head of steam for cooking at home. I really hope I can keep it going. (I'm rather infamous for obsessing over one thing like it's all I can live for then moving on to the next thing with hardly a glance back at the thing I could previously not live without; knitting, sewing, pottery, gardening, etc. And those are the ones that I actually do revisit. There are some things that I dallied in that I will probably never go back to; scrapbooking, needle-felting, linoleum block printing.) I think there were several motivators. The first was starting our Vegan diet which pretty much limits our takeout options (not too mention the lack of funds being limiting). Who wants to buy a pizza only to scrape off the cheese and eat the crust? (Actually, my husband, sometimes. Yuck.) I think it (the diet) helps me have more energy, too. Plus, by some miracle of Veganism, I'm not so ravenous when I get home from work that I just have to eat the first thing I come across. I can actually comfortably wait to eat until I've prepared a yummy dinner. It also helps that my youngest is now almost two and most of the time would rather hang out with her older siblings than cling to me in the kitchen, so I actually have time to cook. Finally, Barbara Kingsolver's chapter in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about cooking together and eating at the table together really helped motivate me as well. Note to self: Read that again if I start losing cooking-at-home steam.

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