Saturday, March 31, 2007

Milk in the batter, milk in the batter

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket...So since I became a stay-at-home dad while the wife works, the task has fallen to me to cook dinners most nights for the breadwinner. This has been an interesting challenge, as I am, I've learned, somewhere around remedial school level as a cook in life. There are a handful of things I can cook well - pizza from scratch probably the best, taught by my father – and, I find, an amazing amount of things I cannot really cook. Fending for myself post-college until Avril and I shacked up, Top Ramen, peanut butter, chicken nuggets and Shiner Bock beer were my four food groups.

But now I endeavor to provide meals for my wife - who, just to complicate matters, happens to be a vegetarian. (I'm not, but I don't eat much meat at home at all other than tuna.) These past few months, I'm trying to broaden my cooking beyond pot of pasta-or-beans and vegetables. And it's remarkable how one can get to age 35 without having cooked some of the basics. I also suffer from a handicap – a strangely undeveloped sense of taste. I'm just not really able to tell if what I'm cooking is very good, and I've never developed a particularly sensitive palate. Blame it on a childhood where I ate mostly mashed potatoes.

In any case, the cooking successes: made my first lasagna this week with portobello mushrooms, which got a resounding A+ from all concerned. I've also started to learn how to make a moderately good vegetarian curry, if I can refine the heat levels a bit more. I find I can do a good stir-fry (again, yeah, you think I'd have done this before now). Not so successful: You'd think soup would be quite easy, but my vegetable soup the other day turned into a kitchen-destroying, spinach-on-the-ceiling, colorful cursing ordeal that was only saved by wife Avril doing some last-minute tinkering when she got home. (A tip for next time: Don't double the amount of liquid used in a soup recipe without doubling everything else.)

What shall be my next triumph or waterloo? Will I attempt calzones or vegetarian biscuits and gravy? Will I discover a hidden Julia Child (or, far more frightening, an Emeril) inside me? Stay tuned.

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