Thursday, July 8, 2010

cooking uh-ohs

I am not a chef, I would not even classify my self as a good "home cook."  Sure I can throw together a salad and do a decent job following a recipe, but even then it doesn't always turn out as planned.  With this said, I'm still amazed by the people who tell me they do not know how to cook or are afraid to try cooking. When did cooking become scary?  Honestly, who cares if something gets messed up, or isn't done quite right.  Adults expect children to make mistakes growing, we should not always expect perfection of ourselves, especially in the kitchen.  Examples:

1. This weekend I planned on taking a banana-rum bundt cake to our church picnic.  However...I wanted to try making it with stevia.  Having worked in the outpatient diabetes center for 9 months now, my curiosity of how to make baked goods a little more "diabetic" friendly finally got the better of me.  Personally I hate the way splenda tastes, which is why I wanted to try stevia.   I looked online and found many different ratios for sugar to stevia conversions and finally settled on 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup Truvia.  The recipe for the cake came from my cooking light cookbook, and after whipping up the batter I poured it into muffin tins and set my timer.  (We do not have a bundt pan, and muffins are nice for automatic portion control.)  It seemed to take the muffins forever to brown, which was to be expected with the lack of sugar.  But even when they were on the verge of burning, the insides were still undercooked.  They were very very dense and a little rubbery, Ryan still likes them dunked in coffee.  Needless to say I did not take them to the picnic.  I substituted them with a bowl of Bing Cherries which everyone loved.

2.  Ryan bought 4 avocados from Trader Joe on his way home from Atlanta last weekend.  I noticed this morning that they had become very ripe and decided to try making a cold avocado-ginger soup.  I should have known the kitchen gods were not smiling down upon me today when I opened my container of ginger and it was mealy and moldy.  No problem I thought, I'll just add cilantro in it's place.  After chopping and sauteing an onion I was in the process of peeling and mashing the avocado which was very ripe with many brown spots.  Thank-goodness I decided to try a spoonful of it before adding it to the onions.  They had either begun to ferment or rot from the inside out and tasted awful.  But for any sum of money above $100 I would eat it again.  Instead of chilled avocado soup and fish for dinner, I'm switching gears and using the already sauteed onion to make picadilo.  Picadilo is a cuban ground beef dish served over rice.  Here are a several links to picadilo recipes, the first one is more time intensive than what I made, the others are fairly comparable.  For a vegetable I served a side salad with tomatoes, carrots, and celery.
Rachel Ray
Taste of Cuba

If you are new to cooking or trying a new recipe, it's never a bad idea to have a back up plan just incase your dish doesn't turn out quite right.  Back up plans can be anything from mac&cheese and steamed green beans to store bought cup cakes.  Also, start simple: sauteed chicken with veggies is good for beginners.  Chicken galentine on the other hand, probably a little too complicated for a novice or even intermediate cook.  But remember, as long as you tried that's all that matters; even if it's not perfect.


  1. Mac and cheese with green beans??? Did you get that idea from me?

  2. Maybe... :-) As well as spaghetti with broccoli.

  3. What about spaghetti sauce on a baked potato?