Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Healthy living

So the one type of blog post that bores me beyond almost any other is the type where cooking-obsessed people detail the ostentatiously difficult and exotic meal that they whipped up from scratch without a recipe the night before... pretending that they are just excited about the delicious meal that they ate but really just bragging about what brilliant chefs they are (not to mention showing off their ridiculously expensive kitchen equipment).

You know the type: I had such a hard time finding galangal in Manhattan. This place is so uncultured. Luckily, I know exactly where to look for these things, so I managed to track some down in the end. I used my 39-speed food processor from Williams-Sonoma to purée it, then blended it with Italian winter black truffle oil. Then I simply added some cubeb before brushing the red snapper with the mixture so it would be ready to sear. To make a side dish, I simply used one of my Kasumi titanium knives to prepare a few marangs for flambéing. But of course I culled the seeds for roasting first; I used them later to garnish the snapper.

So before I continue with this entry, let me just make clear: everything I cooked was from a recipe. It only worked because I followed the recipe exactly. I am not a master chef. I can only cook if someone (or a cookbook) is holding my hand.

Nonetheless, I feel the need to share my excitement about this. Now that Torsten and I are living in a place with a fully stocked kitchen (unlike the kitchen in his former apartment, which did not contain a saucepan, any sort of measuring device, or a spoon larger than a soup spoon), we have given up on our former lifestyle of eating at restaurants or getting frozen meals from Trader Joe's every night. Now we are cooking. But not just cooking. We're cooking healthy. (Well, actually, I'm doing most of the cooking. This is not because Torsten doesn't want to help but rather because even though he is the better cook of the two of us, his skills run more toward the above-represented whipping up of great food without a recipe, which does not lend itself toward healthy eating as it usually involves pouring unmeasured but large amounts of oil, cream, or other unhealthy substances into every dish; also, I finish work earlier than he does.)

The amazing thing about all of this is that it's possible to cook something other than my old standby of pasta with tuna. If you use a recipe from a healthy cookbook or website, you can cook good food, real food like you might order in a restaurant, and you can cook it without all the unhealthy ingredients.

As evidence, I submit a list of the dishes that I personally have prepared over the past week:
  • Shrimp pad thai
  • Linguine with clams in a white wine sauce
  • Lemon-herb risotto with havarti and smoked salmon
  • Spinach enchiladas with shrimp veracruz
  • Tomato-basil bruschetta
  • Caprese rice salad
  • Baked shrimp in a lemon-garlic sauce
  • Spinach fettuccine with salmon in a creamy sauce
  • Chicken with scallion sauce
  • Polenta with baby spinach
Every single one of those things is something that I would consider ordering off a restaurant menu. Except that since I made them myself, I know that they are healthy. And yet they still taste good. Recipes enable a person to prepare a variety of exciting meals that actually taste good. Not just fancy master-chef-type people, but all people. Did you know that? Because I didn't.

1 comment:

  1. um, we need to share recipies. and by "share recipies", i mean, you need to give me yours. because they look frickin phenomenal. um, pad thai? spinach fettuccine? sign me up for cooking school ala jess!