Exploring Cooking

In these times of hunkering down and staying close to home there are reports about ingredient shortages as folks apparently starting cooking more from home. Many folks out there are first-time cooks, while others returned to their roots and made family favorites. There were folks who took up cooking to take some sort of control over all the craziness out there. Others took up cooking out of necessity to stretch their shrinking budgets. I’ve always cooked at lot from scratch for both enjoyment and for better health. Staying home was not going to change that, but it did.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love making pies.

My cooking style was influenced by my grandmas, all three. I came from a blended family and I had an amazing group of women who influenced my life in so many ways. They all brought something different to the table in my cooking experiences. One of my grandmother’s belonged to a cookbook club and made one new recipe a week for as long as I could remember. So experimental cooking seemed to me to be the norm. Another of my grandma’s was the queen of comfort foods, feeding others, and was well known for her pie skills. She gave to me the importance of sharing food with others and the ability to make pastry by gut instinct. My third granny lived in the city and she exposed me to all sorts of foods with her statement that I had to try two bites of everything on the table. It was a taste palette expansion I don’t think I would have had any other way.

Pandemic cooking has brought two things to our home. Learning to really cook for two and making meals that I had never imagined before. RangerSir always was a trouper about eating leftovers and trying new things. I have always loved to browse cookbooks looking for something new to make. Unfortunately for me my collection of cookbooks is old and full of tried and true, but not much new in there begs to be tried anymore. Cooking magazines are outrageously expensive so they are a very rare guilty pleasure. Lucky for me Amazon “gave” a full year of The Food Network app away just after the lock down started and I suddenly had more recipes to try than I had days in the week.

Half of a chicken dinner done on a sheet pan. Thank you Marc Murphy of The Food Network

The Food Network started me thinking about foods I didn’t really use and provided me with new recipes without breaking the bank. We would watch a food show while we ate lunch. Sometimes it was a “What???” moment and other times it had us thinking we should make that. This chicken was suppose to be a spatchcock chicken cooked on roasted vegetables. Once I split the whole chick down the back bone and flattened it on the pan, I got to thinking ‘why am I cooking both haves at one time?” I put the second half in the freezer for another day. The roast vegetables included leeks, something I saw in the store many times. I had always bought onions, shallots and garlic so did I really need leeks too? This recipe got me to try them. They are one of my new favorites to add when doing fall and winter root vegetables. There are now a staple and no longer shy from recipes that call for them.

Another fun thing about using a TV network show is it has turned into a group effort cooking. I know I can print the recipes, but that makes it a one sided affair. Now days I am in the kitchen prepping foods and RangerSir is assigned remote control. His job is to stop, rewind and start the video as I get out of sync with the TV chefs. It makes this cooking a joint effort and we laugh at ourselves in this crazy synchronization of making dinner. He always asks about the food we eat and this way he is much more informed because he was part of the cooking in a way.

Are you cooking more during these times? If you’d care to share I love to hear about what you are making.

7 comments on “Exploring Cooking

  1. I found a huge love for baking my own breads which never really interested me much. Now I keep a nice sized jar of yeast in my fridge and lots of flour in stock! Especially for pizza doughs. Sooo good!

  2. Wow, that chicken & vegetables and apple pie looks delicious! I’m challenged when it comes to home cooking but hopefully this post will help me to make some progress.

    • The chicken and vegetables were amazingly easy. I’d encourage you to try. I think one of the best parts of that recipe is I discovered you can throw veggies tossed in oil on a cookie sheet with edges. I use one I got at good will for this cause to not “taint” my realy cookie sheet. I cooked it about 20 minutes and then added my chicken with the skin rubbed with my spices of choice and cooked it another 20 minutes. Checked my internal meat temp and dinner was served.

      When doing sheet tray/cookie sheet cooking for one or two you throw on what vegtables you like and most importantly what looks like the right serving for you. No left overs. No trying to figure out how to cut a recipe down. Once you get it in the oven it is nothing to worry about until the timer goes off.

      Let me know if you try something like this.

  3. Cooking at least 2 meals a day, yes, and i try to make plenty to share with my elderly father who still lives alone, as well as our elderly neighbor. It can be a rut, Diana!
    Now the weather is cooling, l am making more soups with fresh yeast rolls or savory multigrain muffins. Dad’s latest favorite is cream of potato-broccoli. Simmer up the veg in chicken stock until soft, blend with immersion blender and melt in pepper jack cheese and a stir of cream. Season to taste

  4. I have never been so tired of cooking in my life…even our plain Jane things! We also have had more lunches than ever before. They get boring quickly!! At least we are well and CAN cook! The old glass half full thing!

I'd love it if you let me know what you thought of this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s