I have always really liked to cook. I cooked a little bit when I lived at home with my parents, and a little bit when I was in college and lived with my girlfriends off-campus. But I really started cooking with joy when Andy and I moved to Missoula and I got my own apartment (he had his own apartment but he was rarely there). Mine was a studio apartment, and the kitchen was really small. We painted the whole room wedding-cake white — bright, bright white, from walls to trim to shelves. It was pretty cute. The Orange Street Food Farm (our grocery store) was just a block down the alley. We had absolutely no money then. We worked ALL the time. But we started cooking together during those two years we lived in our little studio, and it was a blast. Dinner parties and special events were my favorites.
But cooking regularly was and still is challenging for me. I don't like going to the grocery store that much. I have a hard time figuring out what to make. I seem to have no memory of anything I've ever made when it comes time to figure out what to make today. Before I started blogging four years ago, I would say that cooking had become something I didn't even notice anymore, and just tried to get through when necessary, somehow. But the blog renewed my enthusiasm. Taking pictures of roasting spices is just FUN. Talking about what happened in the kitchen is fun. Finding something to make for the blog is fun. Real food blogs just totally blow my mind they are so cool. Watching cooking TV to get ideas is super fun and majorly relaxing. I love cooking shows. Perfect Day is my favorite one (though their web site is crashing my computer, so I'm not going to link it), and I love America's Test Kitchen, and you know I love the Barefoot Contessa, and I still TiVo Tyler's Ultimate and watch about once a week or so, depending on what he's got going on.
I don't blog everything I cook, by any means. But the blog has given me a renewed interest in the process of cooking. It forces me to slow down in all aspects — from shopping to preparing — and do things with more consideration and appreciation. Sharing what we've made virtually still feels like a kind of sharing, and thanks-giving. Today I'll pack my bags to donate. And plan the menu for Thursday. And do a little shopping. We'll have seven adults and two kids for dinner.
On Saturday, I was back in the kitchen after a bit of a take-out-Thai-soup hiatus. I spent most of the afternoon making Tyler's Turkey Mole Poblano (except I used boneless/skinless chicken breasts). I really love Tyler's recipes (though I do wish he would give exact measurements for salt and pepper the way that Ina does; it wasn't until I started cooking with her that I realized I was way under-salting and under-peppering everything that I made, and correcting that has made a huge difference in my cooking, I must say). But Tyler's recipes are perfectly, Saturday-afternoonly complex, at least in my opinion. You usually have to get pretty busy in the kitchen, creating sauces that have several processes, and sophisticated layers of flavor, but they work. I've made many of his recipes over the years and they work out really well for me (though now that I think about it I was that one time disappointed).
The Mole Poblano was terrific. Our friend Trevor was here for dinner and he graciously agreed. We served it with fresh avocado and a blob of sour cream and, yeah. It's deffo going into the recipe binder. Really good for a cold-and-rainy November Saturday night dinner.
Seeeeeeeriously messy kitchen when you're done, though. This doesn't even begin.