Sunday, February 21, 2010

You have to eat to cook

“You have to eat to cook. You can’t be a good cook and be a noneater. I think eating is the secret to good cooking.”

~Julia Child

It's funny the places and things I'm drawn to on any given day. Sometimes it's needles and wool; creating something from nearly nothing. Sometimes it's vintage sheets finding new life via the sewing machine; toys, dresses, bags and aprons. Sometimes the camera and I while away our days chasing the perfect light. Some days my nose is buried in a book. And often I'm drawn to the kitchen. Lately the kitchen is where I've been spending my free time; born from necessity and desire.

We are striving to *live within our means* and *meet our budget*. This means cooking at home and cookhouse creativity. I've been challenging myself to make do with what we've got (i.e. no more daily trips to the grocery store). To be frank I've been rather pleased with the results.

Last night I made the casserole pictured above, loosely based on this recipe. Yogurt, parmesan, onion, hash browns and lemon filled the base. Diced red pepper, fresh dill (procured from leftover salad) and eggs garnished the top. It was perfect for dinner, lunch and dinner again.

I also delved back into winter vegetable pot pies -- this time with homemade crust. You see I made a deal with myself; if I assembled the crust (for which I already had the ingredients) then I could purchase a small bunch of daffodils. It was the right choice. The crust was delicious. We had enough crust for two nights and had even more filling to freeze for later. Plus I had a touch of sunshine on an otherwise gray day.

We also managed three loaves of sandwich bread, a loaf of banana hazelnut chocolate chunk bread, chicken nougats, a bottle of lemonade and a batch of coffee-flavored ice cream (well technically ice milk as we didn't have any cream on hand). One night was simple vegetables and rice. Another night grilled cheese and tomato (on homemade bread).

In other words we are eating well and saving money. I feel in no way deprived and I'd venture to say my husband feels the same way. I can't speak for the children -- they flat out refuse to try many of the things I make. Yes. Child can live on noodles alone.

Of course, on the downside, there are tons and tons of dishes to contend with. I'm learning to be a cleaner cook. I'm a bit of a slow learner.

Now let me tell you one more thing. This week I logged fifty-five hours at work (in fact I'm in my scrubs now). Why do I tell you this? Because I'm not wonder woman. Not even close. Not even a smidgen to close. My point is most cooking is simple. If you are an eater you can be a cook. Julia ought to know.


Debi said...

Your menus sound delicious and pretty healthy too! Love the Julia quote and totally agree with it!

Anonymous said...

The dishes! Oy, the dishes! We too have been cooking almost all our meals at home these days (though ours don't sound as tasty as yours). No matter how hard I try, I always end with a mountain of dishes. I try to tell myself it is all worthwhile, but sheesh. If you figure out a solution--post it!

Mrs. E said...

You are amazing! You may not think so, but you are! We are eating at home much more now, too. I don't think I am as creative as you are. I'm impressed!