Most weeks are scattered with good, tasty things: recipes to try, restaurants to frequent, wine to swirl, beer to quench our thirst. Fun should not be reserved for the weekend, nor should it limit itself to dining out. Cooking for me soothes and excites, eases me out of my work-mentality into my creative realm. It may seem like work to some, and that I understand; the dishes, the preparation, the time it takes to make a damn recipe could be spent more happily munching on aperitifs. For me, the act of planning out a meal, a dining experience, that in itself is the snack before the meal. Paired with a tasty glass of wine or refreshing bottle of brew, it’s the perfect evening. Sunday’s kick off our week and with the rain we had, it was a perfect excuse to stay in and make something with a little heat.
When I’m pressed for time, or more realistically imagination, I like to take recipes from Cooking Light. I’ve said that Cooking Light magazine is my porn. I feel very strongly about this. Having asked for a subscription for Christmas for the past several years, I’ve accumulated quite the collection and for some reason can’t seem to part with them. So, I started ransacking the magazines, ripping recipes that made my mouth salivate and eyes bulge, storing them in a black folder with slip covers for each category: fish, meat, appetizers, sauces, etc. When I’m in the mood to cook, when I’m feeling antsy or anxious, or in a funk, I reach for this black folder and suddenly I have a task. To eat, drink and be merry.
Often a week that’s not fully immersed in entertainment, quickly becomes flavored with food. I’ll select one, two, four recipes to sprinkle throughout the week and that becomes our entertainment. Mike, our happy kitchen’s sue chef, happily chops, dices and minces whatever needed for the recipe at hand. All while listening to Reggae, the happy music as he calls it.
Picking recipes that have interesting, exotic ingredients helps make the act of cooking livelier. With an Asian grocery store around the corner, the Orient often finds it’s way into our home. Chili paste, fish sauce, sriracha, hot chili peppers, bean sprouts, wonton wrappers….they say variety is the spice of life and we do like it spicy! One of our favorite spots to eat, Chiangmai, serves amazing Thai food with just the right amount of heat for most normal people who like spice. Who said we were normal?! Mike often likes to cry through his meals though, asking the beautiful waitresses to make it 6 hot peppers. If he leaves with his tongue numb, he’s happy. It’s fun to try to replicate that kind of flavor at home, although I’ve not mastered it quite yet.
Our kitchen really is one of the happiest places in the house. Whether we’re trying to copy-cat a favorite dish found during one of our adventures, creating a new taste thrill, or throwing together anything edible, the kitchen’s the place to be. Just bring your empty glasses, your hungry bellies, your cleansed palate and you’ll be sure to leave with a smile on your face.