Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Are You A Foodie?

Are you a foodie? I sure am.

Since around 1992 or so, I have been cooking meals for myself on and off. Before I had kids, I always cooked dinner for myself and my wife. Now the schedule doesn't allow it, but I still get to cook on the weekends.

I am not talking grilled cheese or steak on the grill (although those are just fine, thank you). I like cooking. For those not understanding this, cooking to me isn't the same as heating. Cooking to me is taking fresh, high quality ingredients and combining them using different techniques over a couple of hours to create intense flavors and textures. To me there is nothing better than getting a scotch going and relaxing while chopping, mincing and combining.

Last Sunday I made baked shrimp in chipotle sauce. It has all I look for in a recipe - simplicity in technique (I don't have all day, mind you), easily found ingredients and bold flavor. As I am cooking for small children as well as myself, I have to cut down any hot ingredients and I did just that in this recipe. I cut the chipotles from two down to one and only put one teaspoon of the adobo sauce in. This recipe absolutely kicked ass. I had never baked shrimp before (I am a grill guy) but these were great. They left out one, I think, important tip. When baking them, bake the shrimp in a covered dish - that way, all of the steam keeps recirculating inside and keeps everything moist. I used frozen shrimp that were thawed just before putting in the sauce and baking dish - I can't imagine how good this would have been if the shrimp were fresh...but that adds cost, too. If my family is ever away, I plan on making this for myself with the higher amount of chipotles and sauce - god that will be great.

I also made this recipe for Cuban black beans. It was just OK. I never have a problem if I make a recipe correctly and it doesn't turn out the way I would like. This was one of those cases. There is definitely an art to making a truly great batch of black beans and this recipe isn't a very good start. There just was too much onion and pepper and not enough spices in this for me.

I think I may start posting photos of my completed weekend dinner creations but time will tell on that. If I had to do it all over again, I would be either a lawyer or a chef - I would probably would be happier if I could cook for money. Wouldn't that be great?

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