Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. You see, back in November(ish) I acquired a new roommate. Some of you may recall Pippi, my friend in the Air Force who moved away to Albuquerque a few years back. To make a long story short, she’s now out of the Air Force, and has moved back to Dayton to be closer to her boyfriend, her school (she’s in the process of getting her MS in Chemistry at Wright State), and her friends. Johnnycakes and I had a room open, and I was going to need another roommate anyway after he gets married & moves out this Spring, so we decided that she and her bird would move in with me.
When we were discussing the nitty gritty details of our housekeeping arrangements, we came to the topic of food. We made an agreement that if I would cook, she would do the dishes, and we would split the cost of groceries. The beautiful thing is that I think both of us is secretly convinced that we are getting the better part of the bargain. One of the things I quickly realized was that, while I’ve always cooked the majority of my own food, the stuff you cook for yourself (throw veg & pasta in a pot to cook together, drain, add protein & some sort of sauce, have dinner) just doesn’t quite work when you’re cooking for someone else. Now eating at the end of the day isn’t just putting enough nutrients in your mouth so that your stomach doesn’t bother you (remember that night when dinner was half a bagel left over from Sunday, some almonds, and that stray piece of cheese from the fridge?). Now it has to be Dinner. An actual Meal. It’s a whole different thing.
So the last month or two I’ve been suddenly planning dinner, and figuring out what foods Pippi likes, and where those intersect with the food I like, and getting a handle on what is quick and easy to cook when I’m coming home tired from work. I’ve discovered some awesome recipes in the process, several of them from my new favorite food website, Food52. I think the biggest hit so far has been Roasted Sausage, Tomatoes, & Peppers, which I usually serve with a big pot of polenta. And then there’s Lamb Pasta with Yogurt Sauce, something I created by kinda mashing Diane Kochilas’ Pasta with Yogurt & Caramelized Onions up with Creamy Mushroom Pasta, and adding ground lamb. Bean Soup with Chorizo is going on the repeat list too, especially when I serve it with Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread. And there’s lots more things I want to try.
The cooking has become even more important lately. For the New Year, I made a bet with two coworkers – whoever can go the longest without buying anything in the cafeteria will be treated to dinner at Tacos Locos by the other two who caved. I’m bound and determined not to lose this bet. My sleepy brain isn’t really up to making many decisions before I have my coffee, so that means having lunches packed & ready to go in the fridge. So far it’s been really easy to grab a container of leftovers from the night before. My lunches have never been so tasty!
Today I am praying for Glory Yaga.