All professional chefs, and most fancy home-cooks, would be horrified to see me in action in the kitchen. I don’t do anything “properly,” and I indiscriminately throw together whatever I think will work. I unabashedly leverage convenience foods of all types – canned soup, broth from a carton, processed cheese, frozen vegetables, the list goes on and on. I’ve always got a giant jar of pre-minced garlic in the fridge, and I buy dried herbs and spices in the big container from Sam’s Club. You know what? I also pour those spices and herbs directly out of the container into a bubbling pan, and I don’t care about the moisture that gets up in the bottle. “HEATHEN!,” I hear you gasp. Yeppers, that’s me!
You will rarely see me using an actual recipe unless I am baking, as that generally requires a certain amount of precision for success. I learned how to cook from my mother and my late grandmother, both solid Southern cooks who taught me all the basics, most of which I have developed a Lazy Working Woman’s approach to. I’m very big on researching recipes on some of my favorite food sites, then coming up with my own take on the information. Sometimes it works out great, sometimes not so much.
When I am in the mood to cook, I usually take a tour of the fridge, freezer and pantry, and throw something together on ad-hoc basis. My husband, who also loves to cook, is the same way. He is more high-brow than I am, however, and often researches recipes online to understand the cooking science of a new item and then he’s off to the local Asian or Farmer’s Market. This is how he became The Broth Master, but that is another post.
Our kitchen is 15′ x 15′ in a 1970’s ranch house, and we remodeled it to be optimal for relaxed people who love to spend a lot of time in that space. On the rare occasions we entertain, everybody heads for the kitchen immediately. We spend at least a half day per weekend in the room because we just can’t stay away – it truly has become the center of our home. When we are cooking together (and into the cocktails) and we’re both wandering in and out of the kitchen, we’ll just randomly add this or that as we pass, often based on nothing more sense of smell. Sometimes, we end up with something that is so damn good, we have to write it down so we don’t forget how we made it.
That is where any recipes I post come from: it was good enough to write down.