Thursday, July 28, 2005

Cook next door

You coax the blues right out of the horn, Meme,
You charm the husk right off of the corn, Meme!
(an ode to "Mame" in case you couldn't guess.)

Thanks to Megret at Morsels of Megret for tagging me for the Cook Next Door meme. I was in desperate need of some inspiration.

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
On my very own? I know I "cooked" plenty with my mom and my three sisters and brother. I remember one particularly messy (and good) jelly roll my sister PK made when mom and dad left us in her care. But the first thing I recall making on my own was meringue cookies, because they had the fewest ingredients of any recipe in my mom's huge cookbook. Eggs, sugar and maybe vanilla. I still love meringues.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
Well, my mom is a trooper in the kitchen. She made meals for all 7 of us all the time. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. She tried her darndest to accommodate my very picky tastes, too. So she taught me about feeding people.

But for my entree into cuisine, I would say probably Stacy, my college roomie. Before her, I had never even seen ingredients like pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and basil. That was in 1985.

Do you have an old photo as "evidence" of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
I have one but my scanner is on the fritz.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
I am a vegetarian. One of the reasons I became a vegetarian was because I could not stand the thought of cooking meat, and I figured if it made me that ill to think of, I had no business cooking it or eating it. I thought chicken was the worst but the other night I decided to suck it up and try to cook some salmon for my BF and guest...and I found a fin and almost threw up.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
I admit I am an addict. Coffee maker and good corkscrew. Of course I love all the regular stuff. Good chef knife and bread knife. Citrus reamer. Big blue Kitchenaid. Zojirushi rice cooker. Ancient Osterizer blender.

Biggest letdown - zillions of tiny tart and other molds I keep buying at garage sales and never using.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like and probably no one else.
It's normal in Mexico, not so much here - melon with lime, salt and chile powder. I also like watermelon curry (see previous post). When I ate meat, I loved peanut butter, sweet pickle and bacon sandwiches, which my mom made up. She loves them too.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
1. (I stole this one from Megret) Chocolate. I mean, a world without chocolate would be a sad, sad world.
2. Tortillas. Fresh handmade corn, yes, but I will settle for flour or whole wheat if I must.
3. Raspberries. They are too perfect.

Favorite ice cream:
I know it is gilding the lily, but Ben & Jerry's Phish Food (chocolate with caramel and marshmallow stripes, and tiny dark chocolate fish...that being said, I eat it about once every three years.)

You will probably never eat (again??):
I hate to say never. I have even eaten meat on some very odd occasions. But raw's a dread fear of parasites that keeps me away. And orange-leek soup. Nothing could be more horrible, since it tasted exactly like bile. Mmm.

Signature dish:
Butternut squash enchiladas:
1 lg butternut squash, baked til soft.
Mix hot flesh with as much cream cheese as you think is wise (1/2 box if you are low-fat, the whole thing if you are crazy and wild) and a bunch of chopped green onions.
Use the squash mix as a filling for enchiladas - at my house I use flour or corn tortillas dipped in Las Palmas red sauce, folded over, covered in a bit of Monterey Jack cheese or queso quesadilla. Bake until hot through or longer - 350 for 20 minutes or so.

Question added by Zarah: On average, how many times a week would you cook something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Zero to three.

Question added by Cathy: What do you usually eat for breakfast? Toast with jam and butter. Bread is just raw toast to me.

Question added by Alice: What are your stand-by dinner options when you don't have the time or the inclination to follow or create a new recipe? Quesadillas. Pitas with ajvar (see previous post) and a handful of olives. Boca burgers in a pita.

Question added by Karen: What would you like to cook someday that you haven't tried before? Vegetable pate.

Question added by the chronicler: Sweet or savory? Depends on many factors.

Question added by Snackish: Soup or salad? Salad

Question added by Grommie: Do you have any food quirks you'd like to admit?
Hm. Being a vegetarian should be enough...If I don't go to the market every other day, I feel like I am missing out.

And now, to debut the future bloggers who are tagged for this meme:

Beurre Monte
Pinoy Cook

Good luck, and have fun!


chronicler said...

Good answers! Oh and on those tiny tartlett tins, if your thinking of selling - I'm in the market!

Phish food is another great one of Ben & Jerry's!

Thanks for keeping the meme going!

Suebob said...

You are most welcome! I had fun. I am a bit worried because none of the three I tagged has said anything or posted the meme yet...if they don't I will tag others.

Sara E Anderson said...

Your comment about leek orange soup was equally horrifying and intriguing. Did you make the soup yourself, or was it served to you? What is the recipe? We all have to stop and look at a culinary car crash sometimes.

Suebob said...

Hi Sara,

I made it myself. I got the recipe from a leek farmer at the farmer's market and thought "Wow, this sounds so weird, it can't be good, can it?"

So I made it. One tiny taste was all it took. It went down the sink, a memorable disaster. I am not sure what the recipe is because I probably tore it in a thousand pieces to save others the possibility of ever making it by accident.

Coolest Guy on the Planet said...

What do you recommend for a 265lb bodybuilder who wants to ATTEMPT vegetarianism? Please take this seriously. I tried once before when I was about 210lb and I felt great, but then I fell off the wagon and I want to get back but I don't want to shrink too much either.

Sam Freedom
coolest guy on the planet

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