After an entire week of eating nothing but PB&J sandwich for lunch and dinner, I knew looking at the Smuckers bottle would not be a pleasant sight. It was half finished. Obviously, of course it had to. Peanut butter unlike Amul butter can be had in copious amounts as far as my taste buds and foolish lipo-recognizers are concerned. Result – half bottle of butter-jam finished. In one week. Ideally, do not butter, jams adorn the sides of doors of fridges for months till end, at least one month? I do not know why I was expecting Smuckers to surpass me by my lifetime, but the jolt was enough to get me to kitchen to cook for something real.
I am one of those – reluctant cooks, the people who do not get heard much on internet. At least, I for one fail to hear their noise umm.. voice. All I hear is sizzles of food blogs. I used to proudly declare in school, “I don’t know how to cook.” I would have still be proud of the same and reared the rebel in me more but when I look around myself, my generation suddenly seems to be born with spatula and olive oil. Making me more doubtful of myself. Am I lagging behind or am I years ahead of them?
Anyways, that distraction apart, I focussed on what could be cooked. It is important to know what could be cooked, if you are in my situation. You cook for yourself, there are no flat-mates taking turns at cooking, and you are a sloth when it comes to cooking. So, you buy vegetables in puny amounts and just two or three of them. So, of course my fridge is not as stocked as it used to be last semester. I had bought green peppers/capsicum on this trip becuase potato-peppers would be nice change and I had bought zucchinis because I am suddenly in love with them. And of course bag of potatoes followed me home, it is the most loyal food-item you could work with besides rice. So, peppers, zucchini, potatoes and an intention to cook. What could be made out of this. Of course the plain old peppers-potato for which peppers were bought in the first place but voice in the heart said Naaaaah!
I was then reminded of Sunday Cook-a-thon by my friend Arnab who has just recovered from his milestone birthday on Ze Valentine’s Day! How Special! Happy Birthday Arnab. So, with his help and special tip and very timely response to my SOS calls, I succeeded in making myself a real meal.
Of course, now that I was making a big deal of it, I decided to photographically evidence it. I do not know how or why this idea came into my mind, but I did! So, my very firsht food blog entry. Kavi would be so proud. She is one of the people who could teach me how to actually do stuff in kitchen.
So, without further delay, here they are, my thoughts in order of cooking (i.e. when I was cooking and not when thoughts were getting cooked)
(Photos are not great, but they are not the point either. I am the point, and I am great)
- Enter into kitchen. Wow! There already is a spread. Seems like my flat-mate is also planning to cook in a big way.
I had almost fifth of mind to snag some of her stuff. I did not. Good sense prevailed. Oh! but I did snag the knife she had used to cut her stuff, but well then technically the knife belongs to “the house”. So, I have clean conscience so far. I would towards the end pluck and use 4 leaves of cilantro, BUT I WAS offered to do that. So, we can rest in peace, I did not have to resort to theft to fill up my belly.
- So, I am using boiled potatoes, corn, zucchini (of course, no?) onion. And aah! Pepper
- Onions are fried in olive oil, corn cob is thawed in boiling water.
- Zucchinis are thrown in and green chillies too follow with ginger and garlic. I have noticed these days, I am replacing red chilli powder with thin slices of green chillies.
Of course, the photo is staged to get the pair of scissors in to tell you all about my brilliance. I use them to cut chillies as I use peeler to get thin layers of ginger.
- And tomatoes, and corn!
I tried to keep the amount of stuffing low. Per habit, I end up making more of everything. I can’t help it. So, I consciously decided to cook only small amount of vegetable stuffing.
- And mashed potatoes go in. I am excited. I even put in some cheese. I intentionally did not photograph the cheese. It was simple Kraft cheese not some fancy one. You would have realized some of these photos have been carefully crafted, like this one to get the Seasoning Salt, and pepper and oregano in. Ooh! that was not done to tell ya they were used while cooking but I think I am growing vain. Well so, we can say these photos ARE serving dual purpose. Also, it was here, that I realized the stuffing would fall short of what is needed. Oh well.
- So, I massage the inside and outside of hollow seeded pepper with olive oil as per Arnab’s advice. The stuffing goes in, the top of pepper goes back on top of it. And the whole package goes in an oven preheated to 350F.
- Now, that I was getting so fancy, there was simply no stopping me. I cut slices of boiled potato spread some oil on them and sprayed some salt. This idea was given to me yesterday by another ex flat-mate, Jasleen who too should be acknowledged as one of the people who could teach me about stuff in kitchen. This potato had to had some of my touch. So, I threw some oregano and minced garlic on it. Now, this guy totally hates me for buying frozen vegetables and minced garlic. He somewhat understands convenience and cheapness of frozen vegetables for a grad student but he denies to understand need of bottled minced garlic. Well, just to let you know Ed, minced garlic bottles also have this watery garlicy thing which came in very handy while casually dropping some garlic and garlic-water over potatoes. Anyways, Ed also tends to be high-maintenance when it comes to cooking.
- Things come out of the oven, looking mmm mmm and yum yum. I had kept them in oven as long as they needed to be in there. Kept checking “if they were there yet”. I guess it took pepper some 30 minutes and potatoes some 15 minutes.
Oh! Oh! Pepper was also sprinkled with cheese on top of it before it went into the oven. The molten cheese looked awesome.
And peoplefolk! the aroma was totally awesome. It was a successful meal.
But during the whole procedure, I got a few questions in my mind. So, people who actually take photograph of their food at every step, how do they do it. Sometimes, hands are wet, sometimes they are oily, sometimes they have mashed potatoey stuff sticking on to them. Washing and drying hands before every camera click almost tired me.
And of course, you also run in a chance of having your camera smell like an onion, or garam masala or worse, cauliflower. How do you guys do it? Do you have separate camera – one for food related photos, other for rest of the stuff/life. Even though I can’t answer that question, I am extremely thankful that you do it, whatever is the motivation. People like me benefit a lot. We the ones, who are adept at ruining something simple (yet profound) like tea. Well, who am I to say “we”, I have never heard rest of us. So, me. Me is confused but still thankful. And full of goodness too.
This meal was followed by Klondike’s dark chocolate ice cream.