Cooking Adventures: Hasta la pasta

No, you didn’t get redirected to another blog. This is really me, attempting to start cooking again in a semi-daily basis.

I’ve always heard that everybody can cook pasta. Well, that wasn’t true – or at least I didn’t believe it – until last week. One of my colleagues who noticed that I never bring food and always eat out at work, told me cooking pasta is real easy. You just boil water and throw it in. The package will usually bring instructions.

It’s one of those things that I usually am thankful for and later dismiss, but not this time. Sometime last year I decided that whenever I discover something that I want to do, I should just prepare all I need and do it as soon as possible. Instead if it’s something I discover that I do not want to do, I should forget about it.

The staple spaghettini and sauce

I decided to get everything I needed and cook that night.

I mean if everybody can do it, then I must be included, right? I got a tomato sauce (yeah, already made – baby steps) and spaghettini from the store. Challenges? Well, very little things. My biggest pot was not large enough to accomodate the length of the spaghettini, or the entire amount of water that the instructions said was needed. It’s the kind of things that usually deter me from going on. I decided to wing it.

If it took 20 cups of water to make the entire package, I only would need 5 cups of water for a fourth of the package. There’s something here that an actual cook would already have found really silly: I actually thought of making the entire package because, as it should be painfully obvious, I had no clue. Actually one fourth turned out to be the perfect amount for two healthy servings: one for dinner and one to take the next day for lunch at work.

The fact that the spaghettini was too long to fit in the pot was not the a problem. With boiling water, it softened almost instantly and bent in. Later on, I learned you can also snap it in half before you throw it in. Should be obvious, but I’ve never really applied my mind to cooking.

I cooked again the next night, after a rough day at the office. It turned out to be the highlight of my day. That time I added broccoli and sausage. Then broccoli and ham, but this time I remembered to get parmesan cheese to sprinkle on it.  You get the idea. I cooked and ate pasta for a week.

A couple of days ago, I decided that I should give the pasta a break. Another colleague of mine said there’s other sauces you can pick up like curry and make butter chicken or chicken vindaloo. That really got me thinking indian food, but the sauce that I picked up said chinese curry and it seemed interesting.

Diced chicken, curry sauce, assorted peppers and mushroom

There were some guidelines in the sauce bottle so I picked up some chicken breasts, and one of this already-cut pieces of assorted peppers they sell at the grocery story. I’m lazy. Sue me. I didn’t forget to get mushrooms as well. I heated up a frying pan, and sent in the chicken. Waited until it was brown all over and send the sauce while I diced the peppers and mushrooms into even smaller bits.

I have had a box of instant rice since… a year? I used it but it had no taste. The meat helped but the rice tasted like nothing. I’m throwing it away.

I got some food containers to store food like the pasta and rice. And now I want to buy a rice cooker. Having actually well done rice would be a blessing. I also want to learn to do saffron rice which is what we eat back home a lot. I really miss it.

Chicken tacos

Tonight I had leftovers but I really didn’t want the rice anymore. It was snowing and sloshy so I wanted to just stay in. I definitely will not try to make rice again, but just get a rice cooker that will do the job. I’ll go shopping for one tomorrow.

I went all “bachelor mode” and rather than just eat the curry chicken, I opted to do tacos. After all, it’s exactly what you use to do tacos and I had tortillas for it. They tasted great.

I added hummus to one, but it was really not necessary. Some parmesan cheese before heating them up to add some cheesyness but just a hint.

For the first time in ages, I’ve enjoyed cooking again. We went out for our perk lunch at work and I had pasta because I wanted to try these fetuccini al pesto with shrimps. I think I want to make them. I love fetuccini and the pesto was really good. They were very small shrimps though. I am sure I could get me some decent ones. Wonder how hard would be to make them.

I’ve got a raclette dinner on Saturday. Not the kind of dinner where I can pick up any hints but you never know. I certainly learned that I don’t. But then you never do until you try.

That will do for now.

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  1. #1 by Evelyne@cheapethniceatz on January 30, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    I am so proud, my little bay bird chef is starting to cook on his own. Awesome job. Yes NEVER get instant rice…stick to basmati.

  2. #2 by Joel on February 11, 2012 - 4:23 pm

    This is great! You’ve basically covered the extent of my culinary experiments: pasta and stir-fry. Good stuff though. Oh and for rice I just followed the package and waited for the water to evaporate. Takes a while (especially for wild rice it’s almost an hour), but it usually works.

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