Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Adventure in the Kitchen

Today as I was thinking about a recipe to share I decided I should tell you a story instead. It starts about three and a half years ago when my husband and I started dating.

Christmas 2008, one of our first pictures together
 This is the story about my adventure learning to cook...

Before I met my husband I did some cooking but still had a lot to learn. I did like to bake cookies and a few desserts around the holidays but other than that my idea of cooking was heating something from a bag or the occasional quiche I made with the help of my mom of course. Growing up when I would get asked what my favorite food was I didn't say pizza like most kids. I was the weird one that said quiche. You see when my mom was in the hospital before I was born she had quiche and I guess it stuck with me so I at least had to learn to make that. Okay, moving on...So basically, I was not too good in the kitchen. In fact I tended to burn things and recipes often confused me. My dad even used to make fun of me that I couldn't even boil water. But after meeting my husband that slowly changed.

On the night of my first date with my now husband I happened to be baking cookies for Thanksgiving which was the next day. When he came to my door I handed him a cookie, it was oatmeal with white chocolate chips and cranberries. I'm sure I must have had him fooled into thinking I was a great cook. Well it didn't take long for him to figure it out because a couple of weeks or so after that date I decided I wanted to make him dinner. But knowing I didn't cook well meant it was a pasta meal from a bag. I got so nervous that I was going to screw it up that he ended up doing most of the cooking. That is when I found out this man knew what he was doing in the kitchen, I liked that! However, it wasn't until our first valentines day that I really found out how much he knew about cooking.

He pulled out all the stops on this one and if I wasn't hooked already he totally had me hook, line and sinker after this. This incredible man was sweet and kind. He also treated me like a princess and would you believe it, he was practically a bona fide chef too?! Okay, well he didn't go to culinary school or anything, he works in architecture, but I like to call him my chef and after this night he will always be that to me. Here is what he did... 

When I arrived at his place he had the table set with candles lit and a gorgeous bouquet of one dozen pink roses waiting for me. He also was making our dinner and not from a bag this time, from scratch. We had chicken cordon bleu with gruyere cheese and prosciutto, green beans in a butter sauce with mushrooms and pancetta, garlic and chive yukon gold mashed potatoes and dinner rolls (which he actually bought from the bakery so not totally from scratch I guess, but I didn't care)

And that isn't all! He made dessert too! It was the most decadent raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. This stuff is velvety with just the right amount of richness and a bit tartness from the berries. He's also made pumpkin cheesecake and I have even gotten him to make me mocha cheesecake a few times. He makes these cheesecakes so well that he is known for it among friends and family.

I even got him to make two cheesecakes for our rehearsal dinner. Him and his brother also cooked the entire dinner from scratch along with three whole turkeys and four hams for the wedding. Our wedding meal was all prepared by friends and family who offered to help and I am so glad we did it this way. We had a better meal than most caterers would have been able to provide at a fraction of the cost.

Here he is working on one of the hams for our wedding dinner.

 After our first valentines dinner and even early on in our marriage I would sit at the counter in the kitchen while he was cooking. Slowly I started doing more cooking with his help of course as I always asked tons of questions. At first I made simple things, even hamburger helper and things like that, but I was cooking and learning which is what counted. Sure I have had my fair share of mishaps, and still do. My most memorable is probably a pasta dish I made once called spaghetti with sand. You would think the name would have been a turn off but I had the ingredients on hand so I tried it. Let me tell you, it may have tasted better had I actually dumped dirt on my plate. My husband graciously ate it until I asked him to please stop as I couldn't even stomach it. We laugh about it now though. Because of this I have learned that just because something is printed in a recipe book or website does not mean that it will be good.

Since then I have ventured to more complicated dishes and making more things from scratch. I'm pretty sure I shocked my husband when I told him one day while he was at work that I was making bagels from scratch. I have grown to love being in the kitchen and am always looking for new recipes. My husband doesn't totally get off the hook though. I do make dinner most days now but he often makes Saturday morning breakfast (things like crepes, eggs benedict or one of our new favorites dutch apple pancake) and is always in charge of the Thanksgiving turkey.

I hope that you are inspired to go do some cooking of your own now. Remember, even if you don't think you are a good cook, this is something that you can learn to get better at. Trust me I'm the girl who couldn't even boil water who now can do much more than just that! 

"Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!"  ~Julia Child~

          Ashley :-)

To see where I will be linking up my post this week, check out the weekly link-ups tab at the top of the page.  

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