I have absolutely no relation to New Orleans nor have I followed the Saints ever but I really really love that the fans say 'who dat'. So, yeah. I said it here. Man, what an awesome playoff win for them last night. The young kicker who kicked the winning field goal in OT seriously just had his career made, yo. Now, the Saints are Superbowl bound! Awesome stuff.
Anyway, my weekend was great! My brother and sister-in-law were in town and we got to do some fun things together. I had a terrific 5 mile run Saturday afternoon and then we went out to this little parlour in the West Village that night. Two things: 1) I was reminded how old I am when a guy bought me a shot for his friend's 22nd birthday party and 2) I was also reminded how much fun it is to be 22. Hahahaha! We had a blast out with friends though and I got to see some people I haven't seen in years. The shot guy also grew up a town over from mine in Georgia AND lives one block from me in the city. Talk about a small world. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and much needed laughter.
Sunday, I got up and started looking through my recipe book while I had coffee. Recently, I've been feeling like something's missing in my life and I haven't for the life of me been able to put my finger on it. As I looked through my recipes, it dawned on me. Cooking! I come from an interesting background that's a mix of creativity and logic. Dad was a very stoic man who worked hard his entire life, even without graduating from high school. He had tunnel vision in terms of what it meant to be successful and he saw only that, nothing else. My mom was a painter and free spirited navy brat. She grew up all over and developed an independence that allowed her creativity to shine and blossom. She's an amazing water-colorist and I can't tell you the amount of cards and notes I've gotten from her over the years with her sweet drawings. I'm happy to say that I got the best of both mom and dad (and I'm not too proud to say the worst too at times, ha!). I'm very responsible and wise with things like money/work yet I'm a creative dreamer at heart. I was never gifted with a hand to draw or paint but I was blessed with a love of creating. I must also mention that mom's artistic nature was not cut off at the paintbrush, if you will. She had a love of cooking that I adored from the second I was old enough to understand what she was doing. Mom worked part-time our whole childhood so there were a few nights during the week that she didn't cook. The nights she did though I was right by her side, watching and learning. See, mom didn't just measure and mix ingredients. Mom created something. She took an idea in her her mind and processed it through to what she would create in a meal that was far more than food. It was love. To me, there was nothing better in the world than to watch mom do her work. She was my own personal 'Julia Child' and the way she would create dishes was magical to me.
I am in love with cooking because of that. The process for me is a manifestation of not just my skills but of my love of nurturing and taking care of people. It brings me joy to cook and I realized that, by not cooking as much lately, that creative side of me has been stifled. Therefore, it's exactly what I've been missing. So, sitting there with coffee in hand and recipe book in lap, I decided that I am going to get back on target with cooking something new at least weekly if not more than that. Since it's just little ol' me in my apartment, it makes cooking a bit tougher but, nevertheless, I need to stimulate that creative side of me again. More often than not, I don't cook from recipes unless it's something brand new where I'd need a little help with ratios of ingredients. Usually, I glance at a recipe and come up with my own form of it but I've decided to show my cookbooks and recipes some love and get to workin'.
Sunday's creation was homemade corn chowder with potatoes and fresh thyme. At first glance, the recipe sounded great but I was skeptical of the amount of veggie stock AND cream it called for. It appeared like it would be far more of a soup than a chowder. Um, corn soup? No thanks. At any rate, I was true to the measurements and was totally mad at myself in the end that I didn't go with my instinct. I even made a fair amount of roux for it and it was just thin and one dimensional. I like my chowder to have levels when you take a bite and this was 'elementary', if you will. I like the flavors involved together but I already know what I'd do differently next time and, sadly, it involves changing nearly everything, ha!
At any rate, it completely satisfied just what I needed and I was so glad for that. Now, I just have to figure out what the heck I'm gonna do with a big pot of bland chowder. Grrrr...