Monday, November 23, 2009

Guest Blogger: Reckless Cooking

While I am away on my honeymoon, guest bloggers will be filling in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Reckless Cooking, that’s what I call it. A brief history. A little over a year ago, the thought of me cooking seemed comical. (Ask Mr. AT) I’d gotten through college subsisting on canned goods and Ramen noodles. After I got married and moved to New York City, my wife and I found it far easier to pick up takeout on the way home or have dinner at any one of our neighborhood spots.

One year ago, this all started to change. A year ago, my wife and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. We moved to the suburbs and I was still working in NYC. Finding time to cook was a definite challenge.

Start simple and don’t be afraid. A couple of random guidelines I follow:

1. Don’t be afraid to cook something badly

2. Herbs are a must: dry or fresh will do

3. Slow cooking prevents burning and maximizes flavor

4. Larger cuts of meat are easier than smaller cuts

5. Plastic Ziploc bags make marinating so easy

6. Most greens can be placed in a salad or tossed with pasta and olive oil

7. Use a meat thermometer.

I've found that pork loins are usually reasonably priced. I will cut a pork loin into two to three pound pieces and place the pieces into a Ziploc bag the night before I plan on cooking. I’ll marinate with a combination of salt, pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, basil, rosemary, and whatever fresh herbs I may have lying around. Seal the bag and leave it to work overnight. When I get home the next day, I’ll usually have our one-year old daughter in tow. That’s the tough part because she always wants to play/eat/be held/ or touch something she shouldn't be touching. This is where is the oven is key. Take the pork loin out of the bag and place it in an oven proof pan. Set your oven to 260 degrees. Come back in 45 minutes to an hour. Use the meat thermometer. Remember 160 degrees for pork. You will spend more time carving than you did cooking.

You can use the same basic process described above on beef roasts as well. Using the oven to bake is such a time saver especially when cooking during the week. On weekends, I try to cook larger portions so we can eat leftovers the beginning part of the week.

Reckless cooking? A lot of trial and error. I try anything once and if it turns out badly, well its my lunch for the week.. Happy Cooking.

BTW: I just wanted to mention that during the last year, our family joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Association). A CSA is where a group of people pay in advance of the growing season a farmer for the output of the farm. If it is a great growing season, then the yield is great. If it is a bad growing season, then, you may be out of luck. Well we’ve been lucky. We receive organic locally grown vegetables for about $15 dollars a week. We get some very typical stuff like green beans, lettace, and sweet potatoes. However, it is fun some weeks when we get vegetables like daikons and misatos. If anyone has recipes for these things, please let me know.

Guest Blogger: Carey N. (who introduced Mr. AT and I)



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