I’ve Reached the Quest’s Quarter Mark

I achieved a major milestone this week by completing 25% of the recipes in the Fields of Greens cookbook. Mark and Alicia joined Spike and me in the celebration. We paired a butternut squash soup with a baguette and gruyère cheese for the occasion. Delicious!

mark and aliciaI’ve learned quite a bit about cooking since I started this journey:

  • Cooking from scratch takes quite a bit of time. Spike’s able assistance has been my salvation on a number of occasions. This journey has proven to be a lovely way to spend time together. I’ve also made a point of playing good music while in the kitchen.
  • Cooking from scratch is far more flavorful than cooking with short-cuts. There is a material difference in taste between fresh herbs and dried herbs and between bottled garlic and fresh garlic – well worth the incremental food preparation time. The biggest surprise in this realm is the extent to which canned tomatoes overwhelm a multi-faceted recipe. While far more convenient than preparing stewed tomatoes from the fruit of the vine, canned tomatoes prove to be the dominant genes against which everything else seems recessive. It’s fine for some meals, but I’ll opt for making fresh tomato sauce for others.
  • This quest has introduced Spike and me to several new ingredients – e.g., celery root, chanterelle mushrooms, calvados, gruyère cheese. By stretching my boundaries, I’ve had to get much more familiar with the inventory at my local grocers. I’m awestruck by the bounty of food stuff we enjoy in the Pacific Northwest!
  • It’s not as hard as I imagined to prepare these foods. Admittedly, I’m not stellar in my technique. (I’m still struggling with pastry!) But I’m succeeding at meal preparation for the most part, and I expect to improve with practice.
  • Great food turns an otherwise run-of-the-mill meal into date night!