I seem to be coming to a better understanding of what kind of cook I am. What this clarity can be attributed to is uncertain, but I’m digging it. Guess these past few columns are towards a philosophy of cooking.
I’m more of an eclectic, I suppose, borrowing what I can from whoever I can. I am not a gourmet: I rarely measure ingredients, unless it’s a complicated recipe which I’m trying for the first time. I am also not one for expensive cuts of meat or fancy, out-of-season vegetables.
Essentials to me are fresh mushrooms, sour cream, full bodied cheese, whipped butter and cheap wine. Good wine is something I consider a luxury.
I’m so used to Paisano or Gallo Rosé that I’m afraid I might not appreciate good wine when I taste it. (Cheap wine tastes best drinking it out of the bottle in the bleachers at a baseball game or in the back seat of a car when it’s a real challenge not to spill it.)
I’ve timed myself and have come up with how long it actually takes me to fix dinner. If the meat is thawed and ready to go, it takes me 1 hour and 15 minutes to have everything ready and on the table.
Very few meat dishes take more than an hour to cook unless it’s a big roast or something that stews half a day. The first 15 minutes is used preparing the meat and then cooking for between 45 minutes to an hour.
Making a salad and whatever else you’ve decided on can be done in an hour, and this is without using convenience foods. I do like frozen vegetables, especially in the winter because they look so good and keep their taste. K-Mart Foods is the cheapest chain store I’ve found to date. Farmer Jack ain’t what he used to be.
But wait, soon we won’t have to be running around town looking for the cheapest prices. Soon Open City will have a food co-op featuring food at cost, located near the Wayne campus and open to everyone in the community.
A quick cheese cake recipe from my mother’s recipe file:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. sugar
4 Tbs. butter
4 3-oz. packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Bake crust and filling for 20 minutes at 350. Remove and add topping, then bake for 5 minutes more at 450.
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla