Friday, September 17, 2010

Zen Cooking

Enjoying this time between jobs has taken a more concerted effort. More moments of anxiety and frustration catch me by surprise as time ticks on.  As a result, I am rediscovering old hobbies like cooking and watching lots of tv. The two converged yesterday when I saw a documentary about a zen chef, best known for writing a bread baking best seller in the 1960s.

The idea of saving every grain of rice and treating food as you would your eyesight is so removed from how I relate to food but I appreciate that it doesn't need to be.

Before working at an office with 3 free hot gourmet meals a day, I was a New York anomaly. During my first decade here, I cooked so often that I could count the number of times I had ordered food to be delivered to my apartment on one hand.  Google changed that. How could my humble dinner ever top the miso cod with heirloom tomatoes and raw mint ice cream at lunch?

The internet makes finding recipes so much easier than pouring over cookbooks. For example,  I had a lot of mushrooms in the fridge and friends coming over for dinner last night. A search for mushroom chili resulted in a dish that fit easily into my cooking-for-an-hour-is-long-enough guideline. 

The end result? I received the best compliment a cook can get: "I thought I wasn't going to like this at all but I'm going back for seconds and want the recipe."

The process of making a dessert-- angel food strawberry shortcake (see above)-- was much more exciting then I had anticipated. I had never made an angel food cake before and it is fascinating to watch it come to life. The recipe calls for 12 egg whites whipped into a frenzy. Uncooked, it is it's own unique substance with a texture between foam and batter.

One of my friends brought over heavy cream, which she whipped up after we finished the chili. Building a fresh strawberry shortcake cake with my friends after sharing a good meal is one of the wonderful experiences that was so much easier to make happen because I'm unemployed.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your blog Diane. Thanks for keeping me in smiles.