Cooking Has Its Place in my Life : A Fun Pursuit of Happiness

Asian Pear Dessert

Asian Pear Dessert

What is your passion? My first is Jesus, then Steve, then Steve next, and after that, Steve, my family, cooking, and the success of my novel. Do your passions ever conflict with one another? Maybe that is not the question I really mean to ask. Do your passions sometimes bump one another out of the picture? Marketing my book has been bumping a lot of other pursuits into the background. I’ve decided that I’m not going to allow that to happen. At least, I’ll try not to let it happen. Better said: It’s not going to happen.

Nappa cabbage leaves, mint leaves, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, broccoli florets, Asian sweet potatoes, green onions

Nappa cabbage leaves, mint leaves, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, broccoli florets, Asian sweet potatoes, green onions, Asian pear (We shop at the Asian local market) ingredients of stir fry, minus the broccoli

Yesterday my passionate pursuit was cooking. My life circumstances did not always permit cooking to develop into a passion. In the past five years until now, cooking has been claiming its rightful place. I enjoy it. The way to enjoy cooking is not to allow it to become a burden. For instance, if a recipe calls for something I don’t have, I find a substitute or another recipe. What I don’t do is drop everything and run to the store to purchase every single item on the recipe before I prepare it. Here is another tip: Choose simple recipes, or make them simple with substitutions or eliminations.

Cardamom Chicken DinnerHere was yesterday’s fairly simple meal. It could have been simpler, and I’ll explain that statement later. I prepared a recipe from allrecipes.com entitled cardamom chicken with salt and pepper crust, and a stir fry using all the veggies above, except the pear, which I cut up for a dessert, and the broccoli that I steamed by itself. All of these items were in our refrigerator. When I make a stir fry, I make it out of whatever we have on hand. We always have vegetables and fruits on  hand, which means we shop frequently, because they don’t stay fresh very long. Notice the potato. It looks like a yellowish white potato, but it’s an Asian sweet potato. My Japanese friend gave it to us to try. It’s very sweet, sweeter than our sweet potatoes, and the texture is more like a white potato, but not exactly. I laid the potato on the oven rack next to the chicken thighs. Cardamom, which was part of the marinade for the chicken thighs, is a spice well known to Norwegians and Asians. I like it very much. I use ground cardamom rather than pods.

Stir fry ingredients

I made the stir fry by cutting up the vegetables and tossing them into a wok with olive oil (or you can use a large skillet). I sprinkled curry powder on them and flipped them around until they were crunchy tender (cooking them however you like them will work best). I included a handful of walnuts. I did not chop them. At the end I added a teaspoonful of Jalapeno pepper jelly and a sprinkle of rice vinegar and stirred. I intended to crush the garlic cloves in my special Pampered Chef garlic press, but I forgot. Duh. I scooped them up with the rest of the veggies and threw them, whole, into the stir fry. I removed them later. My little mess-up didn’t hurt my stir fry, but it made me feel like a fool. Get over it. Right? I’m already over it.

Pampered Chef Garlic Press

Pampered Chef Garlic Press

It helps to have good tools for cooking. I have better cooking tools now than I ever had before. Cool. I am a pampered cook. Take a look at this super-duper garlic press!

Stir fry with whole garlic cloves... Duh...

Stir fry with whole garlic cloves… Duh…

How could my meal have been simpler? I could have put chicken thighs in a baking dish with salt and pepper instead of preparing a marinade and waiting four hours for the flavors to soak into the chicken. I am not saying it was a bad recipe. The chicken thighs were very good. I am saying that the extra work and four hours waiting did not produce the fabulous difference in flavor I expected. There was a mild cardamom flavor, but I expected more dazzling savor to compensate me for my extra prep time and labor. It only required an extra ten minutes to put together but four hours to marinate. Just saying…

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About Carol Ann Hoel

The new me - Carol Ann. More suitably said, the old me in new circumstances of life. Again. My history has developed in parts and chapters. In person, I am Wife, Mom, Grandma, Author, and Writer, in that order, more or less. Life is good because God is good.
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6 Responses to Cooking Has Its Place in my Life : A Fun Pursuit of Happiness

  1. jannatwrites says:

    Hey, I have that same garlic press – it’s great! I enjoy cooking- when I’m not rushed. I prefer making desserts over main dishes, though 🙂

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    • I’ve had other garlic presses. This one is a lot better. I don’t like to be rushed when I’m cooking either. And, that’s what I’ve had to deal with for a while, but I’m in rebellion now. I’m not hurrying. I’m cooking at my leisure. But, today Steve is taking me out. He is such a dear! Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you, Janna…

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  2. pattisj says:

    Pampered Chef makes nice tools. I like something I can whip up at the last minute, because I rarely know when to expect hubby home.

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    • I, too, like simple dishes. Sometimes I plan something quick and easy so that I don’t have to spend so much time cooking. I don’t have to wonder when Steve will be home, since he is retired, but the days are not long enough to get everything done I need to do. Do you remember hearing that retired people have nothing to do? Not true!

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  3. tazeinmirzasaad says:

    You seem like a great cook! Great! Me; not good, I have to take lessons from you Carol 🙂 Hugs!

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    • I am learning to cook myself. There are many recipe sites online. Allrecipes.com even has videos to show us how to prepare foods. I often watch them. I didn’t enjoy cooking nearly as much when I had to work 40 hours a week. Cooking fits in better when there is more time. Thanks for the visit, Tazein. Blessings to you…

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