The Real Deal: Home cooking, making a mess and a smoke filled kitchen
I recently had a revelation, that maybe posting all of my pretty food pictures is making my message become misconstrued.
The thing is, I love food and I love to eat. I love to make food (most of the time...sometimes I like someone else to be making the food!) and I like to take pictures and share recipes (as you know). I do this to inspire others to prepare good food at home, to care about what they feed themselves and their families and not to intimidate, but to demonstrate that it's totally doable, without a culinary arts degree, crap loads of free time or boat loads of money. I have none of those things!
So this is where I feel I've failed to convey my message. Because I only share recipes that I've tested out and really like and are (usually) really easy to make, I think I might be making it look too easy and if you're "not a cook" you're thinking.."yeah, no way". Because I don't tell you about all of the "fails", show you the kitchen full of smoke or the huge mess I made, I fear that I'm giving a false impression that everything comes out perfect all the time or that I have some special skills or perhaps a sous chef. I have neither of these things.
I am a home cook just like you. (Unless you're one of those people who feel like they "can't even boil water" then I suppose I may be a step ahead.) I cook because I love to eat good, real food. So, let's just keep it real from here on out!
Monday night we decided to make fish tacos for dinner. I had them on my list for the week but I'll admit, I never did read through the full process before hand. We thought it would be a good time to use the new tortilla press that I got for Mother's Day. So, this was the finished dish- totally fantastic but not without a few mishaps (and those are not homemade corn tortillas).
I had a recipe saved on Pinterest for the corn tortilla "dough" (the round lump) and when that seemed off, I consulted another recipe in a cookbook where they directed me to make a "log". I then realized that the dough had to sit for 30 min...which turned out to be fine since the beer batter recipe that we were using for the fish also said to let it sit in the fridge for 30 min (naturally we had no clue until we actually had these things in the works, and people wonder why we eat dinner at 8:00 some nights!).
We had a combo of haddock and flounder and a beer batter recipe that was way short on liquid so we had to make adjustments. So in case you're thinking - "Why is she making beer battered fish if she's so concerned with healthy eating?" the answer is - A little beer battered fish every once in a great while has it's place in a healthy diet. It's not something you want to make every week (or even every month!), and I'm pretty sure that our homemade version is healthier than what you would eat in a restaurant (most anyway).
So, while the batter was resting and the dough was resting I whipped up a quick batch of pico de gallo. In other words, I chopped 3 tomatoes, a tablespoon or so of cilantro and a quarter of a red onion. Threw in a dash of salt and a dash of cumin. That's it.
Like many things, I've come to prefer my own pico de gallo to store bought salsas (even the "fresh" ones tend to have added sugar which I find so totally annoying, because...why?).
Then this happened....Holy moly, what a mess. The dough was not dough, it completely stuck to the plastic, the butter in the pan was totally burning because we could not get the tortilla into the pan, the kitchen was full of smoke and the kids where like "soooooo, is the house on fire? what's for dinner?".
Good thing we had a package of tortillas on hand, just saying.
In the end, the fish was great, perfectly accompanied by black beans, avocados and a mango. I swear, these were restaurant quality tacos when all was said and done.
So the moral of this story is, don't be afraid to try new things, even if you feel like you don't know what you're doing. It might come out terrible, but it might not. Cooking at home can be an adventure and the rewards are fantastic. You might not want to get too crazy on a Monday night but get in there and make a mess, just don't burn the joint down.