Monday, March 28, 2011

I am Not a Cook

I wish that were a surreal statement; that I really were a cook, wearing an apron that says, "I am not a cook."

But it's not.

It's true.

I am not a cook.

Unfortunately for Justin, my attempts at cooking are at their worst when I am hoping to impress him with my culinary skills. Or, to at least serve him a good meal after a hard day at work.

Two weeks ago I made the most God-awful chicken curry and dahl. I usually don't suck at making chicken curry, but this time I thought I'd double the spices since I was making a lot (just to use up the four chicken breasts--forgetting that one chicken breast is now big enough to feed two people) and since I kept hearing my friend's voice in my head saying, "Don't be afraid to use the spices. We're not afraid of spices around here."

Justin LOVES spicy food, so of course double up on the spices, right?

The dahl was spicy.

The chicken curry was garlicky.

Now, I know how this happened. I used a new garamasala for the dahl--the one my mom had given me because it was unusually spicy and she couldn't eat anything made with it. I used way too much garlic powder in the chicken curry.

I believe it is all a result of trying to follow my dad's recipe. Whenever Dad made good chicken curry and I asked for the recipe, he would say it was a secret.

Last time I asked him for a recipe, he e-mailed me one. The curry didn't come out looking or tasting like his chicken curry, so I told him that. He said, "Did you use enough tumeric? Tumeric is the key to all Indian recipes!"

"You didn't put tumeric in the recipe!"

Now I know it's just that he doesn't really use a recipe. He always tells me he cooks by color--and Indian spices are so colorful... well, I don't imagine he's very precise about it.

I took this picture of a shop when my family went to India a few years ago.
Just look at those beautiful mounds of spices!


So, when I called and asked how to make chicken curry, I got an answer that involved a tablespoon of a lot of spices and two tablespoons of some other spices. He has no idea... he just eyeballs it. Knowing that, I eyeballed my heaping tablespoons and tossed a little more in for good measure.

Bad idea.

Today, however, I had a hankering for salmon and Justin is working a swing shift, which means he ate dinner at the hospital and will come home after midnight.

I made salmon with asparagus on a bed of angel hair with goat cheese.

Magnificent!

And all he'll get is leftovers.

1 comment:

Hilary said...

I can't cook curry either! The salmon pasta, however, sounds divine.