Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cooking from the pantry, not the recipe

I enjoy cooking. It didn't always used to be that way, but during college, my tastebuds finally started to expand what I liked, just like my mom always said. Perhaps leading the way was beer, but that was quickly supplemented with things like vegetables, fruits, herbs and later seafood(!) Even with as much love as I still harbor for cheese, I shudder to think of how many grilled cheese sandwiches I ate that first year at college.

Along with a taste for these new foods came a desire to learn how to make more than a packet of ramen and access to a kitchen. I started experimenting. At first there were some disasters (I still can't eat cilantro), but slowly the disaster to delicious ratio decreased. I'm still not great at following recipes.

Paul and I have changed our diets around a lot. We eat A TON of protein, and we eat it 5 times a day. We try to eat fish, scallops, turkey. We eat more red meat than we probably should, but it is tough to get protein in every meal without eating it. I've even been dabbling in chicken, something that bucked the trend and I stopped eating a few years ago.

Yesterday I decided to make steaks for me and Paul. But we eat a lot of protein, pretty much straight up without much else going on. I decided I was going to make mushrooms and deglaze the pan to make a sauce for the steaks. I wasn't exactly sure what to deglaze the pan with. I know that some recipes use wine, but we didn't have any wine. I didn't feel like looking for more inspiration from the internet, but I did have some beer left over in the bottom of a growler.

Beer, wine, they're pretty close. I like beer. Ok. Steaks done, mushrooms done, pour in the beer. Smells good... but tastes awful. The beer is super bitter. I cook it down some more, add some more seasoning. It just never gets any better. Perfectly good mushrooms completely ruined by beer. Who would have thought?


Dave March 14, 2010 at 9:23 PM  

Why do you eat a lot of protein? Is it purposeful, or because you like it?

Jon March 15, 2010 at 1:57 AM  

What's even more troublesome conceptually is that beer is fantastic as the liquid base for, say, chili. Which admittedly doesn't have mushrooms in it. Maybe the mushrooms were the problem? Mushrooms are gross. (I recognize this is a personal bias)

Laura March 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

I've been eating more protein on purpose, under the theory that I'm trying to give my muscles what they need to regenerate from the training I do. I try to eat 5 small meals per day, each with a fist-sized portion of protein and a fist-sized portion of carb. And I'll add vegetables when they're available.

Paul Riegle March 31, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

its not a theory, its science :)

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