Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finding oneself

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Ever since we painted one of our kitchen walls with chalkboard paint, I have loved my living space more than I already did.  Mostly because of the larger space to lay out our weekly schedule, which has become increasingly more important as the age of each child increases.  Seriously, I never kept a calendar, everything was easily catalogued in my brain, pregnancy brain and all.  It never failed.

That was until all the sports and activities that a social and active pre-teen bring with them.  And believe me, I love every minute of it.  If I complain about it at all, it's just because I am trying desperately to fit in with everyone else complaining about all the driving to and fro.  Ok, actually, I will admit to complaining freely about the cost.  But that aside, I love it you can easily concur from all my yelling, I cheer LOUDLY at all games!

But some of the other reasons I love the chalkboard wall are the opportunity for the random phone number that has to be written when you cannot find a goddamn pen anywhere.  And I buy pens frequently.  Where do they all go?  Also for the opportunity to write down some new and favorite quotes to inspire.  Honestly, I doubt the kids even notice.  And if they did, they'd probably be pissed that I am trying to be inspiring.  But I don't care.

I love finding something that speaks to me, and that hopefully speaks to anyone else that enters my home.  This week's addition is about service.  Service is a big part of why I chose my life serve women and babies in having the best birth possible.  When it is safe to be out of the hospital, of course.  Midwifery for low-risk moms has been proven to be the best model for low infant and maternal mortality rates.  And I am so excited to be a part of offering women and babies my service, my heart and my soon-to-be extremely knowledgeable skills.

Thank you, Matahma Gandhi, for the inspiring words.  I find that most of the good things in life come from giving, not from gaining.  Why do we all struggle so desperately to prove that wrong???

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Here is Jamie's recipe for chicken enchiladas. We adapted it from a Cooking Light recipe from January 2012, although, we did not make ours "light."  Also, as I informed Jamie at the store, I prefer to make everything from scratch, but the tomatillos we found were small and shriveled.  Remember Thomas Keller's cooking equation: great product + great execution = great cooking.  So, we opted for the next best choice, the jarred salsa verde made by Frontera, Rick Bayless' company.

We also used a rotisserie chicken, instead of roasting our own.  I often do this if I am short on time, which happens a lot around here.  It's easy to use for any dish that requires shredded chicken.

Yield:  Served 6 adults and 4 kids
Total time: ~2-3 hours, maybe 4, but he's new to cooking!

4 cups cold water
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
5 garlic cloves
the breasts from 1 rotisserie chicken (You can add a little dark meat if you like that as well.)
1 celery stalk
1 large carrot
1 jalapeƱo pepper, halved
1/2 medium onion
8 ounces of salsa verde
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chopped, seeded tomato
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 ounces cream cheese
12-16 corn tortillas
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine first 9 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Cook 10 minutes.  Removed chicken with a slotted spoon and let rest to cool.  Shred the chicken by pulling it apart with your fingers.  Drain and reserve the cooking liquid and discard the solids.

Combine the reserved cooking liquid with the salsa verde and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups (about 30 minutes).  Reduce heat to low and stir in the whipping cream.  Keep pan on low heat.

Preheat oven to 400℉.

place chicken in a medium bowl.  Add tomato, cilantro, salt, cumin cayenne and cream cheese; toss.  Set up a work station near your warm sauce, with a greased 9x12 baking dish, your tortillas and a towel to wipe off your soon to be messy hands.  Dip each tortilla into sauce for about 10 seconds or until warm.  Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of chicken mixture; roll up.  Arrange tortillas seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat until chicken mixture is gone, we needed another small making dish.  Spoon sauce over the tortillas and top evenly with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400℉ for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.


Celebrate good times, come on!

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Like Kool & the Gang reminds us, when we find ourselves singing their hit song over and over again in our heads on a random Monday morning...oh, is that just me?  Well, not anymore, right? Sometimes life is full of reasons to celebrate, as has been the case here at the Baumgarts!
(I suggest clicking that link above in a new window and playing the song while you read the rest of this post.)

This past Friday, we had a small celebratory dinner to commemorate my acceptance into midwifery school!  Yes, I finally received my acceptance letter from Bastyr University into their Master's of Science in Midwifery program.  I will be starting the three year program this September.  I am looking forward to a life changing, self transformative experience throughout this next journey of my life.
Jamie's cheezy goodness.
The aforementioned dinner was a husband cooked success! Jamie found a recipe on line for enchiladas, I walked with him through his shopping expeience getting ingredients, and then he cooked them all by himself.  And they we so delicious!  Everyone loved them, even the kids!

Tallulah turned seven this past weekend!  We had a small birthday dinner for her on Saturday where we sang happy birthday and opened a few gifts.  It is the first time I have not got together a bigger party for one of my school friends, no theme, nothing.  I think we'll take in a matinee one day coming up, and invite a few friends.  And to be honest, Tallulah doesn't seem to mind, or have noticed.
Happy Birthday lunch at Gameworks!
 Lily played in her very first tournament with the select soccer team that she was recently invited to join. They won second place!!  In the finals, they played a team two levels above them, and almost won!  Congratulations girls!  Well done!
getting their silver medals!
In other Baumgart news...we have some new blogs that sprouted up:
Lili's (she is Lily's BFF and like a part of the family) Fashion blog, The World of Fashion.
Lily's blog on her love of the trapeze, A Beginner in the Circus.
Levi's blog modeled after a certain other blog that I guess he was inspired by, mini good luck with that.

Please check them out and let them know what you think!

Everyone around the world, come's a celebration!  Wa-hoo!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to cook when you don't know how: READ!

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Yesterday was gorgeous here in Seattle.  Because we do get so much rain and clouds, the sunny days are precious and everyone does their best to soak it all in.  I love that about Seattle.  I took the opportunity to walk through the arboretum, and it was simply lovely.  To celebrate the sun and Summer Solstice, some people in my building hosted a BBQ.  And guess what?  Jamie finished his garbure and brought it out to the potluck party!
We finally ate the garbure!!!  That means it actually got finished, hallelujah!

Yesterday, while I was at Lily's soccer practice, Jamie put the finishing touches on the soup/stew all by himself.  When I arrived home, I sunk my ladle deep into the garbure and served myself a hearty bowlful.  The flavors were rich, with a depth that I did not expect from a chicken broth.  I think it was from the initial step of cooking the broth with all those veggies and then straining to reserve the flavor without the added bulk over overcooked veggies.

Bravo, Jamie!  Well done!

I asked Jamie some questions about his first cooking lesson and here is what he had to say:

  • Read the recipe completely.  Prep your ingredients before starting to cook.  Read the recipe again.
  • Now I understand what you have said before, that if you can read a recipe, you can cook anything.
  • Reading the recipe was extremely helpful, that cookbook is really well written.
  • I made the mistake of reading about blanching when I was needing to do it, instead of reading it ahead of time.  I would be more prepared, and read through the extras that are referred to in the recipe.
  • Like everything in life, you gotta be prepared.  To have a good gig, you need to practice.  To paint a house well, you need to be good at the prep work.  To raise kids, you have to...wait?  Who knows how to prepare for that one!
I am guessing Jamie think reading the recipe is a good idea.  Don't ya think?  

I also asked Jamie what he thought of me as a teacher.  Since, I recall him having some apprehension over my skills in that area.  Here's what he had to say about that:
  • She was very sweet the first night.
  • The other nights, she was hands off, but there when I needed it.
Sounds like I didn't do too bad after all!  And neither did he.  
Maybe tonight we'll be back in the kitchen, if that chalkboard stays empty.  Indian?  Lasagne?  Enchiladas?  What do you think we should tackle next from Jamie's list?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recipe: Spring Vegetable Garbure

Tired chef, adoring wife.

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
After nearly a week, the garbure is going to be finished today!

Jamie was cooking all night last night, and everything is ready to be assembled and warmed to a delicious eating temperature.  I have to admit, I did give him quite a challenge for his first cooking lesson.  Thomas Keller has a way with taking every ingredient and lovingly shaping it to the culinary perfection it was grown to be.  And what that translates to in our tiny kitchen, is loads and loads of pots and pans all going at once, all over the place.  Add in the tater tots I had to cook when I realized we were having yet another garbure-less night, and our kitchen was a gorgeous chaos of food!

Here is the long awaited recipe...adapted, of course, form the amazing cookbook Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller.

spring vegetable garbure
3 tablespoons of canola oil
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 cups chopped leeks
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
parchment paper
8 cups chicken stock (we used "Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken")
1 pound of mixed baby potatoes
2 sachets
2 culs oblique cut carrots
1 teaspoon agave nectar
8 oz. pencil thin asparagus
1 cup English peas
1 cup thinly sliced green beans, cut on a diagonal
1 small head of cabbage
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
Champagne vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Flat leaf parsley

English peas, or fava beans?
I have no idea because I did not mark the bag,
and they both looked exactly the same on the inside!
Heat the canola oil in a 8-10 quart pot over medium heat.  Add the first 2 cups of carrots, leeks, and onions, and stir to coat in the oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay the parchment paper (loosely cut to the size of the pot) down over the vegetables, pressing it down so it rests on them. Cook, lifting the parchment lid and stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes. Remove the parchment and discard.

Add the stock and increase the heat to medium high.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Strin the broth into another pot and discard the vegetables.  (We saved them for use in another dish...maybe in a marinara cause I was thinking.)

Meanwhile, halve the baby potatoes and place in a pot with 1 sachet and 2 teaspoons of salt, cover with water and bring to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and spread on a tray to cool.  Discard the sachet.

Put the oblique cut carrots, agave, second sachet, and a pinch of salt into a medium pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until carrots are tender, but slightly resistant to the tooth.  Drain and discard the sachet.

Bring a large pot of salted water (1 cup of salt/gallon of water) to a boil.  Prepare an ice bath.  Meanwhile, hold the asparagus and bend to break each piece to remove the tough bottom end.  Trim all of the asparagus to the same length and cut into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal.  Working in batches, blanch the asparagus (1 minutes), green beans (2 minutes), cabbage (until tender) and English peas (1 minute).  Using a fine mesh strainer, place vegetables in the strainer, set into boiling water and remove when bright green.  Immediately after removing, place into ice bath and then on a towel to dry.

Bring the broth back to a simmer.  Add the carrots, potatoes, cannellini beans and stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, bring the soup to a simmer, add the blanched vegetables, and warm to desired temperature.  Remove from heat and serve, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with parsley leaves.

What's next???
Hear from Jamie in my interview with him on what he learned during our first cooking lesson...
And find out what I though of his finished product!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kitchen Wars

Posted by Amy Baranski

This month (Teach your ______ how to cook) has gotten off to an incredibly slow start in the cooking realm. 
In fact, I feel like I haven't really eaten anything "inspired" except maybe my Ethiopian birthday dinner. But even that--a day or two later--wasn't (ahem) feeling totally amazing. I stole Melissa's idea and asked Bob to create a list of things he would want to learn. He compiled a list while on a return flight from a work trip back east. Here's what he wrote and my knee-jerk responses in line.

keeping the fridge clean and empty 
I get the first part. But if the fridge is empty what do we cook? Once my husband suggested we live without refrigeration and eat fresh food every day. Hey I'm willing to try most anything - even that. But as long as I live in a developed country I will never, ever, ever, give up my freezer. I could try ditching the fridge. But if we're in the city that means getting the OK to set up house in the super market right? I am not milking a goat in the apartment babe.

keeping the kitchen clean
Someone hasn't read my first blog post of the month! 

getting rid of a bunch of crap
In general  - yes. Pardon my impatience but when do we get to the cooking part?

including the popcorn popper?
Seriously? You just got it less than 6 months ago!

Uh .. no. Just, no.

top shelves?

Well there is an empty pretzel canister I wouldn't mind letting go of. (It's his). The top shelves have the party supplies and the canning supplies. I thought you wanted me to be ready for the "zombie-apocalypse" as our friends Jen and David call it? 

fancy wine glasses?
Come on, man those were wedding gifts and the only crystal we own!

In general I'm down for this. I do think of our kitchen as relatively organized and simple. How about we get a whole new kitchen? You know, not something pulled straight out of the 1972 Sears catalog? Maybe we should just buy a house this month where we can create a custom kitchen. And if we have a pantry then we don't have to have any food in the kitchen. It could be the perfect world. 

cleaning up the knife drawer and treating the knives better
It ain't that bad but perhaps something can be done here.

Yay we're on to food now! Hell yes! Let's bake some bread!

some old recipes (lentil casserole)
Personally not a casserole fan, probably because I associate the word casserole with the word tuna, but if you're into it let's do it. Sounds like you may already have an old recipe.

making and freezing burritos
  • bag of beans
  • cup of rice
  • jar of salsa
This I can do, and have done, and am very PRO making freezer dinners. They are so easy and worth it. This also feels like a great plan with the baby coming soon. Sign me up!

making our own salsa?
We can even jar it. But maybe we should wait until tomatoes are in season to do the canning so we don't break the bank. Otherwise yes let's freshen it up!

making our own tortillas? (fewer jars, plastic containers)
I've never done this and I'd be willing to try but I'd de-prioritize this on the food portion of this list because I think there's lower hanging fruit, or should I have said maize?

coming up with a standard granola recipe
Homemade granola is tops! The thing I like most about it is that you can throw whatever you have on hand in it. You know, like that leftover shredded coconut in the freezer from holiday baking, and those raisins we've seemed to have had let's get a standard base together and make it every week from now on.

soup (corn soup?)
Sounds good! Are you thinking of corn chowder? How about a great chicken noodle and minestrone to boot?

moosewood and enchanted broccoli forest recipes
I borrowed Moosewood from Melissa already. Let's pick one thing from it and go to town! And yes I'll put these titles on your Christmas list for this year. 

cleaning the freezer
As long as we get to keep it captain.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What is garbure? I'm so glad you asked.

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Can you believe it? The fresh veggies for the amazing garbure are still sitting in the fridge.  This is very garbure that was to become Jamie's dish, his thing that people would remember him for.  The garbure that could change with the seasons, the one that would become a conversation piece:
"What is a garbure?" Everyone would ask.
"Oh, I am glad you asked," Jamie would reply, "A garbure is a stew and the name derives from the use of the term garb to describe sheaves of grain depicted on a heraldic shield or coat of arms. So, the name of garbure, which is eaten with a fork, is a reference to the use of pitchforks to pick up sheaves of grain. It originated in Gascony in south-west France, where it is found in every home. Each home has its own unique version, and in that way, it reminds me of Jazz, so much improvisation, yet rooted in  a traditional structure."   
And then hopefully, our friends would still be listening by the end of the garbure lecture, and willing to stick around and try it out. Jamie really does like to share what he knows...and talk, talk, talk.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Thursday night ended late and unfinished.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday went by in a flash, and without any cooking class.  So, now I am left with a dilemma: to make the soup today, or risk the veggies being rotten by the time Jamie gets to them.

I kinda want to be mad at him.  I mean, essentially, he picked this month, and now he is not showing up.  I know he is working, which is a good thing.  And we have had a lot of sports/school things to attend, which is also good. So, the excuses are valid, and good.

So, I'll keep you updated.  Anyone else having fun in the kitchen these days?  Any good recipes?  As soon as the garbure is finished, I will be posting the recipe, so stay tuned!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jamie's in the kitchen!

Ran across this magazine while shopping for the class,
how appropriate!
Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I was determined to have the cooking lesson with Jamie last night.  Even though the gig he said was on Wednesday, turned out to be on Thursday!  The very night of our first lesson!  You know what?  He totally erased my marks on the chalkboard and wrote "Gig" in the same spot.  Oh no you don't, Jamie.  If his gig ended at 8:30pm, then our cooking lesson would begin at 9:00pm.

The lesson for "Spring Vegetable Garbure" began with Jamie reading through the recipe I had chosen.  After the first time through, he walked out of the kitchen looking bewildered.  I wan't quite sure if it was from the recipe or how late it had become.

Getting the goods.
"There were like four words that I have no idea what they are," said Jamie.  Yes, I supposed it was the recipe after all.  "Blanch, sachet, render?  What?" He shook his head.

I recommended he read it again and use to the cookbook to find out what those things meant.  The way the cookbook is set up, as many good cookbooks are, is there are notes referring you to other pages for resources or definition on what possible new terms might mean.

We started with sachet.  We found a recipe and an explanation for its use in the back of the book.
"Sachets are used to flavor cooking liquids.  A cheesecloth sachet encloses small herbs and spices such as peppercorns and cloves, and works like a tea bag.  Once the contents have added their flavors to the cooking liquid, the sachet can easily be removed and discarded."
What a good slicer!
The contents of our sachet were as follows:  1 bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, 10 black peppercorns, and 1 garlic clove, smashed. We made up two of those and moved onto some veggie chopping.  Keep in mind, it is around 11pm at this point.

Jamie was starting to fade, and his conviction to finish the soup before falling asleep was absent at this point.  I totally thought we could get it done, but didn't want his first lesson to wipe him out completely, so I obliged his desire to call it a night after copping the carrots and the leeks.

I demonstrated each cutting technique for the veggies; carrots thinly sliced, carrots cut obliquely and leeks chopped. Then Jamie set off to cutting.  His technique was spot on, but his slices were a little thicker than called for.  But, as I told him last night at the kitchen counter...better to have the technique down and to work on getting thinner.  That comes with practice and time.  The oblique cut was a new one for me too, and so we learned together.  The leeks went smoothly as well, I just made sure he knew that they can be quite a dirty vegetable, and you want to get all of that out so your whole soup isn't gritty and ruined.
Just look at that technique!

Before he was finished with those tasks, my younger two had awoken and need shepherded back to bed.  It almost goes without saying that I never got back up, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out for the night.

So, although, we will not get to Lesson Plan 2 tonight since we will be finishing Lesson 1, we will have worked in two nights of cooking class this week.  And I am very thankful for that.  I can't wait to try the finished product tonight! We only have 6 more veggies to cut and blanch and quickly get into an ice bath...not to mention assembling the whole soup and broth situation.  And I didn't forget the bread...maybe I'll go get that started for him now.

No, no, no.  That's exactly what I do, I step in to "help" and in doing so, take away his ability to learn.  I will not do that this time.  Even if we do break bread way past dinner time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lesson Plans

This is our week. Keep in mind it's one kid short,
due to a school trip
Posted by Melissa Baumgart
It has been baseball and soccer.  More baseball and more soccer.  And end of the year school happenings (and finals, ugh) tossed in with healthy doses of hanging with friends.  I am not complaining at all, I am loving it.  Going to my kid's sporting events (assuming it is not a rainy day) is one of my favorite things to do.  It has not, however, been conducive to setting up a date for cooking lessons in our kitchen.

It looks like, for now, Thursday and Friday nights are free this week, so I am going to schedule two cooking classes with Jamie for those night.  I am going to get that up on the chalkboard wall schedule and hope that nothing more important comes along to erase them.

Lesson Plan 1:

  • Go through a Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.  Start with the section titled, "Becoming a Better Cook", where he briefly goes through some simple and illuminating tips on cooking.  And I applaud his simple equation of, "great product + great execution = great cooking."
  • Prepare the Spring Vegetable Garbure from page 112.   Hopefully, Jamie will find this to be one of his go-to soups.  This should give ample practice in the art of vegetable chopping, which will int turn, help Jamie's salad preparation.
  • Bake a loaf of bread.  Although, not on his list, I think if he learns a good soup, bread naturally follows.  
Lesson Plan 2:
  • Indian Food!  YUM!
  • I will teach Jamie how to make Chicken Tikki Masala, Palak Paneer and rice.  I want to add in a simple dahl, but don't want to overwhelm him.  This will offer Jamie a chance to see how many dishes can come together and be ready at one time.  
  • There will also be a pre-lesson of searching for a good recipe online and shopping efficiently and effectively.  How to choose the best ingredients, even if they aren't the cheapest.  (Jamie is thrifty.)  Recall the Keller quote from above, great product is a very important piece of the cooking equation.  

 Wish me luck!  Not about the teaching part, but about nothing trumping the scheduled lessons!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beef. It's what's for dinner.

Posted by Amy Baranski

When it comes to cooking, my husband and I have very different styles in the kitchen. Bob's more the clean-as-you-go type, and I'm the dirty-almost-every-dish-in-the-kitchen type. I can get really inspired by a dirty kitchen. My husband on the other hand is practically repelled by one.

So in exchange for taking on the challenge this month of letting me show him some things in the kitchen, I'm making a promise to keep the kitchen sparkling. Today I scrubbed down the counters, washed the dishes, scoured the sink, and the stove top.

This evening I made a great little easy recipe of beef and broccoli. This is one of my go-to dishes when I don't have a lot of time or when I'm cooking just for one. I define a go-to dish as something delicious, healthy, easy, and affordable, requiring basic ingredients that are typically on hand. I'm hoping that after this month Bob and I will have an equal amount of go-to dishes memorized under our belts and ready to pull out of hat when we're both tired and exhausted from adjusting to life with the new one. (Life with the new one!!! I can hardly wait!!)

Here's the recipe for the dish I made tonight. It's not from any book, or site, it's just kind of made up.


Small crown of broccoli.
1 Steak
4-6 crimini mushrooms (quartered)
Somen noodels
Sesame oil
Spicy Sesame oil (optional)
Fish oil (optional)
Olive oil
Sesame seeds


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Boil some water.
  • Slice the steak into 1/8 inch pieces (I only used 1/2 to 1/3 of the steak, save the rest for later).
  • Place steak in a bowl with 1-2 Tbs Tamari and 1/2 Tb olive oil. Let marinate for 3-5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut and separate the broccoli crown florets. Cut the broccoli stalk and trim off the skin.
  • Put the broccoli onto a roasting pan (a cookie sheet will do). Drizzle lightly with olive oil, toss to distribute oil over the broccoli, sprinkle with salt. Pop this into the oven for about 7 minutes. (More time if your broccoli pieces are larger, less time if your broccoli pieces are smaller).
  • Heat a pan with a little oil. Put the criminis in. Don't overcrowd. Sprinkle with a little salt. 
  • Heat another pan (I used a grill pan) and brown the steak strips.
  • Toss the Somen noodles in the boiling water (these cook in about 3 minutes). Take out and strain, place in bowl, drizzle with small amounts of sesame oil + spicy sesame oil + fish oil (if desired). I even tossed in a few drops of rice vinegar for some tang.
  • When the broccoli is done take it out of the oven. Make sure the steak is cooked through. 
  • Place mushrooms, broccoli and steak on top of the noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jamie's List

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

I woke up today to find this list upon my desk.  I have been asking Jamie, my husband, to make a list of what his intentions are for the month.  I know what I want him to learn, but let's be honest, this month will go a whole lot better if he chooses his own lesson plan.  I really hope this goes better than assumed.

So, here you go...

Jamie's list:

  1. How to use a cookbook.
  2. How to time separate dishes.
  3. How to add one or two ingredients to a dish to make it super tasty, like greens to a quesadilla or avocado and sour cream on scrambled eggs. 
  4. How to make soup/stew.  (veggie, root, chicken noodle)
  5. Enchiladas.
  6. An Indian dish.
  7. A Proper Salad and Dressing.
  8. Lasagne.
  9. A Chicken or  mashed potatoes, gravy, stewed tomatoes.
My reply:
  1. OK, I'll do my best, but this could be a personality thing.  Can you follow directions?  And, no, I don't mean from me!
  2. Ditto.  Plus, this takes time and practice, just like math.
  3. Sounds like you already have some ideas on how to do this.
  4. Can do.
  5. Yum.
  6. Ditto.
  7. This requires more of a simple chopping lesson and a basic knowledge of a good ratio of oil to acid.
  8. Super easy!  Come on, it's on the dang noodle box, if you need a quick fix.  But I'll teach you a really good one, and please, never use jarred sauce.
  9. So, you want to make sides and no main dish?  Do you want to learn how to roast a chicken???  Cause you can, and it's a good skill to have if you eat meat.  And in that Thomas Keller cookbook I offered you, there is an awesome recipe for roasted chicken, and I highly suggest it.  
There you have it.  I think I, I mean we, can accomplish most of those this month. With extra leg room for learning curve around the timing and super tasty thing.  Those come with time, my dear husband. And believe me, if you learn how to cook, really good food, you'll be offered plenty of time to practice these skills.  I think.  I hope I'll be able to relinquish control!

Oh, and I better not forget, Jamie made a pasta dish this week and my daughter actually asked, "Did Mama make this?"  Wow!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

just like always

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Veggie Minestrone, made by me.

I am so excited (for real, I know you all think I am kidding here) to teach my husband, Jamie how to cook.  His cooking repertoire pretty much consists of eggs, pasta, salad, veggie sandwiches, frozen pizzas, and a sorry attempt at stir fry.  Sorry, Jamie, but you know it is true.  And what I have always appreciated is the attempt.  The fact that Jamie tries his best to make the family a dinner when I am not able is so sweet, and is yet one more reason that I think he is one of the best Dads out there.

I found my son seated upon the dunk tank at the carnival!
Soaking wet!
So, the exciting part of this month is the possibility that when I cannot make dinner, or maybe even sometimes when I can, Jamie will have the confidence in the kitchen to step up and make his family a tasty meal. I thought we would start our lessons this weekend, but it turned out that when we weren't at sporting events, Lily's fist trapeze show or the school carnival (all for the kids), he was working.  Was this his master plan?  To not be around to be taught by his wife, the most amazing teacher ever?  Doubtful, since this month was his idea in the fist place.

So, just like always, I cooked this weekend.  Which is fine, like I said before, I love it.  I did relinquish control on Friday night as we were celebrating the new liquor laws in Washington state.  You can now buy liquor at the local grocery store, and so we commemorated the historical event with margaritas!  And I taught Jamie to how to make a batch.  He made a pretty good margarita, I must say.

Lily's Trapeze show!
My plan for the week ahead is to get Jamie's list of cooking goals in writing.  Then I want to have him look through three of my favorite cookbooks...two simple, one a little more intricate...and pick at least one recipe from each.  Throughout this month I intend on making sure he learns not only how to use a cookbook, but how to make a shopping list, get the timing of cooking down and above all feel confident in the kitchen.

I think if someone can use a cookbook, they can cook anything.  To me, that is the first step, and after that you can experiment and improvise.  I strongly suggest "not re-inventing the wheel" as Dina would say, and start with what the experts have to say.  Get the basics and brach out from there.  I think, as a jazz musician, Jamie will really appreciate that approach.
Our friend Erin is staying with us and made this YUMMY cake,
Jewish Apple cake, her Bubbe's recipe!

And finally, my ultimate goal for Jamie this month, is to have him plan and execute a dinner party.  From the invites, to the menu, to the shopping, and the cooking...all of it.  And I promise to do the dishes!

Cheers to a fun month ahead!