Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cookin' with the Cookster

I made some pasta last night. Neither me nor Mrs. jasdye are, technically speaking, what others would refer to as "cooks." We don't - to use technical jargon - "bake" or "boil" or "broil" foods. Unless by "bake" you mean, "thaw and heat frozen pizza" or by "boil" you mean, "cook hot dogs." I am, however, pretty decent on a grill and have tried my mean hand at deep-frying chicken wings. But, because of our schedules, with the Mrs. working all day and me employing my teacher's summer schedule, I'm thinking it'd be nice to prepare a nice home-cooked meal every night for the two of us. This works especially well since she only really eats once a day. And since we both like pasta (to a fault), I'd start there.

The pasta recipe book called it rigatone and chorizo. Although I didn't have rigatone outright, I did just buy some rigate mostaccelli. I just bought some chorizo (and I cook some mean spaghetti and chorizo, btw. And I mean that) earlier that day (although I didn't realize 'til later that it was 'no picante'), but more importantly, I have a bunch of Italian sausage laying around in the fridge from the week before - and I need to use that before it begins to go bad. As far as the rest of the ingredients are concerned, well, all good chefs improvise. I just substitute. I look through six different markets for mozzarella. None. But there is plenty of fresco queso. I don't know what that is, but hopefully, it'll do. Also, no white, dry wine. Fortunately, the quick-thinking kicks in and I grab our bottle of merlot. F***in' merlot. Man, it's got a strong scent.

Slice up a whole onion? That's crazy talk! I ain't crying over no meal! I chopped half an onion. You would've been proud of me. And we didn't have pre-sliced tomatoes. So, you know what I did? You'll never guess....

Ok, give up? I sliced them all by myself! Yep.

Add to this the fact that although we have two or three sets of pots and pans, the only sharp knives we have are a couple steak knives. Like the type that you would have at the table, next to your plate, to dig into that particularly tough piece of steak that my mom is famous for - and that I'm sure will carry down through the generations. Since we didn't have salt, I peppered generously. Since we didn't have basil, I grounded the pepper generously. Oh, and some fresh-ground chili pepper.

The mostaccelli done, I drained it and spread some grated fresco on it. And then the homemade sausage/darkredwine/extravirginoliveoil-sauteed onions/beefsteak tomato/wine-vinegar (for good measure)/chili pepper sauce went into the pot atop the pasta. Add some more cheese, put the cover on and leave on low heat 'til she comes home.

With the mozzarella. Well, we'll use it later, I tell her.

We settle down. My hours of searching, pining, running around, slavishly chefing all over the place (it was like a one-man "Hell's Kitchen." I think. I dunno. I never watched it), cleaning the dining area and setting up the candles and flower arrangement just right.

I worry that the strong boozy smell from the merlot and vinegar might be a turn-off, since neither of us are very good at alcohol consumption. Nope. She takes a bite, declares - much like God himself over creation - it good. We ask God to bless the meal and our evening. She tells me how she had lunch with her brother and updates me on him. It takes a second to register... She ate already! Snap! I should've warned her specifically in the morning.

But, on the bright side:
1) I experimented. And I liked that challenge.
2) It's better than Sbarro's pizza.
3) She wasn't turned off. Au contrair, mon frere.
Take that, babies!

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