Thursday, January 19, 2012

If anyone asks, I'm in the kitchen...where I belong

Here's the thing, I like cooking. Scratch that. I LOVE cooking. I walk into a kitchen and immediately examine and admire. Counter space, cabinets, pantries, sinks, pots and pans, knives and other such tools...they all add to the cooking experience. But as key as kitchens are, the ingredients are the star of your meal. Don't you just love the sizzle of onions on a hot pan, or the smell of that fresh cilantro and tomato as you drizzle it with lime?! That perfect cut of meat that you know will taste great grilled with a garlic and oil rub and pair perfectly with a balsamic reduction and sauteed mushrooms...and the best part of all this is that you don't eat it alone! I am lucky enough to have friends who appreciate food as much as I do. Though I wouldn't exactly call all of them foodies, everyone knows how to eat and whether they like what they're eating. I worry that most of the time my friends are just polite and eat because it's free food and don't want to hurt my feelings by being honest. But I know when I've made a good meal, and boy does it feel great when people want seconds! And although there may be seconds and thirds, I have a tendency to make more than enough to feed a small army which means I usually end up with enough left overs to feed myself for the rest of the week. But who wants to eat the same thing over and over again? Not me. And that's where we get creative.

Last week I roasted a decent cut of cheap beef. I made an herb rub for the roast, basted it with broth to keep it nice and juicy, served it with dill potatoes and steamed asparagus, had some friends over for dinner and we bonded over meat. I ended up with half of the beef still untouched. Bummer. Monday came around, and I was starving after work but I didn't want to eat just the plain beef with none of it's accompaniments. After scavenging my kitchen, I was able to find half an onion, a block of pepper jack cheese, sour dough bread and my never ending supply of spices. It just made sense...a Provo cheese steak! I Browned my meat some more and let it rest for about 15 minutes. The inside was a delicious medium pink and I wanted the juices to spread before slicing it. In the mean time, I caramelized my sliced onion on medium low heat, added some Worcestershire sauce and let the reduction thicken. After slicing the meat, I added it to the onions and sprinkled it with some chopped parsley, sliced some of that rich pepper jack and put it on top. That gooey richness melted and spread and I could smell the spicy flakes of pepper as they coated the beef. After toasting my sour dough bread, I spread some mayo and mustard on it and enjoyed a deliciously filling steak and cheese sandwich. Over the next couple of days, I made stir fry with a veggie medley, and other variations of steak and cheese sandwiches. Learning to never frown upon leftovers is something that requires work. But the rewards have been amazing. So next time you cook a little too much of a delicious something that you could easily get sick of if you eat it every day, remember to give it a second chance. Creativity is everything in the kitchen. And I am happy for a wonderful mother who taught me all about that :)


  1. mayra! did you ever know're my hero? and everything i would like to be? man. bicycletta. iron chef. "with a garlic and oil rub and paired perfectly with a balsamic reduction"?? what does that even mean?? who wants to play Teach-Anne-How-To-Cook-Something-Other-Than-Toast in the near future? :)

  2. you are adorable. the end.