Culinaria 101: Episode 1

Me too!

Me too!

Longtime readers of this(two month old) blog will be aware that, having lived in Chinatown for the past thirteen years, I have basically forgotten how to cook, because why would I do that when I can get a full plate of dim sum for less than it would cost me to make it at home? Eh? Answer me THAT!

So, part of the challenge for this summer, when I am in the Okanagan, a culinary mecca and no mistake, is to re-learn how to cook. Yesterday was my first attempt at something more ambitious than adding vegetables to canned pasta sauce and dumping it on pasta.

So, yes, the substrate was pasta. Isn’t it always? It was whole wheat penne, because that is what was in the cupboard, which is, let’s face it, probably your #1 concern as a home cook. Because if it ain’t here, it ain’t getting eaten. Thursdays my houseboy plays bridge with his old fraternity pals.

I placed my ambition in a small, non stick pot. It began with some turkey ham, cut into strips and fried in its own fat. And very yummy it was; had to force myself not to eat it all before I finished the sauce. Then once it was browned I dumped in a bunch of dried rosemary, which I love, a handful of crumbled bacon (IT COMES IN PACKAGES NOW?!?!?!?! What a world we live in, eh? Easily sliced grapes and bacon in packages!) a generous sploosh of Pinot Gris, and about an ounce and a half of blue cheese, crumbled on top. What kind of blue cheese? No idea, it was the blue cheese in the back of the fridge, that’s all I know.

Then I stuck a lid on it and let it get down and dirty together for about ten minutes, gave it a stir, and plopped it on the pasta.

Whereupon I ate it without taking a picture, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it looked as good as it tasted. I have a sorry habit of putting yogurt in my pasta sauces, which sounds like a good idea until you do it, the yogurt curdles (it ALWAYS curdles) and your meal looks like someone puked on it. Oh, bonus points for using red wine so the puke actually looks pinkish. Anyway, this didn’t look anything like that; it looked appetizing. I can’t say it was exactly on my diet, but then one makes impulsive decisions sometimes, particularly after the second Martini.

Anyway, my first Okanagan culinary adventure, with local wine and cheese, is officially a success. Yes, the cheese was local. It was local to the back of the fridge, okay?

Next week I get up to mystorage locker in Penticton and dig out my copy of Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book, and start working my way through it. That book? That book is the absolute SHIZZNIT. The I Hate to Housekeep Book is also highly recommended.


2 thoughts on “Culinaria 101: Episode 1

  1. I just discovered your blog and can totally relate to this post. When I worked a ‘corporate job’ we ate out all the time or bought pre-cooked meals. 3 years ago I went through some financial and health stuff and was forced to learn how to cook properly for the first time in my adult life.

    A note about the yogurt; in Indian sauces we mix the yogurt while it’s still cold with some of the other ingredients and then heat them up together slowly, this reduces the curdling effect.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    Pink Chai Living


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