A Week in Photos: May 13th

May 20, 2013

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking slump for the last few months which has been most unfortunate since I tend to find cooking quite relaxing. Baking, not so much. But chopping vegetables, frying onions, making something delicious out of random ingredients, satisfying a craving, it’s an important part of me.

Last week the clouds parted, certain things aligned, I had a long awaited bounce in my step again, and I found myself more excited than I’d been in months to get into the kitchen. Now I am not one who is drawn to super intricate recipes, not that I never will be, but at this point I tend to gravitate toward simple, no frills recipes that rule. Perhaps it’s a result of my upbringing, four kids, two adults and no dishwasher, so the more dishes you dirtied, well, the joke was on you.

When I was about eight or nine, my mom, the brilliant woman that she is, in an effort to even out the dinner making duties, told each of us kids that we could cook any meal we wanted to once a week and by doing so, we would be relieved of dish duty that night. She was speaking my language. I don’t remember too much of what I made during that time, a lot of Macaroni & Cheese and Spaghetti Pie I’m sure, Mexican Lasagna was also a favorite, we were certainly not the world’s most culinarily creative family. But I loved that once a week I got to make the decision and could ignore everyone else’s input, as the youngest of four you relish any chance like this you can get.

I was reminded not too long ago of these dinners when I ordered a burrito with refried beans in it and with one bite I was transported back to 1987, sitting at our dinner table starting a plate of white rice and refried beans. Nothing else, just that. You see, it was my sister Laura’s night to cook and the only rule was really, that there were no rules. You could cook whatever you wanted. And so she did, every single week. The result being that to this day, I still can’t stand the taste of refried beans.

Pickled grapes. They may sound strange but they are quite delicious. They're the perfect vehicle for rosemary, garlic and chiles.

Pickled grapes. They may sound strange but it turns out they’re the perfect vehicle for rosemary, garlic and chiles.

Spinach - Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Rules.

Spinach – Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Rules.

First strawberries of the season.

First strawberries of the season.

Dinner in the making.

Dinner in the making.

The result: Spaghetti with bok choy, red peppers & green onions with a poached egg on top. I pretty much love anything if it involves a poached egg and this was no exception.

The result: Spaghetti with bok choy, red peppers & green onions with a poached egg on top. I pretty much love anything if it involves a poached egg and this was no exception.

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