In families across the world there are some members who really CAN cook: be it dad who really knows how to BBQ, grandma who makes the best pasta, mom who loves to bake, or brother who loves to create; regardless of the location, ethnicity, or religion, there is always at least one person in each family who can cook.
It just so happens, I am the lucky individual who can really cook in my family.
Being that person who CAN cook in the family is not always cause for celebration. At every family occasion, holiday, party or just plain out gathering, guess who ends up cooking? Now of course the food always will come out fantastic, or so you will hear, but now and then it is nice to take a break.
Along with all the family gatherings comes the phones calls and questions. Family will always call to ask the all mighty “how to” questions. Nothing is more amusing then when a phone call comes and solutions to all questions are expected in that one conversation.
“I was thinking of cooking this, what do you think?”
“Okay, I started but I am not sure if I am doing it, what about…”
“Okay, I was thinking about…”
“Okay, I am doing this. Now what?”
…and so on, and so on, and so on…
Over the years I have received many of these calls, just as many others who can cook have. Over the years I have become quite good about talking someone through a step by step dinner preparation. Unfortunately, there is no reward or special gratitude for those of us help. However, there is a personal pride that goes along with knowing that I am someone people can count on. There is an even greater pride in knowing that I may have helped teach someone how to cook. And although I may be able to teach some family members how to cook; being that person of the family who can REALLY cook, I’m still called upon for all occasions.
Now matter how much other family members learn, the phone calls and questions will keep on coming. Even though Spider Man said, “It is both a blessing and a curse,” I say let the phone keep on ringing. I enjoy teaching others, and take great pride in knowing I was able to help. Because while every family has those who CAN and CANNOT cook, those who CANNOT certainly have their own areas of expertise in which they field the phone calls.
Below is a simple recipe with complex flavors. It is good for beginners as well as inspiration for those of a more advanced skill. For those who are looking to cook more at home, but are not sure how, pasta is a good place to start. It is good way to teach some of the fundamentals of cooking. Pastas are a good way to get in many flavors and are also inexpensive, so if a mistake is made it doesn’t break the bank. A great deal of the time people will open a jar of sauce, pour it over noodles, and call it dinner. So pasta dishes have come to be thought of as boring. A fresh pasta dish does not have to bland and would definitely be healthier. There is a whole world of noodles and ingredients out there; this just has happens to be a easy starting place.
Lemon Vegetable Pasta
1/4 lb. green beans
1 head cauliflower
1 cup white wine (reserve the rest to drink with dinner, I suggest a Sauvignon Blanc )
1/4 cup lemon juice
1lb. pasta noodles (your choice)
Salt and pepper
Trim inedible part off the green beans, then cut into 1″ pieces
Cut the cauliflower into bite-size flowerets
Large dice the tomato and reserve in separate bowl for later
Fill a large pot with water, big enough to cook 1 lb of pasta. Add 1 tbsp of kosher salt. Bring to a boil.
Cook the cauliflower in boiling water till tender, about a couple mins. Remove from water, but do not throw water out. Reserve cauliflower in a bowl of ice water (this is called blanching)
Bring water back to a boil, then add green beans and cook till tender, about a min or so. Remove from water, but do not throw the water away. reserve green beans in separate bowl of ice water.
Bring water back to a boil, and cook the pasta, till al dente (with a little bite, but not to much). Once removed from water, drizzle with a touch of oil to prevent sticking. Reserve in separate bowl
Remove vegetables from ice water and maintain in separate bowls. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a touch of oil. When hot add green beans and sauté, followed with cauliflower. Cook for about 1 min to add a touch of color.
Add tomatoes, followed by pasta, and stir thoroughly.
Add all liquids, mixing thoroughly. Bring to a boil, then season with salt and pepper.
Herbs could have easily been added, or other pastas used, or other vegetables added. Take the recipe and build off of it.
Again, follow your heart. There is no right or wrong, rather a best and a better. Give it a try and, as it was once told to me, “HAPPY COOKING! Happy cooks put the most love in and turn out the best dishes.”