Yay! This is my first post since I don’t know when. I really don’t want to know. It’s been way too long, but I have not forgotten my little blog.
It has been one crazy ride of a semester so far. Between turning 21 (heck yah!), starting a cupcake business with Carly, group projects, tutoring, and random trips home, I have been keeping busy.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that No Calorie Left Behind popped randomly back into my mind. While waiting for the start of class, I was perusing the glossy, glorious pages of Bon Appetit when the girl next to me craned her head over with the most curious look on her face. Secretly, I was hoping that she would ask what I was reading…who knew, maybe a wonderful food conversation would ensue. She did ask. I closed the magazine and pointed to the vibrant image of homemade pizza on the cover and answered, “Bon Appetit!” Then, nothing. Ok, I thought…..back to reading. Suddenly she pipes up, “I don’t see the point in cooking for oneself. It’s pointless.”
Inside, I’m fuming. If someone doesn’t like to cook….fine. I get it, but to think that cooking is pointless? Insane. I probably gave the poor girl a nasty look (unintentionally, of course) because she felt the need to explain herself: “I mean, I’ll cook if I have a big group of people to feed, but I think it’s pointless and a waste of time to cook for myself.” Hmmm, I wonder how tasty your food will be for that big ‘ol group of people if that is the only time you test your kitchen skills?
I had to come back with some sort of retort…..something to give the art of cooking the credit it duley needs. That was it! The ART of cooking. This girl is most likely a creative writer as more than half the students in this class undoubtably are. She has probably faced countless moments in which people have questioned and belittled her choice of study as being pointless. I looked at her, smiling, and said, “Well, I see cooking as my art form. That is why I love to do it.” She nodded her head in understanding and replied, “I can get that.”
Until that moment, I had never experienced talking with someone who felt as if cooking were a petty, unreasonable thing. I was almost offended, and I hardly ever let myself feel that way. She “got it”, though. That was enough to put me in a wonderful mood the rest of class. It also inspired myself to cook homemade meals for the next three nights in a row…something that is not always possible during the busy college schedule.
I thought I’d share one particulary yummy dish I made the other night: Shrimp and corn in a chipotle-tomato cream sauce over rice.
Chipotles are amazing. Jammy, spicy, and robust…..they make for a deeply flavorful sauce. I used half a can or about 4 whole chipotles, roughly chopped. This was super spicy…to the point that I almost couldn’t even handle it. However, the flavor sung, and I would probably only cut back by one chipotle next time.
At school, I only buy shrimp when it is on sale. Even then, it is only the frozen variety. Fresh is better, but frozen allows me to use it over time….and it’s less expensive. Just add the corn kernels and shrimp at the very end for about a minute or two. Being frozen, they only need to warm up, lest you want tough shrimp.
One more thing I must mention: the amount of cream (or milk) can be easily adjusted to your taste. I probably only used a 1/2 cup of whole milk as I don’t like my cream sauces to be too thick and heavy. If you don’t like spicy foods, you may want to up the amount of cream to counteract that heat. It is up to you.
As I was enjoying my dinner, I smiled thinking about all the things I have cooked soley for myself. Cooking is a social event, but it is also nourishment. We must nourish ourselves, and though I love having friends or family around while I’m in the kitchen, I really appreciate my own company enough to treat myself.
The next time I had class, I strategically “looked” through my Bon Appetit yet again while waiting for the professor to begin speaking. The same girl turned towards my open magazine with a look of interest this time. “What is that?” she asked, “It looks delicious!” With a huge smile spreading across my face, I repied, “Chocolate cake, but it was a baked in a long, rectangular pan instead of round ones.” The conversation when on.
Who knows, maybe she’s making herself a chocolate cake as we speak. I sure hope so.
Shrimp and Corn in a Chipotle (sort of ) Cream Sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 can whole tomatos hand-crushed
1/2 can (about 3-4) chipotles
Sautee the garlic and onion in a couple tbls olive oil until translucent. Add chipotles and tomatoes and let simmer over med-low heat.
These are the spices I used for the sauce. I added them to taste, and therefore have no idea what the amounts were. Don’t be afraid to try the recipe regardless. Taste as you go. If you like the sauce a little spicer, add more cumin and chili powder. If you like it sweeter, add more cinnamon and brown sugar. Either way, do not skimp on the salt or pepper.
1/2 cup whole milk or cream (or more!)
Add flour to the sauce. Stir till incorporated. Then add milk and crank up the heat to med-high. Stir until thick and creamy.
3/4 cup frozen corn kernals
Frozen shrimp, thawed (as many as you want!)
Turn the heat back down to med-low. Add the corn and shrimp and cook until just heated through. Serve over rice and enjoy!!!
p.s. I sprinkling of fresh cilantro over the top would be great!! I wished I had some as I was eating.