Cooking Adventures

I’ve been out of school for more than a year now. You would think I’d be past my college-dieting days of eating Hot Pockets, frozen dinners, Jimmy Johns or frozen pizzas. You name it, I probably ate it (and definitely still do). In that time since college, I have not mastered how to cook well. And cooking for one person is never easy so I tend to gravitate way more towards those lovely frozen meals. Yet I have learned how to make lemon-herb chicken with white rice (my personal favorite) and I’m pretty sure I’ve mastered how to make pasta. Last week I even mastered a Qdoba/Chipotle style burrito with some pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, cheese and grilled chicken strips. A very delicious and flavorful meal but the tortillas from Fred Meyer did not do the burrito justice. I’m on the search for x-large flour tortillas.

It’s not that I’ve never not cared to learn to cook. Like every other college students’ schedule, there was just no time and pre-college years were spent just eating whatever my mom cooked without considering the thought of really asking her how it was all made. I understand the basics and could probably whip up some delicious chilaquiles or enchiladas but too much tortilla is too much tortilla. Plus it always goes back to cooking for one. Not the most fun thing to do. You’re only cooking for yourself, who cares what you eat? Well really I should care about what I eat and it’d be nice to have something different to look forward to. Plus there’s just something about living in Portland that really makes me want to change up my eating ways.

This city thrives on all the different types of food. That’s the most of what I can think of doing here: eating out. Just two blocks from where I’m staying is a plethora of food choices and even several delicious food trucks. Don’t even get me started on the food places by my work. Working downtown has its many perks, including 2 blocks away from the most food trucks ever. There are so many choices for Thai and Chinese I just stop at the first one I see because it’s so hard to choose. And they have this incredibly delicious grilled cheese truck that has a turkey pesto grilled cheese sandwich that I devour in seconds. That’s how delicious it is. But even with all the savory choices for food within Portland, it gets very pricey. And I can’t spend every day of the week eating out. Way too expensive.

Maybe it’s the lure of all the eateries or maybe it’s the fact that everyone is so smart about the way they eat that it is making me want to cook more. My sister-in-law makes her own pasta sauce and salad dressing. I mean, c’mon, I could have been saving myself so much money in college with all the damn pasta I ate. Salad, not so much, but still, those dressings make me want to eat salad all day. There’s not only that little tidbit but there’s also the fact that I’ve owned a food processor for almost a year and not until I moved here did I realize how un-believably helpful that damn thing is. Yes, I used to make some great fruit smoothies when I first got it, but apparently I never actually looked in the box. There are about 25 different recipes for dressings, sauces and even hummus that I could’ve been using the processor for. My life was completely turned around when I realized this little gem. And then felt incredibly stupid afterwards knowing I’ve had this with me all along. I’ve already made some pretty delicious sun-dried tomato pesto with that bad boy (I brought it to a pasta potluck party and they loved it). So clearly I’m not too rough around the edges when it comes to getting my hands dirty in the kitchen.

I just need to be more on top of it. I need to branch my taste buds out and try my hand at a few different recipes. It can only get better with practice. The best part is I can actually take ideas from places I have eaten at throughout the city and take my own jab at recreating it at home. A week ago I took a dish I’d eaten at Departure in the Nines and realized that $9 was too much for how simple and quick it was to make. I had everything with me so it made it that much easier but honestly garlic fried rice with a fried egg over is not hard to make at all. Plus, its super delicious.

So whether or not this blog will turn out into a cooking blog or not, it’s going to be quite an adventure learning how to cook here. There will be plenty of calls to my mom and a lot of googling how-tos. It’s already proven helpful. Here’s a recipe for a quick, microwaveable cheesecake. Can’t wait to try that one!