My latest obsession is cooking shows. To be more specific, cooking show contests such as Iron Chef, Masterchef and Cooked. It all started when I discovered Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares”. I watched all of them. I have worked in a number of restaurants and it was fun watching stupid owners and chefs get their asses handed to them. But it also reminded me that I know quite a lot about food and what makes food “good”. I come from a family of cooks. My dad cooked, my mom is the world’s best home cook, and my brother is a chef in California. I was always told I couldn’t cook. But my family only saw me in my lazy 20 year old period. It’s been getting better each year since then.
So tonight when I went into the kitchen to see what was for dinner, I realized that all we had was left over pizza (again) or boxed mac and cheese. The Mac & Cheese is what I call “Lazy food” – food we buy because we are too lazy to go shopping. The irony being that we didn’t go shopping because we were watching Masterchef. I grabbed the mac & cheese and thought to myself, “What would I do if this were the secret ingredient?”
I grabbed the butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon & hot dogs and went to town. I added spices. I cooked the hotdogs in a little bacon grease. I baked it after I cooked it on the stove top. I even added some fancy spread cheese and whole wheat breadcrumbs. When I was finished my dish looked almost homemade. Not only did I impress myself, I had fun doing it! This coming hot on the heels of my baking triumph of yesterday. (I tweaked a cupcake recipe and ended up with chocolate brownie cupcakes with cream cheese butter frosting. Delish!)
Watching other people cooking for countless hours on end seemed to make me a better cook. It also reaffirmed that I know what I am doing in the kitchen. I am proud of myself for taking a few extra steps to make my box of pasta into something actually edible. It tastes rich and creamy. There is bacon in it. BACON. And doesn’t look like it came from a box. Even if it is all organic – a box, is a box, is a box. But still, I used it and I used what else I had on hand to make it into something better. I elevated the shit out of that box of pasta! I transformed a plain dish made for children into something that looks, and tastes, like it is for adults. It was simple, cheap and used minimal ingredients. The minimalist cook strikes again!