People love the cook! This is I think why I started cooking when I was quite young. My mother suffered from migraines and when she was out of commission I started cooking for my family. The house was a sad place when my mother was sick and I hated it. My only fond memories of those times were when my brothers and father liked the food I made and told me so.
I just returned from a few days in Mexico with 8 friends. I hadn’t planned on cooking the majority of our meals but once there, I couldn’t help myself. The loveliest sous chefs and the rousing appreciation made it a joy.
We were in a house that was stocked with nothing but salt, some ancient looking bouillon powder (which lead to an excellent risotto btw), cinnamon and black pepper. A stop at a local grocery store for oil, butter, fresh produce and herbs, rice, eggs and tortillas and chicken (superb chicken with the most beautiful yellow fat) set me up. The local fish market rounded things out. I cooked day after day, each morning a frittata repurposed the leftovers from the night before. I didn’t miss my very-well-stocked home pantry. It was a much-needed reminder of how little we need to nourish ourselves well (if we have the means to purchase basic ingredients, that is); how very versatile a frittata is; that people (at least this group) are perfectly happy eating the same (template) dish day after day; and the joy of being creative with what you have!
You can start from scratch of course and sauté some onion, add some vegetables and then cover with barely beaten eggs with or without cheese and cook (on the stove top and then finished under the broiler) until set. Or you can heat up leftovers–already cooked vegetables, rice, pasta, meat, etc. and then top with egg, cheese, herbs, etc.
On this trip I repurposed leftover rice pilaf that originally included poblano peppers, onion garlic and cilantro. Another day it was a sweet potato hash seasoned with lots of lime juice and cilantro and another it was leftover roasted chayote and zucchini and bacon. The sky is the limit, just don’t over beat the eggs–really just break them up, don’t skimp on the salt and try not to burn it under the broiler! And let it cool for a bit before eating. Frittatas are much more flavorful warm or room temp, than piping hot.
Want to get more comfortable cooking like this, using what you have with confidence and creativity? Subscribe to the Seasonal Recipe Collection for 20% off with discount code FALL!
14 thoughts on “Cooking With What You Have (No Matter Where You Are)”
Sarah Deumling says:
What a wonderful silver lining to the migraine cloud! Makes me smile.
Yes, indeed! “Thank you” is the wrong sentiment but I am grateful to have had the opportunity to cook during those sad times.
Megan Killian says:
Katherine, your passion and joy for cooking is inspiring.Thank you for sharing your talents with us on the trip. I haven’t stopped talking about all the incredible meals we had!
It was such a pleasure to cook with/for you all! xo
It was, all of it! The company and location certainly didn’t hurt!
I loved this…
Inspiring as always! Nourishment happens in so many ways…
yes, it does!
Candace Ford says:
Similar situation in my childhood home (much longer ago than yours) when My baby brother was in a children’s hospital for months on end and our mother stayed with relatives there to be with him. That left just my father and me. Pa could certainly cook for himself and me as far as that goes, but it was just sort of expected that I would do it. Sixty or so years later I still love cooking.
Thanks for sharing. It’s interesting to see how times of strain/need can inspire life-long passions.
Carol Anton says:
I love your template idea of cooking!!!!
It’s so eminently useful and creative and fun! Glad you’re on the template bandwagon!