What would you like for dinner?

Probably the most asked question in the world, and asked every day.  Depending on who asks it, the question is usually a leading question, with an anticipated reply.  For me, I always hear “What shall we prepare for dinner?”  All right, game on!

So my reply this time is the same as usual: “What do we have to cook?”  Well, we have vegetables that we should cook while they are still fresh.  That was not really an answer; but, I played along.  Just get everything out of the produce drawer that we need to cook and we will go from there!

Seems now a days that we are more and more concerned about eating healthy, so while shopping one tends to stay away from the canned goods and go for the fresh “in season” produce and with all the choices these days, it doesn’t take anytime to fill up your produce drawer to the point it is over-flowing into your fruit drawer.  Ah, the overflowing fruit drawer – a subject for another time.

So vegetables started appearing on the counter, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, etc…  Obviously vegetables were on the menu; but how to prepare them and which ones?  So I started removing flowerets, slicing zucchini and peppers, chopping this and julienning that.  Practicing my knife skills, I was definitely in a groove.

When the prep work was complete, I stood back and saw all the cereal bowls were filled, there were neat little piles of vegetables on the cutting board and a pile of vegetable scraps that would later end up in a stock pot for vegetable broth – again, another story; but, the broth didn’t last long!  Now what?  The over flowing bowls of vegetables were begging to be prepared.  So we ended up making a vegetable ragout and used some leftover rice to make a pilaf.

I would be happy to share the recipe; however, it would have to be created because one was not used.  Besides, following a recipe is not the message here.  The important lesson I want you to take away from this story is to not be afraid to experiment when you cook (not bake), most techniques are universal, quantities are not steadfast, ingredients can vary and, most of all, have fun in the kitchen.  If you feel your finished dish was not up to par, adjust it a little next time! – That’s what Julia would do!

Don’t be intimidated in the kitchen, have fun, and it is always more fun with family and friends – welcome sous chefs!

We sat, we ate and we enjoyed!  It started by cleaning up the produce drawer and ended up with one comment that I will always remember…  “I could become a vegetarian if it always tasted this good.”  Let me know how your experiments work, maybe we can share some recipes – I’ll try harder to start documenting them.

So, what would you like for dinner, tonight?