Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cooking is good for the soul

Yep, I've decided--cooking is good for the soul. I'm reading a novel that is so zany I might have put it down if it weren't for the fact that the protagonist, Teeny Templeton, calms herself by cooking. And she can do what I can't--dream up recipes, combine things, and come out with something wonderful. Of course, she can dream up things like Skewer Your Ex Kabobs, complete with oleander. And she gets into bizarre situations--like catching her fiance playing naked badminton with two long-legged lovelies. The novel is full of eccentrics, from the fiance's Aunt Dora, who married into Charleston society but knows how to pay it like a harp, to a crude private eye named Old Red. As I said, I'd have done what the novel's title suggests, Gone With a Handsomer Man, except I got hooked, partly by food and cooking.
I am not, sigh, an inventive cook, but last night I invented a sandwich in my dreams. I was in a small cafe in a picturesque old town--think a small Scottish village, at least that's what appeals to me--and they had on the menu a sandwich of cream cheese, blue cheese, and chives. I emailed Jordan about it, and she, who puts cream cheese on everything, thinks it sounds delicious. Maybe we should add mayo? And use scallions instead of the milder chives? But then I have a lovely pot of chives on the porch.
But today I spent much of the day cooking--from  recipes, not my own imagination. Such experiments usually turn out badly, like the recent chicken breast I cooked only to find out it was a thigh, not a breast. But, following recipes, I made lemon potato salad--a friend brought that to a potluck and was generous enough to share the recipe. It's scrumptious. Then another friend sent me the recipe for what she says is the world's best gazpacho. Most gazpacho has bell peppers--I don't like them and they don't like me. But in this one I can easily leave that out. I made a huge batch--need gazpacho? Come on over! This one calls for a couple of weird things--you mash a couple of garlic cloves, sprinkle with salt, and then mash a hard-boiled egg into that mixture. Stir all that into the soup. Then at the very end stir in a half cup plain bread crumbs. I'm having guests tomorrow night who are gluten free, so I'm waiting for them to bring them bread crumbs. I imagine that's a texture issue.I didn't even test this huge batch--just set it into the fridge to chill. I'll "taste for seasoning," as they say, tomorrow when the bread crumbs get here.
Meantime I managed to do small household chores, edit and post a Potluck with Judy guest blog and write a blog that will appear later in the month on Sweethearts of the West. So I've done a bit--but I've got to keep reading and find out what happens with Teeny. Right now, she's out on bail, accused of murdering her fiance, the naked badminton player. Can you believe I'm drawn into all this? It's the cooking I tell you.

1 comment:

Sally Jackson said...

Kabobs with oleander? I guess it really was her ex, since oleander is one of the most poisonous of garden shrubs! The book sounds fun!