Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Io Amo Spinacci.

Posted: January 24th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

Tonight, I think that I created my first recipe. Or at least, this is the first time that while walking home from work x2, I managed to think about the ingredients in my fridge, and come up with something I’ve never cooked or read about before. And I managed to keep it simple and not go overboard with the objects I thought of afterwords. A success all around.

Spaghetti with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms:

Heat up water for pasta.
As it’s heating, chop/mince (whichever you want) two cloves of garlic, and slice about 7 shittake/cremini mushrooms.
When the water boils, drop the spaghetti, and turn on the gas under a skillet, with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in it.
When it’s warm, add the garlic and mushrooms.
Saute, while the pasta’s boiling, and when the mushrooms are cooked, add the spinach. Saute, adding a little more butter if you want (I do) until the spinach is just cooked.
Drain the pasta, season the spinach/mushrooms with salt and crushed red pepper flake.
Throw a little more butter in with the pasta, toss, and then toss with the spinach and mushrooms. Add some parm if you feel like it (I did).

DEEEE Licious.

I’m really proud of myself because most of my cooking to this point has been out of recipes and stuff, out of books and magazines. But this, this I winged. This I came up with on my own and will continue to cook this for a long time.

More than anything, this gives me the confidence to follow my instincts. I mean, yes, obviously, spinach and mushrooms go well together. And nothing goes badly with pasta, butter, and garlic. But I thought of it, and I carried it out, and it was yumbly. This is a big thing. I’ll hopefully be braver, and more free in the future after this success. Yes, there will still be bad recipes, bad events. But there will also be delicious goodness.

Since I have a lifetime of cooking to do, this is as good a place to start as any.


Eggs on Toast and Eddie on Dvd

Posted: January 23rd, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | No Comments »

I have to say, I have been cooking a lot lately. Sunday night – roast chicken, risotto, overnight cinnamon roll prep. Lovely, lovely. Monday night – lentil soup, quiche, ciabatta bread that didn’t really….ciabatt. Two out of three ain’t too shabby. Tuesday night – yummy cheeseburgers with the cheese on the inside. Sneaky and quite yum.
So tonight, what my heart wanted was something that no one else was going to eat. When dogs wake you up at 4am peeing on their beds, and work is hard, and there’s really no point in making a fuss, sometimes you just need something that you alone love.
Scrambled eggs and toast – I love really soft scrambled eggs, almost to the point of being undercooked. Shredded cheddar cheese, toasty rye bread, lots of butter…. yumtastic.

And now, lounging on the couch watching Eddie Izzard, feeling better than I did before. And really…that’s the whole point of cooking for myself, I feel.


Meet a Happy Fat Kid.

Posted: January 21st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

I’ve had this blog for almost a year, and I haven’t posted yet. I’m not sure why. Probably, honestly, because I’ve been remarkably lazy about blog posts in general. I spend all day staring at a computer at work, so when I get home, I don’t want to necessarily stare at a computer to blog.

But I’m going to, because it helps me to focus my energies, and I have something to look back at when I’m afraid I’ll never be living my dream.

I’m 23. I live in Brooklyn. I work a desk job in finance, and 4 days a week I’m a nanny. By some gift of fate, I ended up nannying for a food family, so I have someone to talk to about cooking and food anytime I’m at work. I have a wonderful boyfriend, who’s a bit of a foodie himself, who will eat whatever I cook and watch the food network with me all day on our days off.

I’m not a great cook, but I’m a good one, and I love to cook for people. In a strange way, I would rather cook for people than eat with them, but I suppose that explains why I’m only a happy fat kid on the inside. I’m not trained, except from watching tv and reading cookbooks (which I do all the time); I don’t really know the difference between simmering and boiling, I’m not sure about the difference between “mince” and “dice”, I’ve only just learned what it means to “sweat” garlic, and I definitely need to have my knives sharpened sometime soon, before I do myself serious injury. Some days I get home from work and all I feel like doing is opening up a bottle of wine, grabbing a book and a grilled cheese sandwich, and heading for my bed — I’m not all that dedicated to cooking every single night. But some nights, when the day has been long, and my soul is tired and hungry, what I want to do is make the food that I know my heart is crying for. Sometimes, when there’s an occasion, I’ll splash out and buy something expensive like fresh tuna steaks, and do something fancy. When I know that my boyfriend and I have the apartment to ourselves for a night, or a weekend, or whatever, I’ll plan something nice, but something homey – roast chicken, hamburgers, risotto, homemade bread, something like this. We both have a serious appreciation for restaurant food, but when it’s just the two of us, sometimes it’s nice to have a sort-of date, a sort-of harbinger of things to come.
But in the end, I’m not too picky, because the ideal breakfast for me is a slice of cold pizza, with a cup of coffee, hot or cold, fresh or not.

I love to cook for people for several reasons, and most of them are selfish. I love knowing that I’ve made something that makes whoever I’m feeding happy. I love seeing the “mmmmm” face that someone makes when they eat something that I’ve worked hard on for them – I love watching them totally shut off and just display their enjoyment, without filters or controls, eyes shut, big grin, mouth full. I also love not having to do dishes, because generally when I cook for people, they feel obligated to clean up. And what’s better than that?