Cooking for Two – Part I
This girl on the grid recently returned to Sacramento after a year in DC. I now have a graduate education in tow, and a hubby-to-be, too! When I left Sacramento over a year ago, I was flying solo, with my now-fiancé as a long distance romance. Now, after a year together in DC, he moved to California with me where we’re embarking upon the rest of our lives together.
With this newly engaged lifestyle comes a need for certain culinary improvements. I always liked cooking for myself and was perfectly happy in the past with sautéed spinach and pasta or a turkey burger most nights, but that just won’t cut it now (especially for a man whose mom can make coq au vin for a “casual” supper). While my fiancé is not the male figure who expects me in the kitchen, I do like to cook and I think it’s one of life’s joys to be able to make a delicious meal, one that others appreciate. Alas, the era of spaghetti every night is over, and I’ve traded in my pasta or bread & brie nights for a cook book. My mission: To become an excellent cook for two.
Since we moved back, I’ve planned an elaborate meal at least once a week (we cook most nights to save money and stay healthy, but I work 40+ hours a week and don’t have the energy to make full-fledged, fancy dinners every night.). Despite my visions of perfection, however, these elaborate dinners have been somewhat questionable.
- First there was the meatloaf. Having successfully made two meatloaves (my fiancé’s favorite), I got too confident and strayed from my recipe. This resulted in a meatloaf that had way too much liquid in it but good flavor overall. Not my worst, but definitely not my best.
- Then there was shrimp scampi, which was just gross. Thinking, “How hard can this be?” I again made a change to the recipe and cut down the amount of butter to make it lower in fat. I also got distracted and completely overcooked the shrimp. My fiancé took care of the broccoli, but didn’t cook it long enough. The outcome? Something really awful. Rubbery shrimp, undercooked broccoli and a watery “sauce.”
- Next, I made beef stroganoff to which, somehow, I forgot to add flour. Despite it’s great flavor, the dish was more of a noodle and beef soup than the savory beef stroganoff I had envisioned. This evoked absurd, but real, tears to my eyes because I was so sure it would be the best meal yet.
- And last week, I had my first victory with a tasty chicken cordon bleu recipe from Cooking Light. Finally! A delicious, edible meal that I could be proud of. I hope to have more like it as time goes on, but I have to remember: I’m in a whole new phase of life, and learning to cook for two is much different than my single girl dinners of the past.
Stay tuned for more “Cooking for Two” adventures, where I may share some recipes that actually turn out to be winners.
Jessica Love is a public relations professional in downtown Sacramento. While she adores her gig in PR, she also loves to write, travel, cook, drink red wine (what other kind is there?), and sweat it out in fitness classes. Most of Jessica’s free time is currently occupied with planning her wedding to the New Hampshire-bred love of her life, of which she will try to spare you the nitty-gritty details in blog posts.