The Newbie Cook
- 18,731 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
First of all, I want to congratulate my very good friend, Tricia, for taking the same difficult step I took six months ago: learning how to cook. I didn’t find it easy, especially in the beginning. I found it tedious, tiring, and frustrating especially when it bombs even if I follow the recipe to the letter (or when I think I did). There are little successes and almost-successes. I still eat my failures to teach myself to fail much less often in the future.
When we were in college, the only cooking Tricia and I could manage was to fry a can of Spam and to pour water into a cup of instant Yakisoba. Any “proper” food would have to be eaten from restaurants. And we could only afford so much on a college student’s budget.
Now, Trish has a food blog, Whipped, where she chronicles her adventures in cooking and as she eats her way through the finest places in Manila. And to celebrate Tricia’s recent cream dory with mango salsa project (yum yum, I can just taste it!), here’s another cream dory recipe from me.
I’ve seen recipes where they used dill. And I’ve seen dill itself in the supermarket whenever we would do our weekly grocery shopping. It has always been a mysterious herb to me. I’m not sure what it tastes like, exactly, since we don’t usually use dill in Filipino cooking. And I grew up on native homecooked meals.
So I thought dinner time would be a good time to experiment. *evil grin* I have been craving for fish and I suspect that I would sprout wings if I eat another chicken dish.
I kept it relatively simple and broke the rule of using only white wine for white meat.
My fish pictures look awful. But have you ever seen wonderful pictures of raw fish chunks? I doubt it. If Steamy Kitchen — who is a much better food photographer and food stylist than I can ever dream to be — cannot make raw fish look amazing, then me and my Canon EOS1000 probably can’t.
And the end result was… it was surprisingly edible. Okay, okay, it was quite yummy. 😀 I ate it with a half-cup of steam white rice and the spinach dish I was so excited about earlier. Now, please excuse me. I need to think of more things to do with dill.
Do you know what my favorite side dish is? No, it’s not mashed potatoes. Actually, I don’t really like mashed potatoes though I’d eat it if it was served. Just like okra.
Now where were we?
Just like the title suggests, my favorite side dish is spinach in garlic. This is a very simple, 4-ingredient side dish that my mother taught me years ago. Mashed potatoes pale under the might of the tasty spinach!
This side dish is originally made with kangkong, but here in KSA, kangkong costs 10 SR a bunch while spinach costs 1 SR. And I’m a smart shopper. Plus I figured emulating Popeye’s eating habits couldn’t hurt.
Just like me, mom prefers to slice the bunch of leaves into long, thin strips. But unlike me, she likes to smash the garlic until there is nothing left but garlic juice. Me, I like the texture. So I just chop my bulbs.
Last week, we held Ina’s surprise bridal shower just a few days before her wedding. Being the forgetful friend that I am, I completely forgot about it until Jovett texted me that morning as a reminder. (See, my friends know me very well.)
It was a potluck dinner and I didn’t know what to bring! I expected that most guests would probably bring dishes so I opted to bring the dessert. And who else do I turn to for dessert-related emergencies like this? Dear old Smitten Kitchen. ♥
I chose the recipe based on Ina’s love for the wholewheat apple cinnamon muffins I used to make for her. Of course, I didn’t have applesauce on hand. I don’t think I’ve ever bought applesauce in my life. After a panicky mini-shopping spree in my company’s tiny Safeway, I finally had what I needed.
The cake and the frosting were relatively easy to make. The only hitch was that I was strapped for time, having only 1.5 hours to make the cake. Since there was no time to properly cool the cake, I was afraid the frosting would melt and be absorbed by the cake and I’d end up with a mess. I popped the cake in the freezer and hoped for the best.
Though the cake was still warm when I left, the frosting didn’t melt. (Not too much anyway.) And we were still able to enjoy the gooey, moist cake on our white plastic plates. 🙂