Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cooking time and wine

The best part about graduating from college and getting a full time job, is that I have the time, energy, and money to do things I’d never been able to do before. I’m speaking specifically about cooking, but other things like doing laundry also apply.

I’ve never been a cook. I baked sporadically with my Mom in high school, and I used to make myself a fried egg once every six months just to prove to myself that I had it in me… but other than that, I let my boyfriend do the cooking. I did the dishes. I blame my parents. They raised me with absolutely amazing food. When I woke up in the morning, there were eggs and toast (or sourdough pancakes) being made for breakfast. And for dinner, my Mom always had a recipe book open, making something elaborate and delicious (like hand-wrapped Chinese dumpling soup). The lesson I took away was: why cook something mediocre myself, when I can ask Mom or Dad to cook something delicious.

And then magically, a few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to bake cookies. Which turned into me deciding I wanted to bake another batch. Which morphed into two Sundays spent making stacked roasted vegetable enchiladas for dinner. Which turned into me spending most of my Sundays baking and cooking. It feels really good. I like moving about the kitchen by myself, surrounded by flour and food, the great smells coming out of the oven... and most of all, the happy faces that peer in waiting for the food to be finished (the cat and Ben).

This weekend was a great weekend for kitchen-y activities. This Friday, my friends and I had our weekly Friday night potluck dinners. We started this week with a heritage/ethnicity-based theme. Maria made blinis, which are like thin pancakes or fat crepes. We stuffed them with everything we could think of: sweet meats, sautéed vegetables, cooked mushrooms, sour cream, and finally jams and condensed milks. We had a great time, and while everyone else drowned themselves in White Russians, I jumped off of the Asian continent and headed back down to Chile for a Pinot Noir.

I drank a 2010 Cono Sur Pinot Noir, Adolfo Hurtado winemaker ($8.99) from Chile. The wine went surprisingly well with the medley of flavors in the blinis. I think a Pinot is versatile enough to compliment a heavy meal with its spicy bouquet and yet light enough to pair well with fillings like jam and sour cream. The nose was extremely acidic and I was worried that it was a bit young, but it turned out to be exceptionally smooth. The high acidity was nowhere to be found when I tasted it. I found it to be light and spicy on the first sip, with the lightest hint of fruit (maybe cherries). It finished with smooth tannins that melted away. This is the best Pinot Noir I’ve had under $15 and I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

We finished the weekend off with a trip to the Farmer’s Market where we picked up delicious in-season fruit. Then I did a whole bunch of cooking (I made pink Japanese chi chi mochi, spam musubi for the house to try, and a haupia macnut dessert). It feels good to have the time and energy to cook, and it makes the house smell delicious. 


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  2. Kelsey,

    I've been feeling exactly the same. Now that I have a kitchen of my own (and extra free time), I've been cooking so much more (and actually cleaning up afterwards!) and I love it. I've been making a lot of Dijon chicken because I get to try new whites for the sauce and also have wine night afterwards :)

    Thanks, as always, for the recommendations!