Whatcha Cookin', Good Lookin'?

One of my favorite regular activities that occurs in our home is cooking. Matty loves to cook (and is really good at it) and I love to cook (and am okay at it) and we both love to eat - it's quite a perfect situation, really.

Both of us like to cook different things - he experiments with different meats and techniques while I get obsessed with a type of cuisine (last year it was all things Asian, this year I want to master Indian). Sometimes we cook together, usually one person as the sous chef/dishwasher and the other as the master chef, but what we really like to do is impress each other, or at least I try to impress him because I think he is such an awesome cook. It's kind of romantic really, one of us will be cooking away in the kitchen, banging around pans and spices while the other sits in another room yelling out offers of help every commercial break or so (neither of us ever allows it, that is what the post-dinner dishes are for). Then, there is the serving and the hold-your-breath moment waiting to see how the other reacts to the dish. Only once have I ever not been thrilled about something he has made me...and I can't even remember what it was (he admits that it wasn't good too!) and I am sure that he has choked down more than one meal that wasn't great from me; I use tofu and veggies sometimes which interfere with his meat consumption, and I used to be known for overcooking meat (it's still kind of new to me and I am scared of under cooking it, dammit).

When we aren't trying to dazzle each other with our culinary skills we like to have friends over to try and dazzle them and then act like it was so not a big deal and didn't take the better part of three hours to 'whip up'. Seeing our friends enjoy something that we have created is always an awesome feeling and any excuse to hang out and eat food works for us. People often ask if Matty has worked in the industry, which always makes me laugh because there is no way Matty would avoid a homicide charge if he had to work in a kitchen. I have spent time as a waitress and a hostess and was raised by two food service workers, not to mention my five years at Starbucks, but for some reason no one ever asks me...I guess this goes to show who the better cook is in the house.

So anyways, modest Matty always tells people that he simply knows how to follow a recipe, which is definitely a big part of it, but I think you also have to really enjoy cooking to make it taste good; you can taste lack of enthusiasm, I swear. If you aren't into the process of cooking you tend to become impatient and look for a way to just get the meal on the table. Recipes are a huge part of it though, and I am always reading the dozens of emails I get on new recipes looking for my next dazzler. I subscribe to Real Simple, Southern Cooking and a zillion other email lists on new recipes. We also subscribe to magazines: Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Real Simple, and often our kitchen table is a collage of cut out recipes from these pages. I keep a recipe book that my Mom got me for Christmas one year and it has dozens of recipes, often splattered with ingredients that fill its pages; much cooler than always looking it up online and getting gravy on your laptop. Then there are our go-to cookbooks - Matty swears by the Best Recipe and I love the Best Recipes in the World (back to that Asian obsession of last year). I also love my North End cookbook, that I coincidentally purchased before I even lived in Boston and new of the North End and my slow cooker recipe book from my Grandma.

Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with my slow cooker? Because I am; it is my favorite thing about the weather turning chilly next to pumpkin flavored things and scarves. You put a bunch of things in it in the morning and you come home at night to the house smelling delicious and you don't have to do anything but eat and pretend that the cat made dinner - genius! I made an awesome turkey chili in our tonight and I must admit I even dazzled myself. The clear winner this week came from Matty though, check out the duck and parsnip deliciousness he whipped up
for me
I was obviously dazzled, I mean, just look at that presentation!

I am not the biggest fan of duck (my inner high school vegetarian still gets ridiculous about certain "cute" animals) but I would eat duck everyday and kill the little bastards myself if I could have this on the dinner table every night. Sorry Mom.

So there you have it, a little post on the O'Shea kitchen. And just for good measure, here is a picture of the Madeleine and I awaiting dinner at the best cook in the O'Shea family's kitchen (that would be Aunt Jane for any of you poor saps who haven't sat down to her table).


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