Thursday, September 9, 2010

cooking up romance!

As of yesterday, hubby and I have been married {three amazing years} - hurrah!
When we first met at 20-years-old, I did not cook.
Kitchens literally scared me.

After we had dated several years...I still did not cook. Unless you count rice. Lots and lots of rice.

But when we got married, at long last, at age 26....nope, still could not boil my way out of a pot.

Growing up, my mom had never shown me the womanly ways of a kitchen. She was famous for wanting to do it all herself, so whenever she was cooking she preferred us to: "Go play outside!" Now I love my mother dearly, and there were some really amazing things I gained from all that free time out exploring the world outdoors, but it also left me with zero kitchen confidence. This is what I did instead of learning to be domestic:

So three years ago, when I became the lady of my own house, I decided enough was enough. I was going to cook if it killed me. If we had to eat a year straight of burnt suppers, I would learn to cook, darnit! What was the point of having a beautiful kitchen if you don't use it?

{I love my kitchen}

So I started small. Grilling chicken. Baking salmon. Very simply. Slowly adding spices. Chopping veggies {I only chopped off part of my pinkie finger once. Small price to pay.}

Then I looked to the experts to expand my recipe base. Rachel Ray was the obvious choice: 30 minute meals? Sounds easy! Well, they still seem to take me an hour, but progress is progress, right? :o)

In no time at all I had fallen in love with cooking. I'm still no expert by any means, but I love being in the kitchen: the smells, the sounds, staging the plate and hearing the {most of the time} fantastic reviews of my handsome husband. He is pretty honest, which is helpful and finally doesn't cause me to burst into tears!

So to celebrate our beautiful 3 year landmark of love, and my transformation from kitchen 'fraidy cat, to never-make-the-same-meal-twice diva with a spatula, I decided to make an anniversary dinner!

I am not including recipes here {email me if you want details} but would rather just share my journey of creating the evening...

First I set the stage for our outdoor dinner, by adding some throw pillows and fresh flowers. Most of this bouquet was given to me by Paul when he got home from work - I just added some freshly cut lime-green hydrangeas...

{See those aluminum garden pails? I will post more on those later.}

The salad we started with is of my own creation: strawberries with goat cheese and basil. In my opinion, goat cheese is the most fantastic cheese there is. {Kind of an aphrodisiac, too. Just sayin'.} The dressing was really easy: just olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried basil whisked together.

{Salads are strangely my favorite thing to make}

The main dish was seafood, of course. We both adore fish of any kind, so I went with a simple dish of what I like to call drunken shrimp and scallops {aka shrimp and scallops sauteed in a wok with veggies and white wine} Mmmmm...

Add a little bubbly, some freshly-baked {I mean warmed in the oven} rosemary-olive oil bread, and you have yourself a sweet, simple, romantic meal.

Oh, and dessert was...Oreos and milk! {I still do not bake.}

PS: I love learning new recipes {especially healthy and simple ones!} so if you have one you think even a novice cook like me could handle, please share, ladies!
Bon apetit!