I've been cooking more lately: chicken parmesan, egg custard, shrimp scampi, roasted broccoli and pancetta, shepherd's pie, and chocolate-cherry muffins.
It's pleasant to putter around the kitchen while the kids are in screen heaven, recovering from the school day and the demands of reality in general.
My signature move is the rough chop: hacking things into large pieces, throwing them in a pot, and describing the resulting dish as "rustic."
With spices, I am generous and imprecise. (A quarter-teaspoon's worth doesn't seem worth the effort.)
I carefully time and monitor the oven. I am afraid of BROIL and avoid it.
My favorite ingredients are pre-washed vegetables in a bag.
I enjoy assembling simple things, like a decaf chai latte with a slug of Irish whiskey, a few drops of vanilla, and a cinnamon stick. (So delicious that once you try it, you will kick yourself for all the wasted years . . . )
Cookbooks are like the Internet: With no particular plans, you flip through them until something catches your interest. And the Internet is a like a cookbook: Recipes for every imaginable food are a Google search away.
Always looking for ways to alleviate the boredom of winter nights, I'm glad to have hit upon cooking as a minor hobby.
Plus I'm so new to it that, every time I take a rustic, Internet-sourced casserole out of the oven, I feel like I'm being amazing.
"Am I amazing you, kids? Are you amazed that your working, single mother has lovingly prepared this meal for --"
"Can I be excused, Mom?"