Sharing cooking adventures

I told W- about the Ethiopian cabbage dish that Eric and I made at Tuesday’s open house at Hacklab, to go with the injera that we bought from a store a few doors down from Hacklab. We had decided to go with cooking Ethiopian food because it was a cool day (so, a warm meal), we hadn’t cooked anything Ethiopian before, and Eric had mentioned the injera previously; so we looked online for vegan Ethiopian recipes and picked a simple one to start with. A typical Ethiopian meal includes several kinds of stews served on top of the flatbread, but we figured it was fine to start with just one recipe and let people decide how they want to eat it. It worked out pretty well, although there were a few moments when we weren’t quite sure how to fit all that shredded cabbage in. (Eric picked the biggest head of cabbage, I think!) $16 of groceries fed lots of people, and there were still leftovers by the time I left.

W- asked, “How come you’re not as experimental when cooking at home?” Come to think of it, I tend to test recipes at Hacklab before trying them at home: gazpacho, Thai curry, Japanese curry… Cooking at Hacklab is fun because other people help (getting that second chef’s knife for Hacklab was totally worth it!) and the meals disappear pretty quickly.

But we’re even better set up to experiment at home. Proper chopping boards, all the pots and pans I need, no worries about extra ingredients or leftovers, and backup plans in case things go wrong… Slightly pickier eaters, but if I mess up, I can always pack it in the freezer for later, or even toss it out if I really have to. (I tend to have more tolerance for cooking than I should, although even I have had to give up on some attempts before. Ah well!)

W- is much more experienced at cooking than I am, so I’m catching up by exploring different recipes. Cooking has become a hobby for me – something I enjoy for its own sake, even if I’m still working on getting better at it. It’s even more fun when you’re cooking with someone, since you can laugh at stuff and swap stories. Sometimes W- and I cook together, although I guess lately I’ve been trying to do most of the household prep so that he can focus on work. Choosing the recipe is part of the fun, and making something often results in funny stories even if there are hiccups along the way (especially if there are!). Maybe we’ll just make a habit of trying one new recipe a week. Between that and Hacklab, I’ll be learning tons of recipes, yay!

Mmm… What do I want to try? Different kinds of pasta, for J-. Curries of the world! Salads for summer, both cold and warm! Mmm…

  • Sue O’Mullan

    I can give you how my mom makes pasta – yup she came to visit me a few years back (before the trips were too hard for her to make) and asked if my boys wanted pasta and meatballs – they said “sure nunny” – so I went to the closet and got a box of pasta – I turn around and she already has the flour poured in a well on my counter and makes a sour face at me for even having “boxed pasta” in the house,,, lol I just love her to pieces – pasta is easy peasy (you do need a pasta machine to roll the dough into long thin strips – and some sort of drying rack to hang the noodles…..

    • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

      Our cats love ribbons, so pasta might be tricky. <laugh> Interesting idea, though! If we can find the kitchen space to dedicate to it, I might try keeping an eye out for a pasta maker at the thrift store or borrowing one from The Kitchen Library. In terms of Italian food, I might focus on getting pizza down pat first… =)

  • jojo siao

    why not try cooking chinese food, like sweet sour pork, braised beef, etc. (not noodles!)

    • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

      Sure, there are a number of Chinese dishes we’d like to do at home. =) Looking forward to trying them out!