Sunday, May 28, 2006

Learning to Cook

I turn 42 tomorrow. I bought myself an emerald ring and a charcoal grill. And I made a vow:

I will learn to cook.

Sure, I can prepare a few basic items like homemade spaghetti sauce, sausage and potato omelets and Christmas cookies. However, I mostly survive on frozen and take-out dinners. Or chips and salsa. Or tortillas and queso. I simply have never felt the urge to create in the kitchen. (Unless chocolate and cookie dough were involved, that is.)

I’ve never grilled a steak in my life. In Houston, I had a gas grill on which I cooked the usual burgers, chicken and hot dogs. Never beef or sausage—that was always a man’s job. And so I never learned how to grill the perfect steak. It’s way past the time to rectify that omission.

But really, I want to learn to cook because I miss fresh fajitas and other good Tex-Mex food – meals that I took for granted while in Houston. In fact, I most often would forgo Mexican food in favor of Italian when I lived there. However, six months and 1,800 miles away from original Tex-Mex, I find I crave it more often than I ever have before.

Thus, if I can’t get the real thing up here, I might as well learn to prepare it. To that end, I purchased a Texas foods cookbook the last time I was in Houston. It offered recipes for both beef and chicken fajitas, for frijoles and arroz ala mexicana, blackberry cobbler and for hot German potato salad, amid lots of other tempting items. How could I possibly pass up such a book – much less not use it?

So, today I did use it. I marinated and grilled some steak for my first attempt at beef fajitas. At some future date I intend to prepare a true Tex-Mex meal for my co-workers, and I should try out the recipes first, right? I figured this weekend would be as good as any to start, beginning with the fajitas, some Mexican cornbread and rice. And lo! My neighbors caught me at the grill and invited me to join them for a grilling party at the complex’s gazebo on Monday afternoon. So, I will have guinea pigs for my first efforts.

Lucky them.


Roberta said...

Happy B-day Meesh!!! Hope the grill is successful and yummy (am sure it will be). I find that marinading beef for 1-2 days in some yummy salad dressing and then slathering on good spices before hitting the grill makes it a no-loose meal. I'm a bit of a frozen meal queen myself...

SMO said...

Happy, HAPPY Birthday (a day late)!!!
You know what Pappasitos marinates their chicken fajitas in??? Soy sauce and pineapple juice. ;) Who'd a thunk that something so yummy could be so easy?!

Tom D. from Houston said...

Howdy Michelle!! It is I, Tommy D. from Houston. I've never heard back from you. The divorce is proceeding and I wish I'd taken James' advice and left her ass at the altar while I headed for West Texas with he and Bob. Happy birthday. You're two years younger than I.