when rogray and i first started dating his idea of cooking was shake n' bake with kraft mac n' cheese and green beans on the side. other than that he was all thumbs in the kitchen. i was mildly horrified but i think that has more to do with the fact that he puts relish in his tuna salad more than the shake n' bake.
once we moved in together it became clear that if something was to be prepared for a meal together it would either be made by me or be shake n' bake. . .and that wasn't inherently desirable to either of us. so rogray and i set out to nurture rogray's cooking skills. over the course of the year in l.a. rogray learned to make pasta e fagioli, salmon and salads (he had a slight slicing and chopping problem). the golden age was when we are in our house-sit and we had access to a top notch outdoor grill next to a pool with a hot-tub in the backyard -- best 6 weeks ever! -- and we pretty much grilled everything we ate: zucchini, eggplant, onions, turkey dogs, turkey burgers, chicken, fish -- everything. it was glorious.
but since we were in our last sublet and we have been moving so much there hasn't been that much cooking going on and rogray was feeling like he was never going to get comfortable in the kitchen. so he has set himself an assignment: he will cook a month of dinners -- not dinner every night for a month -- he will cook 30 dinners. so every time we eat in he is in charge of making dinner and he is going to make something new every time.
this means i am his happy taste tester and sated dish washer. and faithful reviewer.
dinner 1: arroz con pollo.
rogray got the recipe out of cook's illustrated and it was absurdly delicious. the chicken was actually falling off the bone and the flavor was big and yummy -- this is definitely going to be something we crave. i was very impressed and gobbled it up not just for diner but lunch the next day. the one flub was that rogray underestimated how long it would take to prepare this so we didn't eat until 9:30 and i had to leave by 9:50 to walk over to koogs' to watch the finale of project runway (side note: whatever to the jeffrey winning -- obviously it was going to be him and it was a let down and predictable so pttttthhh -- uli and laura were amazing. michael was disappointing but i still love him.)
dinner 2: pasta in a spinach and goat cheese sauce with beet salad.
the beet salad was originally supposed to be a dish made with fresh peas, lemon zest and mint but since peas are out of season rogray opted for beets with tasty results -- he even cooked and peeled the beets himself! who needs canned veggies? not this guy!
now before i go on to the pasta let me first say that it had nothing to do with rogray's execution -- he followed the recipe and it ended up being lame -- way too much garlic -- to the point that it burned in my mouth and not enough goat cheese. and also -- it did not make good leftovers so it was a downer all around.
tonight chicken marsala and broccoli with garlic and asiago.
and for the record, i have been know to request rogray's shake n' bake dinner -- i quite like it.