I am guilty of posting pictures of a lot of what I cook on Fbook and Instagram. I like taking pictures of food — mine or somebody else’s. I’m not sure why. I guess I value the creativity. Or think it’ll help retain the memory of good dining experiences. Or maybe it just seems like the thing to do.
I get lots of comments. Things like “why are you torturing me?” “When should I be over for dinner?” “Darn, missed brunch again.” Most of the comments, I think, are people who would like to eat the things I’ve posted. At least I hope so.
Sometimes, however, I think people think that what gets produced is easy. It can be. I do like cooking so it’s not like I feel it’s a chore like some people might. Most of the time I am doing simple cooking techniques to produce unfussy meals.
Every once in a while, I’ll go all out and produce something that either takes a lot of time or multiple steps. These are usually weekend or vacation kinds of moments, but once in a while the spirit moves you.
I was moved by dill.
For our last CSA delivery of the winter, among other things we got a big bunch of dill. I actually got two since someone left another bunch in the swap box (which for me is a take box most of the time…). For me, dill often means the Moosewood cookbook recipe for ‘Bulgarian Bell Pepper Casserole.’ I love this recipe but it takes about an hour to assemble and 30-40 minutes to bake so you have to have some time.
I decided to make this on a Tuesday. After work. Starting at 6 p.m.
Given the lateness of my beginning (which still seemed earlier than some of my cooking lately), I decided NOT to empty the dishwasher of the clean dishes but rather to just start cooking. This meant there would be no place to put dirty dishes except the sink which already had some dirty dishes from dinner the night before and then my lunch dishes. Normally I hate starting with anything in my sink, especially for this kind of cooking which will require a pot for making rice, a pot/pan for cooking the onions and peppers, the bowl of my food processor for handling the ricotta cheese, and sometimes a bowl for mixing it all together before putting it in the pan to bake. Plus the juicer to squeeze lemons and all of the chopping elements. And my garlic press.
By the time the pan went into the oven, my sink was piled high and my stove was littered with dirty pans. I had to laugh. If people have some glamorous idea about my cooking, this was not it.
Happily, as the casserole baked, the clean dishes came out of the dishwasher and all of the dirty dishes slowly went in. It was a full load immediately. As I surveyed the now clean kitchen just before digging into the casserole, I appreciated again my small but highly functional space and what I can create from the chaos “in the moment.”
With fewer dirty dishes.