It has been said that too many cooks spoil a kitchen.
I say that it only takes one cook…especially when that cook is cooking too many things.
Friday morning I woke up early and set out for our garden. I came home with these beauties:I then proceeded to start not one, but three cooking projects at the same time (I also had a fourth recipe on hand in case I got bored).
1. Homemade tomato sauce
2. Stuffed Peppers
3. Homemade Granola
Armed with recipes and lots of advice from my mom and a good friend, I was ready to tackle my first homemade tomato sauce. I pressed play on my Rosemary Clooney Pandora station and got to work blanching tomatoes, pureeing, chopping our fresh basil and rosemary, and channeling my Italian roots.
In the end, my sauce still tasted a little acidic, but I guess that’s expected for a first attempt. Sean and I have had the sauce with pasta for lunch the past couple of days and it seems to be getting better with time. Maybe the flavors just needed to mingle a bit longer…Overall grade: B+
While my sauce was simmering on the stove, I started making dinner. Since we had so many green peppers from the garden, I decided to make sausage-stuffed peppers for dinner. I was pretty much making up the recipe as I went along, and this was working out for me until I added some pinto beans. Sean is a huge fan of rice, beans, and salad. Whenever I work any of these into a meal he is greatly appreciative. So as I was throwing random things into the mix, I decided to toss in some of the beans that he had in the cupboard. Unfortunately, I failed to realize that the beans would only soften when boiled in water. Apparently beans remain unfazed and resolutely hard when cooked with other ingredients for over half an hour. Dinner was delicious aside from having to pick all the beans out (Sean was a trooper and crunched them all down). Overall grade: B-
Last, I decided to make homemade granola – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I got a recipe from one of my good friends at my bridal shower and I finally worked up the energy to track down all the ingredients at the grocery store. After finding things like wheat germ and oat bran for the first time, I felt like quite the experienced grocery shopper. The recipe makes around 10 cups of granola so there’s really no messing around. The granola came out looking lovely and harmless enough, but one of the ingredients secretly burned in the oven. It’s hard to say what is burnt, because it all looks perfectly fine, but the granola is definitely emitting a rather strong burnt-to-a-crisp smell. I choked down a full serving with some yogurt the other day, but the remaining 9 1/2 cups are now sitting on the counter. I am thinking that I will end up leaving it there untouched until I have decided that it has gone bad. Overall grade: D
At one point, I had all three of these recipes on the stove at once. I had a picture, but just realized that I must have been at full sprint while taking it, as it came out looking like one big blur.
In a final review, I would say that the overall result of my culinary multi-tasking was a solid C+
Despite my barely passing grade, I always love a full day of cooking. I can’t make any promises that this multiple-recipes-at-once thing won’t happen again. But I will promise you that you don’t have to try my granola.