Herewith please find the first of (possibly) many installments of a section having to do with me, heat and chemical reactions.  In short, cooking.  If the title has a square or a strange character for you, it is an interrobang.

Yesterday afternoon, Gmail’s ad banner threw up an interesting link.  Lately I’ve been feeling as though everything I eat is laden with cheese so this seemed an excellent opportunity to exercise my rather noodly (oh ho ho) cooking muscles.  If Mum is reading this (and doesn’t take time to check out the recipe which would surprise me), yes, I not only ate something with butternut squash in it, I chose it out and cooked it myself.  Wonders will never cease after the jump.

Amy came online late afternoon and I explained my plans to her.  She was cautiously optimistic, having run up against my culinary inclinations in the past (typically nothing more exotic than sandwiches or Egg in a Blanket which is a post for another day).  On the plus side, this was me offering to cook.  On the downside, that often suffers from the Law of Unintended Consequences.  I made a list of ingredients that I knew we didn’t have (and checked in to make sure of the ones I thought were already at home).  I popped into the Superstore on my way home.  Excuse me, I oughtn’t to say ‘popped.’  Nobody ever ‘pops’ into the Superstore.  It’s far too large for that.  I retained a team of sherpas and mules and ventured into the Superstore on Fourth Avenue.

I decided to pick up a couple things not on the list which was my downfall.  We were flat out of lunchmeat so the first stop was the Deli counter where their ticket numbering system had gone all kaddywampus and beflozzled.  I waited patiently as several people took ‘cutsies’ and eventually wound up with 300g of delicious Honey Maple Ham.  Mr. Ziggy’s, you make some tasty ham.

I realized immediately after acquiring the piggy goodness that I was going about things all wrong so I wound up going backward through the produce section earning the enmity of all who tried to go through as the store designers intended.  I AM VERY SORRY I CUT YOU OFF, NOISY CELL PHONE LADY.  IT WAS DEFINITELY NOT ON PURPOSE.  Freshness acheived in the form of lemon, garlic, mint and a bag of Caesar salad.  (As a sort of sidebar here, the pre-bagged salads available to the side of the produce section are wondrous.  I am nearly never interested in washing and cutting up my own vegetables and am more than happy to pay somebody else to do so.  The fact that they often come with croutons, nacho chips or fried wontons is simply a bonus).

The almonds were easily found in the bulk foods section and the dairy goods were nearly as quick.  The sherpas lagged behind at this point (distracted, no doubt, by the non-rancid yak butter on offer in Freezer Case 22) so  I cut them loose and soldiered on alone with visions of the cereal aisle dancing in my head.  Cereal shopping is something I take seriously.  Amy usually just goes and gets other things while I stand, crippled with indecision, in front of my nemeses.  Today was quick though.  We have honey in the house so I went immediately for the Shreddies and made my way to the cash.

I didn’t get home until 6:30 (stopped to check mail at the old house, drove the backroads) and when I got home, I remembered that I hadn’t washed the dishes that I needed to create the meal.  That took some time and thence to prep.

I don’t know if it’s because I watched a lot of cooking shows or what (I can’t imagine that it was because I don’t recall having done so), but I like to have all my ingredients prepared as per the recipe before I actually begin any combining or heating or anything of that nature.  The concept of doing something as something else boils is totally foreign to me.  Squash was chopped and set aside, ditto for garlic.  I boiled up some noodles (hampered only slightly by the boiling over of the pot and the nearly putting out of the flame underneath it).  If I were to do it over again (unlikely!), I would cook the noodles for less time and the squash for more.  Here is some chatlog from during the cooking:

adam: the fact that the oven keeps going ‘whoomph’ is kind of making me nervous
adam: but then again i’ve never baked here
amy: haha
adam: never ever never ever
amy: slacker
adam: maybe it’s supposed to
adam: hard to say
adam: i don’t know that i ever baked at the old house
adam: i guess pizza
adam: and maybe chicken fingers
amy: what you are hearing is the gas going on and off
adam: yes i figured as much
adam: i just didn’t realize it sounded so apocalyptic
amy: yeah that’s about right

adam: i think i smell the lemon zest
adam: and the yogurt zest
adam: D:

adam: protip: i should not cook
adam: D:
dragon: fire?
adam: nah
adam: it’s just not going to be very good
dragon: gotta hate when that one happens
dragon: 🙁
adam: yeah
adam: oh well
adam: i will cope
adam: or i will die
adam: it’s hard to say at this point
adam: time for some dishes
dragon: hmmm
dragon: should have gone with more cheese
adam: hah
adam: probably should have gone with ‘somebody who knows how to cook’
adam: i think i just blew it on the whole ‘rinsing the noodles’

tac0: did you mess up?
adam: probably
adam: it’s in the oven right now
tac0: ahh
adam: we eat (die) at 8

I figured since the recipe was on my computer screen, I might as well converse whilst cooking.  As it turns out, things worked out pretty well.  I zested a little bit too much of the lemon peel and, since I didn’t put in any olives, the flavour balance was off slightly.  On the whole, it was successful but not really something I would do again.  I’m going to be looking for more non-cheesy recipes over the next little while and I will let you know how they turn out.

how do you do