There’s something to be said about a routine or process that can fully envelop all of your focus. It’s almost meditative because your mind is so intent on the task at hand, it temporarily pushes everything else out of sight. That is what cooking sometimes can be for me. Meditative.
When I have the time to do so and I have a fresh recipe I’m excited to test out, I like to go through a little “warm up process” by:
1) reading through ingredients and directions,
2) visualizing the process, and
3) putting together all the needed items and creating a work space for myself (mise en place?)
Then I’ll leisurely take my time to go through and double check each of the cooking steps, while I smile over a each completed one. It’s like my way of fully savoring each morsel of the cooking process and the awe as the food goes through its metamorphosis stages into the final product. [Mind you, that’s when I can allot the time to do so, which most likely falls on a weekend afternoon. Otherwise, there’s also the ‘Let’s-put-that-and-that-together-and-call-it-dinner’ kind of cooking that typically happens on a weeknight.] Though it’s nice to enjoy the final product and get it done with, there’s pleasure and tranquility to be found in going through all those motions in between. Being able to eat and enjoy the food in the end is just a wonderful, delicious BONUS! 🙂
I guess that’s why there’s a cliché for this, “It’s not the destination [that is important], it’s the journey.” So remember to take the time to savor the journey, be in the moment. The destination is added value to another great moment.
[I don’t mean to leave you hanging with that picture of chocolate pot de crème—so yummy in an almost frozen state, by the way. I had found the recipe after browsing on the DashandBella blog written by a Phyllis Grant. It’s a recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson‘s recipe. Phyllis’ adaptation uses Nutella, which makes it extra indulgent.
During a snowy weekend away in Vermont, I did my requisite outdoor activity the day before so I could have a leisure day of cooking and just soak in the view of snowy mountaintops and trees. Though the snow was a bit difficult to drive and/or walk in, it really was a very scenic journey (see picture collage below). So my day of leisure cooking began with an early morning, but an extended wake-up of loping around the gorgeous rental house. I sat in a sunny spot and played a game of Solitaire, afterwards, I set about making a breakfast of juice, coffee, “eggs in a basket” which is eggs cooked into a toast cut out, a mini peanut butter & jelly toast made from the cut out, and clementines. After some walking around the grounds outside, I read through my recipes for and prepped a brine for BBQ chicken wings, and my loose adaptation of a Bon Appétit chocolate stout cake recipe with Nutella whipped cream. The cooking was certainly a fun, though a many-stepped process. It was particularly fun when getting to see AND TASTE those final products!
I was intrigued by the Daily Meal‘s chicken wings recipe because it called for a sauce mixture of mayonnaise, hot sauce, and BBQ sauce after having been brined (hot sauce is already a win in my book, and you add a rich mayo layer?? Yes please!). I hadn’t brined chicken wings before, but the little wing-ette of the wing−the extra bony, wing tip—certainly was very tender and not burnt to a crisp, which was nice as I enjoy gnawing on every piece of the wing. Though if you don’t want to take the extra step, maybe the brining part could be done away with if given a couple hours extra of marinating in the sauce mixture and covering the roasting pan when cooking in the oven.
As for the chocolate stout cake recipe, I’ve always enjoyed complementary flavors and wanted to play with the coffee, dark stout beer, and chocolate flavorings. It certainly was a rich and flavorful cake, but not dense nor heavy, particularly since I switched out the called for chocolate frosting and instead made an ad-hoc Nutella whipped cream.
In the end, lots of tummy-satisfying, great eats from a day of leisure!
Not bad in a day’s work 😉 . Here’s to enjoying more delicious moments. Cheers!]