I love to cook. I also love to eat. Lately, what I cook isn’t always edible.
We spent last night on the boat and I made cheese enchiladas, using my grandmother’s recipe. It’s pretty much fail safe. Her enchiladas were tangy, had texture, and when served, you could distinguish each filled tortilla under its blanket of silky red sauce.
Mine were mushy. The difference? I made mine in a microwave.
I like our boat. I cooked on it for eight months and we survived. But I don’t have an oven and unless I’m making something on the cooktop, I have to rely on the microwave.
My first attempt at baking was unforgettable. I tried corn muffins in individual glass Pyrex dishes. They were black with little spirals of smoke curling out of the tops.
I learned the hard way you can’t cook in a microwave as long as you can in an oven. My pleas to blog readers paid off. I got lots of great tips (and many great recipes).
When I’m not on the boat I have a conventional oven, a large refrigerator, all sorts of utensils, and time. I still struggle. My latest example? Strawberry pie.
Grandson: Did you make this or buy it?
Me: Made it.
Grandson: I can tell.
It didn’t look perfect. It’s filling was runny. But it tasted good. The strawberries were fresh. The whipped cream I squirted on top was awesome. Vanilla ice cream was even better.
When I try to make favorite dishes from memory, I forget I once used a certain product brand that made a subtle difference. My grandmother always used Tillamook cheese in her enchiladas. I tend to get what’s on sale. My mother always checked dates on the cornstarch she used in her fruit pies to make sure it wasn’t expired and the filling thickened properly. I pull the battered cornstarch box out of the cupboard, use it, and shove it back in.
While I love to cook, it’s not my passion. Conscious of time, I sometimes cut corners and settle for something I might have taken more time with in the past. Maybe that’s why all too often my dear husband blurts out, “Well that was a good gut plugger.”
Okay. It’s not the microwave.