Last night was the ultimate test. I was tempted to drop by the grocery store on my lunch break and pick up a few things for dinner. Luckily, I got busy at work and did not have a chance to go. If you have been reading my blog then you’ll know that I am trying to cook more, and use the foods I already have stocked in my fridge and pantry. I have developed a habit of going to the grocery store and not using the foods I buy. I attribute this horrible habit to my indecisive nature. I can say I want spaghetti for dinner, but end up making meatloaf. Seriously, it’s ridiculous, and I’ve wasted way too much money and food because of it.
This is probably one of my favorite sides to make because it combines some of my favorite vegetables. About two years ago, I found this great recipe for a potato and sweet potato gratin and thought it would be perfect for a potluck I was invited to. Logistically, it turned out to be a nightmare. First, potatoes turn a grayish-brown color (become oxidized) if they are not cooked right away (within 15-30 minutes) after being peeled. Also, if you don’t cut the potatoes thinly then they will take forever to cook. The gratin came out okay, but I’m a bit impatient and I knew I had to do something to cut down on the cooking time. I came up with this recipe by accident because I ran out of potatoes, and just used what I had stocked in the fridge. Did I mention it cooks in about 30-45 minutes? That’s right, this dish is table ready in less than an hour. Not too bad when you’re talking about a potato gratin.
No I’m not gonna shave my head, but I immediately thought of this scene from the movie Clueless when I decided on the title of my post. Just like Murray, I gotta keep it real. Although it may appear I cook like a maniac, appearances can be deceiving. I recently sat down and went through my bank statements for 2010 and about 40-50% of my purchases were food related. That breaks down to a ridiculous amount of takeout, lunches from the Deli around the corner, and worst of all fast food. After crunching some numbers I probably ate out on average 3-5 times a week. For me that’s insane! I love to cook! What happened?
I have to admit for many years I was intimidated to make my Mom’s famous macaroni and cheese. She made it so well, I didn’t want to mess it up. Besides, grating tons of cheese by hand, and cooking pounds of elbow macaroni seemed so tedious. In my house, her dish has become a Thanksgiving staple, and is usually the first to go at all of our family events. Yes, it is that good. Finally, when it was my turn to learn how to make my Mom’s legendary mac and cheese, I knew it would be a battle grating all of those special cheeses, and trying to combine all of the ingredients that made it so tasty. I remember she started listing all of the ingredients and in two seconds, she was done. Wait, that’s it?!? You mean you don’t add eggs, or flour? You only use cheddar cheese? I thought there was a lot more involved. She laughed and said, “Gotcha!”