Just cook! (And help me out…)

I’ve written before about my aspirational cook book problem.

I love the idea of cooking healthy food but I find it all a bit overwhelming.

And now Yoni Freedhoff comes along and validates my feelings. He suggests that maybe we should separate out “cooking” from “healthy.” Certainly for me I tend to bundle cooking in there as part of the complete life change we all dream about. I know, details differ, person to person. In mine my room is always clean, I’m vegan, I only have dessert on special occasions, I’m never behind on writing projects, and I cook a lot of high quality, healthy, delicious food. (Nat’s cooking posts on Facebook make me jealous.)

Here’s Freedhof’s piece, For Beginners, Maybe Cooking Shouldn’t Be “Healthy”

I can also tell you that many of the folks who don’t cook regularly believe that if they were to start doing so, they’d need to be cooking “healthy” foods.

Why sure, cooking especially healthy meals is a nice aspiration, but if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, why not instead focus on cooking meals that while perhaps not incredibly healthy, are meals that you’re confident that you or your family will enjoy?

The goal really is to gain comfort in the kitchen and/or to gain the trust of your family members that you can cook yummy things.

So if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, maybe cutting your cooking teeth on less healthy meals will encourage you to gain the skills and comfort you’ll need to slowly improve your repertoire, and in so doing make the kitchen a room in which you actually enjoy spending time.

Okay. Okay. Maybe I’ll back off from the healthy bit of my cooking aspirations. Scale back a bit and focus on food that I enjoy.

The last new recipe I followed was this: RAS EL HANOUT ROASTED WHOLE CAULIFLOWER. Yummy!

A spiced, whole roasted head of cauliflower


Share your recipes with me. What’s something yummy, vegetarian and easy to make that you recommend to this beginning cook?

6 thoughts on “Just cook! (And help me out…)

  1. Cooking things you enjoy is a great tip! Also buying pre-made things and doing food assembling rather than cooking from scratch is a great way to try new foods. Like pre-made sauces and dry pasta or pre-chopped salads that you add fruit, nuts to.

    When I was first learning to make curries I tried doing everything from scratch. It was overwhelming and the results were disappointing. Now I buy the butter chicken sauce or a curry paste and go from there. I think of curries like a food formula. 1 part protein, 1 part onion family, 2 parts vegetables and a big ole jar of sauce. Served on rice or with store bought naan. So yummy. Easy. And is a great way to use on hand ingredients.

    I post a lot about food because I LOVE FOOD. Hehehehe

  2. I’ve been trying all the mail delivery meal options lately. They all attempt to be healthy and balanced and I’ve found it works really well for my mom and I. It forces me to cook even if I don’t know what to make and haven’t been shopping. It forces me to cook and eat some veggies and other things my usual recipe picking leaves out.

  3. I’m a big fan of “bowls.” They’re my latest go-to. Make a batch of brown rice or farro or cous cous or whatever grain you want. Add a protein to it (chickpeas or black beans or any beans right out of the can and rinsed; tofu done however you want — baked or cubed and fried or just cubed; any other vegan protein); veggies (I like to steam up some rapini or cauliflower or broccoli or zucchini and usually also add spinach cooked or raw); and a sauce of your choice (I often just blend up tahini with water, lemon juice, a bit of soy sauce or salt, some red pepper flakes). Heat it up. Pour on the sauce. Enjoy.

    You can do endless variations. Black beans and fajita-seasoned onions and peppers on rice with salsa and guacamole for a Mexican twist, for example. Pasta and marinara sauce for an Italian twist. All sorts of Asian variations.
    Sometimes I just dump some frank’s red hot or soy sauce or tahini on it and don’t worry about a more elaborate dressing.
    And just google “vegan bowls” for many other options.

    1. Yup, I’m always making a big bowl of quinoa salad: 10 mins to cook quinoa while I simultaneously steam a bunch of different veggies, then all together in a big bowl with perhaps feta cheese or fried tempeh or eggs, plus a quick dressing… add baked veg too if I’ve had the oven on (beetroot or sweet potato especially yummy). So easy, so tasty, & good for lunch the next day too ❤️

  4. My staple root vegetable soup — freezes really well. Perfect winter meal with whatever accompaniment you want (nothing, baguette and cheese, crackers, spinach and goat cheese salad, ….)

    Buy: all the orange and yellow root veggies — carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, acorn squash — + a big onion + a pear or apple.
    1 or 2 containers of veggie stock depending how much soup you want
    2 teaspoons of curry powder
    s + p

    Quarter the squash and roast it face down on a cookie sheet on parchment paper in the oven on 425 until it’s soft.

    After you put the squash in the oven, chop onion roughly and sautee in big giant pot in olive oil until a bit soft. Chop the apple or pear (peel on is okay, no core or seeds) and add it to the sautee mix.

    Meantime peel and chop all of the remaining veggies.

    Toss some of the veggies and the curry power and stir until the curry is sort of absorbed in the onions, fruit and veg. Add the rest of the chopped veg and sautee for a bit. Add a little water if necessary. Cover. When they seem to be saturated with the onion and curry (10 mins or so), stir and add the stock. Simmer until it’s soup, adding the squash when it feels done.

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