Yes, I said ebullient. I aced my damn SATs, dudes. Every once in a while I'm gonna hit you with one of those fancy words. You'll just have to deal.
Anyway, this conversation somehow wound its way around to meal preparation, something that was not tested on the SATs, and which, therefore, I have failed to master. My telephonic buddy, however, kept coming up with things that I do cook pretty well, and she encouraged me to make a list to boost my culinary confidence.
Which just goes to show that she's been watching daytime talk shows or joined some kind of group therapy or something because she knows darned well that lack of confidence has never been my problem. Nevertheless, this list is for her.
Things I Can Actually Cook Pretty Well or Better
1. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Skillet, grill, even the frakkin iron skillet, I am the queen of the grilled cheese sandwich! They are awesome, and I will make you one any time you like, as long as you don't start giving me a lecture about how you really shouldn't eat it because it's so bad for you. I put carrot sticks on the paper plate, so stop your whining and eat up!
2. Ginger-Soy Sauce Brussel Sprouts. You will love these, I guarantee it. Yes, even if you hate brussel sprouts. My former dean's wife claimed to hate them, but she ate two damn servings of mine which proves that either they are as awesome as I think they are or southern ladies will seriously do anything to be polite. Hmm...
3. Cornbread. And I don't mean from one of those little boxes, either. White cornmeal and just a touch of very sharp cheddar cheese.
4. Guacamole. Thanks to my sister's recipe. It's the only party food I can make, so don't talk to me about seven-layer dips or homemade hummus. It's guacamole and/or a bottle of wine.
5. Cucumber Salad. Sometimes I get a bit of blood in it, but it's worth the occasional maiming.
6. Chocolate Cheesecake. The most elaborate thing I make. I knew that I had become a semi-responsible citizen when I bought my own springform pan and a morter and pestle for grinding up the oreo crumbs.
7. Flavored Scrambled Eggs. Mushrooms? Peppers? Onions? Cheese? I can slice and dice them into a fluffy confection that cannot, unfortunately, be called an omelet even with an omelet pan. But it will taste good.
8. Squash Soup. I like to make soup because no one can tell if you screw up the recipe. Usually. But squash soup with red peppers is amazing. You can use sweet potatoes too. The secret is to nuke the squash in the microwave by poking holes in it like you would to bake a potato. In a microwave. The other secret is not to try to peel the squash as soon as you pull it out of the microwave, as second degree burns are painful and leave scars.
9. Gazpacho. Tomatoes and other veggies put in a blender. You don't even have to heat anything up. That's the kind of recipe I can get behind.
10. Cat Treats. Open can or shake bag. Dump in bowl. You say it's not really cooking? Well, maybe not, but no one, and I repeat no one is as appreciative of my cooking as the cats, and certainly no one else is willing to claw me half to death if a meal is fifteen minutes late. And they've never made fun of me over that broiled cake, either.