I remember once in high school my boyfriend's mother grilling me in her kitchen. I was hanging out, waiting for her son to finish eating dinner or something. "Can you cook?" She asked, while giving me a look. "I can follow a recipe," I told her. "That isn't what I asked," she said, "I asked you if you can cook."
Of course the answer to her question was no. No, I could not cook. I was only fourteen and hadn't much opportunity, need, or desire to prepare a meal fancier than mac-n-cheese or top ramen. I clearly had failed her test, and with one roll of her eyes and shrug of her shoulders she deemed me unfit and unable to adequately care for her deadbeat son.
I shudder to think what would have become of me if she had liked me.
It has taken me many years of cooking for myself and others to come to a point where I can answer that question in the affirmative. Yes, I can cook. Most nights I create two or three-dish meals out of whatever is in the refrigerator and cupboard. It's fun to turn two chicken breasts, a zucchini, half a bag of pasta, a can of tomatoes, a bag of frozen corn, and an onion into a meal even that cold-hearted old woman would have liked.
Yes, I can cook. Thanks for asking.
Tonight I deserted my husband and kids to attend a passion party. Passion parties (and yes, I've been to more than one) are always a little awkward at first. But the hostess quickly dropped the V word, the C word, the P word, and the D word, and before I knew it everybody was laughing and talking about lube like they were old friends.
I spent $157, but that's not my point. My point is that before I went to the passion party, I made a fantastic zucchini torte. I did follow a recipe to make it, but I also strayed from the recipe, which I never would have done when I was fourteen. Or even twenty four.
Attends passion parties. Makes a mean tort. I may not have been a catch at fourteen, but dammit, I sure am one now.
Based on recipe from The Art of Mexican Cooking
Serve with a green salad, french bread with butter, and passion.
1/4 pound unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for baking dish
4 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated
1 cup flour
2/3 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup creme fraiche, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in top part of oven. Butter a 1-quart baking or souffle dish.
- Squeeze the grated zucchini dry in paper towels and set aside.
- Sift the flour with the baking power and salt and set aside.
- Beat the butter until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one.
- Beat in the flour mixture, then stir in the zucchini and sugar.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake until the torte is firm and springy to the touch and golden on top, about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Serve from the dish, smothered with the creme fraiche, if desired.
***Technorati tags: zucchini, Recipes, passion