In the Kitchen

Oh hey! Remember me? I used to blog here sometimes, kind of, on occasion.

It’s been a while.

For whatever reason, I’ve been on a bit of a cooking/make-a-huge-mess-of-the-kitchen streak lately. This isn’t to say that I don’t normally cook, but I’ve been taking the time to try new recipes and put old ones to good use. With a fairly new baby in the house, in the very recent past there were weeks of skipped dinners or making the easiest things possible – cereal, pasta, baked fish sticks – easy stuff to do with very little prep time and still better than take-out, but not exactly stuff you want to live on permanently.

At this point things are starting to evolve and the little one likes to hang out with me in the kitchen and bounce around in her bouncy seat. She can watch me and look out the window at the trees blowing around, one of her favorite pastimes. She isn’t to the point where she’s eating any real food yet, so she doesn’t get to taste any of the things that I’m cooking, but it’s important to me that she learn the value of home cooking. I realize that sounds a bit dorky, but it’s true. And as with most important things, it’s not a value you can instill just by talking about it, it’s in the doing.

I grew up in a home where we ate dinner together as a family, all eight of us if not more, every single night. My mom and grandma did most of the cooking, sometimes assisted in small ways by the rest of us. Dad and Grandpa tended to handle the BBQ-ing and grilling (a skill I’ve still yet to pick up and instead delegate to the husband). When I smell onions cooking, to this day I flash back to waking up from an after-school nap to the smell of dinner in the works in the kitchen. When I hear the sizzle of butter melting I remember my mom or grandma whipping up a million roll-em-ups (crepes) for us on weekend mornings. The kitchen has always been my family’s central hub. And it’s never been all about eating (even though they’re excellent cooks). It’s about spending time together and about the joy you get from feeding others, including any friends or distant family that happen to be around when meals are being served. It’s those memories that I want my daughter to have.

This month (amongst all this cooking, oddly enough) is Ramadan, a month where we fast from all food and drink from dawn to sunset. It’s on the lunar calendar so it shifts a bit each year, but this year it ends up being from around 4:30am-8:30pm. (For those of you worrying, no, babies and children don’t fast.) Over the course of the month, I feel more and more grateful for everything I have – the very basics to the luxuries. I have my family, my health, a roof over our heads, more than enough food and water, a place to cook… so many things that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and a month of fasting helps to put everything back in perspective.

Ramadan also prompts me to plan my cooking a bit more and to put a little more effort into it. For example, when fasting starts at the crack of dawn (literally), you need to make sure you eat a proper meal before that time. I have an impossible time waking up early enough to prepare something decent in the morning, so instead I usually cook the night before. And with my go-to meal, a frittata, I can cook a big one one day and the leftovers will last a week in the fridge: winning. It’s also conveniently high protein and makes use of all the leftover veggies you have in the fridge. Last week that even included some chopped up green beans – not bad.

Here are a few pictures of my most recent frittata and Zahra and I hanging out in the kitchen (recipe can be found here). This particular frittata included kale, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, basil, lots of red onions, a few green onions, salt, pepper, red chili pepper powder, red chili pepper flakes, ground cumin, 7 eggs, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, a little sriracha, and a dash of milk. Next up: Doughnuts!

Photos courtesy of my awesome husband, Ahmed Farooki. (Except for the last one, which is obviously from my iPhone rather than the fancy-shmancy camera.)

2 Responses to “In the Kitchen”

  1. Helen (Mom) says:

    Wow! I love your writing! Yes, the kitchen was always the heart of our home and it always will be! Feed everyone that enters with good food, fun conversation and always love.

  2. DSN says:

    You are probably THE best writer I know!! Shhh don’t tell anyone… Loved the recipe and the pics are amazing!!!

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