Thursday, July 19, 2007

I have a spice rack and I'm not afraid to use it!

We celebrated my daughter's 3rd birthday at our home this past weekend. We had a little family get-together, where just both sets of grandparents, my siblings, my husband's siblings and their kids came over for a swim and BBQ.

The theme for the night was Sponge Bob. It was the perfect way to "brand" our little event, since he "lives in a pineapple, under the sea." My sister, brought the Sponge Bob piñata, one gramma brought jello, the other brought cake and we grilled us up some burgers, or "krabby patties" as Sponge Bob would say.

Everyone had a good time, especially the birthday girl! My husband grilled the food as I cordinated the evening making sure everyone had dinner, drinks, I rounded up the kids so they could all hit the piñata, sing happy birthday, have some cake, etc.

At the end of the night, when it was all over he mentioned that several of our guests asked where we bought the meat for the burgers and if it came prepared, because they were particularly good. I laughed and asked if he told them it was my very own "secret krabby pattie formula"?

The secret is actually what I consider to have been one of the BEST wedding gifts we received, and it's the one gift I use almost on a daily basis - my spice rack! I'm no Rachel Ray by the way, but rumor is I make the best "albondigas" (meatballs soup) in town, amongst other meals, if I may proudly add.

I've had a lot of fun experimenting with different herbs and teaching myself a few tricks here and there. I don't read much about cooking, my mother and I never got along in the kitchen which led me to avoid all premises as she prepared our meals when I was growing up, and I don't even own any cookbooks. But I remember the joy I felt when I opened this particular wedding gift. I smelled each and every single herb and spice, placed it on my kitchen counter and have basically followed my instincts when adding these to any meats, fish or poultry ever since. Also, if I happen to eat something I really like at someone else's house, I let them know and everyone is usually always happy to share their little cooking secrets. I think the fact that I'm a designer also helps me in the kitchen. I always feel the need to be creative with my meals as well and I pay a lot of attention to color.

So what was the secret ingredient in the yummy hamburgers we ejoyed this past weekend? Mint. Yes, I crushed dried mint leaves (fresh mint leaves would have been my first choice, but I didn't have any) and worked them into the patties, then I carefully sliced half an onion and layered the thin slices in between the patties a few hours before throwing them on the grill. That, plus a little Lawry's Seasoned Salt, a little pepper, and there you go! No biggie, no hassle, and as we say in my home, they were "malicious"! (It's not a typo, in my home "malicious" means "delicious" simply because it rhymes and it's just more fun to say it this way!)

So for all of you brides or grooms who are nervous about not having much cooking experience - don't worry! You won't starve. You'll figure it out on your own, but in case you don't, you can always sign up for a couples' cooking class. Wouldn't that be fun?

On a personal note, I hope to one day create and publish a little recipe book for my daughter of all her favorite meals. I'm talking about one of those customized hard cover books from Heritage Makers, where I can upload my own pictures, write my own stories and publish one book for under $50. Not a bad deal at all for a keepsake that can be passed on from one generation from the next.

I have another new favorite wedding gift that I recently discovered, but that deserves its own blog entry! Until then, have a flavorful day everyone!

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