Tales from the Kitchen of a Non-Cook

Editor’s note: Meet Amy Sarisky, an expert foodie but novice chef. She’ll be entertaining us with adventures from inside her non-domestic life and kitchen.

I’ve always been the type of person who is secretly terrified of cooking. Even when I have the simplest of recipes for the most modest of culinary endeavors, I’m convinced that I’m courting disaster when I set foot in the kitchen.

Perhaps it’s the lack of time my mother spent cooking with me tugging at her non-existent apron. Or the failed attempts and small fires that accompanied most of my college-era forays into cookery. Either way, I have long kept my distance from stoves and ovens.

Since I got married a year and a half ago, I’ve been trying to reverse the curse, as it were. Not because of any domestication or the womanly desire to feed my husband, but rather to use all of the awesome stuff I registered for and could never even identify without the aid of Crate & Barrel.

That said, I’m still warming up, but I think I’m getting more comfortable. The CSA is really helping to force me to face my refrigerator and make something, anything, with the bounty of fresh ingredients from the farm.

The second share of the season yielded a load of greens and some great fruit. I had high hopes of doing something exciting with the glorious cherries we received, like making a nifty sauce to drizzle over pork loin like a delectable ruby necklace. But alas, the sight of them washed and stacked in a bowl was too much to resist. Cherries, wolfed down plain.

But the basil I had real plans for: pesto! Pesto seemed simple and tasty enough for me to handle with nary a recipe.

Into the food processor went the basil (which I bruised first in a cathartic flurry of hammering on a cutting board), a handful or so of pine nuts (and are they really as expensive as Fairway makes them out to be? $15 for a bag roughly the size of my fist? Really?), olive oil, shredded Parmesan, black pepper (a standby in anything I make).

With the push of a button, voila! This was exciting.

I cooked up some thin boneless chicken breasts in yet more olive oil and black pepper (just in a frying pan, but I wouldn’t say they were fried. So what is that? Sautéing? No clue.) and some whole wheat pasta. Threw the pasta in the bowl with the chicken resting triumphantly atop a generous dollop of pesto and crowned with a hearty pile of shredded Parmesan and felt that dinner not only looked good, it would actually taste good.

And it was really, truly tasty! The whole process took me about 25 minutes and I felt it was a reasonably healthy affair to boot. Score one for me! — Kitchen of a Non-Cook

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