06 September 2011

Rainbow Cooking


When I was little, I really loved hanging out with my mom and grandmother in the kitchen, watching and helping them when gossiped, prepped and cooked. My grandmother was a queen with dough, hand making dumplings, noodles and  fried scallion pancakes to my big little belly's delight. My mom never really enjoyed cooking, but she knew what was supposed to go with what, when something was ready, how things should taste. She made fantastic Chinese braised pork and zha jiang mian. Though they both occasionally looked at a recipe from the newspaper, they never relied on them and could cook everything from memory - tasting a bit here, tweaking a bit there.

This was a talent I never truly learned myself. For as long as I could read a recipe or eat for myself, I always loved trying new foods, new recipes. Growing up in the States and eating Chinese food for every home meal made me feel like branching out and learning to cook things that were not Chinese - so through high school, my parents often played my guinea pigs as I've explored my culinary curiosity, subjecting them to loads of cookbook-derived good stuff, but also unrisen hard-as-a-rock rosemary bread, chicken with canned peaches, the $100 wok-fried paella.

IMG_7950 IMG_7942

BF now is a home-grown southern boy, and likes literally nothing better than meat and potatoes. Beef fried rice is considered exotic to him. He won't eat fish unless it is deep fried. His idea of a salad is lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and Thousand Island dressing, that's it. He grew up with vegetables either coming from a can or cooked within an inch of their lives. This is all to say that my current cooking repertoire has been limited to seeing what things I can try that he will also be willing to eat.

What's been good about dealing with BF is that once I have found something we both like, I make sure to keep the recipe and save it for future re-use. I'm less afraid to play with it, as long as I don't go introducing crazy new flavors. Thanks to this, I do finally have some recipes that I know how to make by taste, from memory. Though they aren't my grandmother's dumplings, they are mine and work for me now - like the Texas spaghetti, green chile chicken enchiladas, roasted shrimp cocktail. Now I just need to give my grandmother a call and figure out how she makes her scallion pancakes!

Do you have any go-to recipes that you can always rely on? Wanna share a link to them in the comments below? Are you a stringent follower of recipes or like to cook on the fly?


Dress: Floreat by Anthro chromatic canvas (worn here - sim-ish here, B&W here)
Sweater: Banana Republic ballet-neck (sim here, cashmere here)
Belt: J. Crew piped glitter (sim luxe here, here)
Necklace: Anthro nueva granada (sim here)
Shoes: Seychelles via Anthro raines aka ring in the new year (worn here - sim here, luxe here)


  1. The skirt is beautiful--bright and cheerful!

  2. What a fun skirt, Lisa! My go-to recipe is spaghetti sauce and meatballs in crock pot. Can't really mess it up! lol

  3. I love how you layered over your dress Lisa - genius and a look I'm really loving lately!
    I totally cook on the fly. I have some standing recipes from my mom that I always go back to, but I am hardly the chef she is!

  4. I love the sweater layered with the dress such a fun twist! I am not an amazing cook but I usually stick to a handful of things. I hardly ever use or follow a recipe I just make everything to taste (unless baking of course) I make stri fry, risotto, taco soup, chili, bagel sandwiches, and crepes alot!

  5. Those shoes are quite interesting!! Me likey!!

    My mother and aunts are great cooks, but my mother was so busy trying to take care of everything when I was younger that she never bothered to teach me how to cook. I can manage simple things like spaghetti and whatever else that I can throw some seasoning on and put in an oven, but anything else I follow through strict recipe. I haven't mastered the kitchen to the point where I can get creative and divulge from the steps given. I think that's why I prefer to bake.

  6. Those pancakes and dumplings sound exactly what my grandmothers and mother make. I love my mom's cooking - she never uses a recipe, just lots of love I guess. I don't hate cooking but I am not very good at it. Luckily the hubs didn't marry me for my culinary skills.

    I love how you styled this dress - I will be stealing this idea soon...

  7. Mmmmm that chinese fare sounds amazing! I have the same history, except with Italian food, so now I enjoy cooking various asian dishes to experiment! My favorite is actually an indian dish called chicken Saag which is pretty easy to make, delicious, and super healthy :)

  8. I totally feel you! My bf is the same way AND he won't eat tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, or basically any vegetable. I know right???? Who doesn't like potatoes???? Needless to say, this makes our dinners fairly routine and boring. But I am like you also in that my mom, sister and grandmothers can all cook from imagination and/or memory. Meanwhile, I need exact measurements or I screw it all up. I wish I could make up an entree from the top of my head. Maybe in my next life I guess . . .

    I love your pretty rainbow skirt and necklace! Lookin good lady!

  9. Bacon quiche tarts are so easy to make... http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bacon-quiche-tarts/detail.aspx

    I am a recipe kind of girl. My husband likes to cook on the fly. We'll joke about Iron Chef challenges when he takes whatever's in the fridge and whips up something delicious.

  10. I LOVE the skirt and necklace!!!!

    Lee x

  11. My go to recipe (OK, it's really one of 3 things I can make consistently) is my One-Pan Frittata.

    In one greased deep backing pan, roast chopped up potato chunks, seasoned with at least 3 herbs (from pantry, my faves are rosemary, sage and thyme, plus salt and pepper) for 10 minutes, then add chopped up peppers and onions, also seasoned, roast for another 10 minutes, then add beaten egg mixture till everything is covered halfway (which usually takes at least 12 extra large eggs), bake the whole lot up for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve with tossed salad. Easy brunch bake-up if you do all the chopping the night before. ;)

  12. I love to cook and try new things, but I have 4 kids and most of our days are busy, so experimenting is usually saved for the weekend. My go to is Chicken Teriyaki in the crock pot, Roasted Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Porkchops on the grill.

  13. I love your 'dress as a skirt'! It's so pretty.

    I have some standard recipes under my belt, and things I like, but what I really wish is that I picked up more from my grandparents. There are loads of things that they always made that I never really thought to learn, because I knew I wasn't making them. Now that they've all stopped cooking, we'd really like to know what made my Grandi's Irish soda bread so delicious and my other Poppop's roast chicken fall off the bone.

  14. LOVE the way you layered over this dress and I'm putting the idea in my "steal soon" pile for after the bebe! You look amazing! I can only cook from a recipe (which yeilds yummy results!) but my mom is amazing at just throwing dishes together - too bad I didn't get that gene!

  15. I love this salsa recipe and use it anytime I want to spice up steak or chicken wraps:

    It's super easy but a lot of chopping. I also fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants when I cook. If I don't have an ingredient on hand I omit it. Usually it doesn't do any harm.

  16. I really like how you styled that dress today...it looks super cute on you and it really makes it look like a completeley different piece of clothing! You rocked it! =)

  17. That dress is so fun!! I love how you styled it with the sweater & necklace. You're adorable!

  18. I love that necklace with that collar popping out! Very chic!
    I look up a few recipes for a certain dish and then usually blend the parts that I like together to form my own meals. The BF over here is addicted to beef and onions, so I try to branch out into other food groups. haha

  19. Love this outfit and will be recreating a similar look for fall! I really like your necklace it adds and extra wow factor to the outfit!

    My favorite go-to dishes are spaghetti or baked ziti and check out Cooking Light magazine or website. They have GREAT recipes!

  20. Wow you made me so hungry with this post!

    I am not a great cook but I can do some pretty decent basics. That said, I make a really delicious marinara. Not a drop of Italian blood, but somehow I figured it out and can even do variations that work.

    I love those shoes!

  21. My husband is similarly picky, so I've just resigned myself to the fact that sometimes we're going to have to cook separate dinners. I do have a few easy recipes we both love (chili, tacos, a couple casseroles), so at least we have SOME common ground.

  22. This is really one of the most awesome stylings I've seen of this dress as of yet. Looks like separates! Love it. Thankfully my man will eat just about anything. I wish I had as much interest in cooking as fashion....


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