Now let me start off by saying that I am in no way a professional a cook, in truth I usually only cook the staples of the male diet: chicken fingers, sandwiches, and cereal. So, when the idea for this blog was floating around I thought, who better than me to take on the recipes of professionals?
I rarely cook following directions or a recipe, so this was a bit of an experience for me. I decided on the Spaghetti with Shrimp and Arugula recipe found on page 116. I’m not going to lie, this was the first time I had seen arugula and I didn’t even know what I was looking for in the supermarket, until a nice older lady took me out of the baked goods section and into the vegetables. I had originally planned on making the Tuna Meatballs, but who would have thought it was so hard to find “fresh” tuna in the city of Toronto, at 7pm, on a Thursday night? The last time I made spaghetti my kitchen looked like the set of a low budget horror film, sauce everywhere. I made the mistake of wearing a white shirt to cook, and whilst the sauce left a lovely pattern, now seagulls and pigeons chase me down the street whenever I wear it.
The best thing about the spaghetti and shrimp recipe was the fact that you could add any type of vegetable you want. Also, it calls for one small glass of white wine, so that gave me an excuse to buy wine mid-week! To go with the garlic, chilies, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes Mr. Oliver asks for, I decided to add in some red pepper and a small amount of diced onions for a bit of flavour and texture. All the while I was thinking, who am I to add to Jamie Oliver’s recipe? I mean this is the man who has basically cornered the market on cookbooks and revolutionized the idea of a TV host/chef. But no, with all my experience and wisdom I added to a master’s recipe, surely nothing could go wrong…
After everything was prepared, sliced, diced, chopped, and blended, it was time to start cooking. I was really surprised at how calming and fun it was to make this dish. When I had the veggies and shrimp sautéed, the white wine came into play. Since I was having so much fun, I decided on the old “one for you and one for me game” which turned out wonderfully for both the meal and for me! With cooking skills like this, I wondered, how am I still single? I found the hardest part turned out to be combining the pasta with the sauce. I had obviously made too much pasta and it was a bit difficult to get everything to mesh well, but in the end it turned out much better than I could ever have expected. The chilies gave it a great kick and the sun-dried tomatoes were key for overall taste. It was easily, the best cooking experience I have ever had, and definitely will not be the last.
Watch out Jamie Oliver, this kid can cook!