Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini

So culinary school is a bust. Not because I don’t want to go, not because I don’t think I can succeed, it’s just FASFA’s fault. Or maybe it’s mine. MONEY. That’s what it is. BUT I have this pillow, you see, that gives me 6 rules for happiness and with my pillow at least I’m happy. Number 5 is “Expect Less.” Maybe I can’t go to culinary school, maybe a Master Chef won’t teach me how to make the perfect flan, maybe hundreds of thousands of accomplished chefs have published books so that people like me can make 5 star restaurant style food at home without culinary school. That’s what this is all about. This is my quest to quench all of my present and future cravings without paying someone else to make it.

I have these ridiculous daydreams that end in my husband and daughter drooling at the thought of my home-cooked version of whatever lack luster dish sits before them. Somehow the hole-in-the-wall pizzeria doesn’t stand a candle to my homemade pizza and, even though it’s the top rated tiramisu in the city (whichever city they happen to be in), it’s just not Jaime’s tiramisu. My favorite tiramisu, since we’re on the topic, comes from Cafe Rustica on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, New York.

In the future, I want to make consistently good food. Seriously, that’s my goal. I want to learn the tricks of the trade so that each dish has the curb appeal, texture, smell and, especially, taste that I meant for it to have. Not everything, or even anything for that matter, needs to be the BEST in the world, but it needs to be good. Good enough for a second bite, good enough sometimes for a second serving, good enough to be satisfying. And I don’t mean satisfying like Oreos and milk after a stressful day or Sour Cream and Onion Lay’s chips when you have the munchies, I mean satisfying like mom’s pumpkin pie from scratch or grandma’s meatloaf dinner and salad complete with homemade vinaigrette or, and this is definitely one of my favs, hot chocolate made with whole milk and the cacao that you have to chop from a block and melt in a saucepan.

Yup, that’s it: consistency. As I’m learning the trade, I know mistakes are to be expected, but my happiness pillow will be there for me when I butcher a recipe. Honestly, in general I like to think that mistakes build character. Mistakes lead to new opportunities for self-improvement. HA! I’m sure I’ll be kicking myself later when I have several entries detailing failed attempts in the kitchen. Oh well. For now, I’m optimistic.

And where does this optimism come from? Success, of course! Tonight I made Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini, recipe courtesy of It was so good that I considered it restaurant quality. Seriously, and I promise to be honest about my dishes. I wouldn’t pay money for every dish I’ve ever made, but I would tonight!

Let’s see where this goes. I have a plan to make one new breakfast, entree, vegetable (we don’t eat enough of these in my apartment), and dessert every week. I’ll do my best to share tips I learn on baking and cooking methods, cite my sources and document both successes and failures…for growing purposes of course. Please keep your destructive criticism to yourself, I’m sensitive.

So, as one of my favorite college professors would say, ánimo y adelante! Here I go!



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