We finally made it back, begrudgingly, to East Lansing and decided to make a meal for the family.  Kate’s brother came back from college, her grandmother came over with her apple pie and we cooked with her mom for the rest of the meal. While we were up at the cottage, we flipped through some of my food magazines for recipes in order to create a list of ingredients for Sunday’s dinner, as well as to give her mom a headstart should we get a late start on the day.  This is exactly what happened, as it’s never easy to leave paradise.

The menu we picked came from Bon Appetit Magazine, and most of the recipes were not followed line by line, but rather our own “interpretations” of them.  One of the great things about cooking is the latitude you have to make the foundation of a recipe your own, as well as to simply adapt a few things to whatever it is you have in your cupboard.  The meat had to go in two different pots and we didn’t strain the sauce, we used white wine vinegar instead of champagne and on and on.

Cooking, at its core, is about sustenance.  No one wakes up and says, “Today I’m only going to eat if it tastes good.” Eating is, and always will be, first and foremost an exercise of necessity. You make a decision to make the ingredients you have on hand taste good.  That’s where the fun of cooking comes in— more salt here, 2 tomatoes instead of 4, etc.  It’s all about making the recipe work for you and your tastes.  To finally put a end to this rant, this food tasted fantastic and was perfect for the meal we set out to have.

I’m not going to print the recipes we used, I’ll just provide links below.  But I also am not going to go into detail about what we changed, as it’s an opportunity to make a family meal your own, with the help of some recipe guard rails.  The one recipe not here is Rose Baker’s apple pie, as she can’t give it to me because she “just knows”.  She gets a firm apple and sugars them based on how they taste, but that’s as much as I got out of her, so stay tuned for that as I keep prying.

Cauliflower Soup with Chive Oil and Rye Crostini

Brussels Sprouts with Walnut Vinaigrette

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Cranberry Cobbler Cocktail