Ibis Cooks

Spoonbill,

I’m having an identity crisis. All my life I’ve considered myself to be a “loves dinner parties, hates to cook” kind of person. This is why I satisfy my yearning to hostess by inviting people over strictly for drinks. And my boyfriends always have to be good at cooking. And my family worries about what I’m eating. Actually I often found myself worrying too. Something like, “I know I ate today, but I can’t remember preparing any food.” My strategy was to forage in the cupboards and cook whatever looked like the least amount of work. GF pasta with canned tomato sauce? Dinner’s ready! An apple with cheese slices and cold cuts made a nice lunch. More often than not I made eggs for any meal, any time of the day. And, of course, I supplemented my nutrition with frequent meals out in Edmonton’s finest dining establishments (read: a lot of pad thai and salad rolls from the restaurant down the block). So when I decided I wouldn’t dine out for the entire month of March, I wasn’t sure if I’d actually make it thirty-one days without paying someone to feed me. But it turns out that one of my multiple personalities actually LOVES to cook. And bonus! I’m pretty good at it!

This is what I’ve made so far:
– Homemade pad thai (old habits die hard)
– Homemade salad rolls (like I said)
– GF french toast with caramel rum bananas
– Teriyaki orange chicken
– Shrimp salsa
– Fish tacos with homemade guacamole and homemade chipotle mayo

Recipes planned for this week:
– Stuffed red peppers (filled with brown rice, ground turkey, black beans, butternut squash, corn, lime, cilantro)
– Rice pasta with sundried tomatoes, homemade pesto and chicken (again with the old habits, but at least I’m not going to use sauce from a jar)

I know it’s lame for me to note that it’s homemade for half of the things I listed. Like, “Obviously Ibis. You said you were cooking. That means homemade. I get it. Stop saying everything is homemade like you’re Martha effin Stewart.” But I just want to be clear that I’m not cutting corners and buying pre-made stuff and just heating it up or scooping it into a bowl or whatever. I am going through my (surprisingly extensive) collection of cookbooks, selecting recipes, buying the ingredients, turning on the stove, and getting all the pots and pans dirty. I feel like a new woman!

Also, two of those meals have been made for and shared with others, and I want to keep it up. No longer shall I be strictly a boozy party hostess. I made the french toast for brunch with the girls two weekends ago. And this past weekend I made the fish tacos for a very impromptu dinner party. I’d like to say that I’m going to start posting recipes and pictures of food on this blog under a semi-regular feature called “Ibis Cooks,” but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s see if I keep this up into April first. Then maybe I will feel legit enough to detail my kitchen adventures online. Although it certainly looks like this will be a permanent thing. I flip through recipes in the morning now instead of reading my facebook news feed. Shocking.

I obviously have to cook gluten –free, but I’m pretty committed to cooking dairy-free as well. I recently experimented with giving up dairy for a few weeks and then re-introduced it into my diet. The weeks I was dairy-free I suddenly had no more upset tummy, which I had always attributed to not being a strict enough celiac (hard to do when you’re dining out a lot). And when I brought the dairy back in again, those problems re-appeared. Perhaps I am secretly lactose-intolerant in addition to the nut allergy and celiac diagnosis. I’m not sure I can go cold-turkey on the dairy products for life, but I am going to try my best to save it for special occasions only. Example, I had to use milk in the french toast. I toyed with the idea of using almond milk, but I didn’t want to risk a french toast fail when I was feeding other people. But everything else I’ve cooked has been dairy-free and gluten-free. And nut-free. The trifecta.

And sidenote: oh my god I love cilantro. Three of the recipes I’ve cooked already have featured cilantro, and one of the upcoming recipes does too. After our Vietnam trip I knew I was a fan, but now that I’m using it in my own cooking, I’m feeling a bit obsessed. It’s just so good.

In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit that I actually did have a meal out this month. Friday turned into a boozy night out. Around 2am I found myself at Oodle Noodle with Daniel (more on that later). I found myself ordering pad thai. I found myself totally unimpressed with their pad thai. Mine is way better.

Ibis cooks son!

Love,
Ibis

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