June 17, 2010

that's good enough.

For some folks, an afternoon of therapy involves a clinic, or maybe a shoe store. But for me, therapy is most often found in an afternoon cooking and conversing with my mother, in the kitchen of the home I grew up in.

Unlike standard therapeutic practice, I find myself wanting to share with you what happened during this particular session. Mainly because it resulted not just in me becoming much more at peace with the world in general . . . but because my mom and I just might need our own cooking show. Think, Julia Child meets the Three Stooges.

Thankfully, I now know that my aloof kitchen moments, while many of them happen because I have failed to follow directions, do indeed descend from my mother's genetic line.

Neither of us will ever follow a recipe dead-on. The other day, for instance, neither of us knew which recipe we were even attempting to follow; there were three out on the island and, for the most part, we were just looking for measurements. And even that was hairy. We went with three eggs, but didn't measure anything else. If a recipe calls for thyme, we'll throw in parsley. If it calls for squash, you can bet we'll throw in zucchini and—why not!—tomatoes. We kept hearing ourselves repeating one line during the course of the cooking session, whether we were forgetting to blind-bake the pie shell or dumping untold amounts of cheese into our quiche: "Well . . . That's good enough," followed by a hearty laugh.

Our afternoon in the kitchen included, but was not limited to, the following:
• a pastry too small for the pan we'd chosen
• the pouring in of sauteed veggies to the unbaked pie crust, only to ask once it was done, "Should we blind bake the crust?" ...and having the answer be, "Yep."
• the line, "Oh! You're walking around with your timer so you don't forget that the crust is in the oven!"
• the overflow of custard because said pastry was too small for the pan
• and, graciously, an absolutely marvelous end result.

I don't have a recipe for the quiche we made, but I can tell you that it included three sauteed garden squash, one sauteed onion (also from the garden), plenty of Swiss cheese, and a few eggs. I think there was a can of evaporated milk in there too, but I can't be sure.

On the side, we had a matchstick salad of fresh garden vegetables and herbs (squash, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, and tarragon) with a simple vinaigrette.

It was one of the best afternoons I've spent with my mom, and though everything was just "good enough," it all felt perfect in the end. How very wabi-sabi of us!