This summer, a lot of things changed. One of these things was my relationship with the kitchen. I have learned that I love to cook. No, I'm not an amazing cook. I don't make things that I can't pronounce. But I love the feeling of making something that other people enjoy, or that I enjoy. Adding a little bit of spice or a chunk of butter or an extra green onion because I know that it will turn out all right. Or because I want to take a chance.
I spent time getting hungry, figuring out what I was hungry for and finding recipes to make it. One of these things was stuffed mushrooms.
I love stuffed mushrooms.
The recipe I found called for cream cheese mixed with sauteed garlic, black pepper, parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper.
I tried one of these mushrooms piping hot out of the oven and closed my eyes in delight. The cayenne pepper (which had always scared me before) snuck up on me and beguiled me before gently smacking me in the face. It was an experience I would always remember.
Throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to share this new "specialty." I served these mushrooms as appetizers for the first meal I ever cooked for a guy (which turned out great in spite of all my stress and worry) and also as the entire point of a get-together I had with a friend, which ended in her asking for the recipe.
As I sit here in my dorm room, I picture the minced garlic in the pan, getting faintly brown, the cream cheese, melting into the skillet and absorbing the last of the oil. I think of those mushrooms, finally beginning to look a tiny bit wrinkled.
My love for cooking is like cayenne pepper: it sneaks up on you and pretty soon, you can't live without it.