Dinner in our home can be an effortless affair. I’m kind of crazy into cooking, and hubby is such a good eater, he’s fine with whatever I whip up. Occasionally, Julius commands the reigns, and it’s fun to see what he creates. But it takes time to iron out the inner workings of newly wedded mealtimes, so I thought I’d share a few tips that help make our kitchen a place where love, peace and deliciousness reign supreme.
If my sweetie loves it, I will make it again: When I first began cooking for Julius, he’d complain that he never would get a chance to have a favorite because I rarely made the same thing twice. I still like to experiment, but now, on those nights when I stare into the fridge willing dinner to simply emerge, I am grateful to have a few dishes in my repertoire that are as reliable and winning as toast + butter. What better foundation of said collection than the meals you and your honey love best?
We will adopt a No Vegetable Left Behind policy: Oh the first year of marriage: comforting pasta dishes, Modern Family cocktail hour, jaunts to the Chocolate Room to share a perfect brownie sundae—it’s bliss, but it can make your skinny jeans angry. Our advice: develop a few ways to prepare veggies that are so good, the two of you will be happy to eat them a few times a week. Don’t worry; we have you covered with a recipe to get you started.
Together, we will develop a system: In our home, whoever is doing the cooking is not washing dishes; other couples alternate days or weeks on KP, and some make a few meals on Sunday to last the week. Your approach will depend on how you feel about cooking, work schedules and all of that un-fun stuff, but even a loose arrangement may prevent silly tiffs about meal logistics.
I will learn something new: If even you are bored with your meal before you make it, consider trying a new technique, a new dish, a new spice—something to jazz up your food life; eating with variety not only satiates and develops a curious palate, but it also boosts nutrition. Take a class, buy a cookbook or steal a few moves from a foodie friend who cooks.
If I’m not cooking, I’m not looking: No one likes a backseat driver or a Monday morning quarterback, so do not micromanage your beloved when he is preparing a meal for you, even if you are just trying to help. It is annoying and condescending (or so I’ve been told).Bonus Vow! I will say thank you: There is a pretty much global proverb that goes something like this: Be Grateful. So in the spirit of heeding ancient wisdom, if your spouse puts forth A-level effort and produces a C-quality meal, the loving thing to do is just eat it.
We told you ours, now you tell us yours. What vows or strategies rule your newlywed kitchen?
Kale salad is all the rage these days, and this version is one of my favorites and a crowd pleaser, to boot. Ideally, this dish would be made a few hours before serving so the kale has some time to break down, but you can make it as little as 30 minutes in advance. Leftovers make a delicious lunch.
To make salad, combine juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons grainy mustard (optional) and 1 small clove of pressed garlic in a large bowl. Add 1 bunch of washed and dried thinly sliced kale and toss to coat completely. I prefer lacinato, as pictured above, but other varieties work just as well. To the kale mixture, add 1/4 cup each of chopped kalamata olives and grated hard Italian cheese (such as parmigiano reggiano, grana padano, piave or pecorino romano), a handful of toasted pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again to combine, and enjoy!