You see, earlier this Spring, we launched our Meat at Your Door Subscription service where subscribers receive a monthly box of meat goodies accompanied by an exclusive subscriber newsletter containing recipes and cooking tips that make meal planning and preparation easier.
That was all well and good. [As an aside, the subscription boxes have been very well received and new people are joining weekly. We’ve got room for more!]
My predicament was (and still is) that I had to now research and test recipes to develop original content for the monthly newsletter. I knew this would take extra work, and I was totally up for the challenge — but it took on a life of it’s own. Let me explain . . .
I love reading recipes. The research is downright fun and inspiring! But the rubber hit the road when I realized that I could not, in good faith, print a recipe that I hadn’t tried. It just didn’t feel genuine. How would I know if this recipe really works for a weekday family meal unless I verified it for myself? Does it fit my simple, seasonal, and smart cooking strategy AND taste good?
The only sure way to know was to get cooking. Consequently, my family has become the benefactors of my research as I cook my way through potential online content.
My criteria for Simple, Seasonal and Smart recipes are these:
- Simple Ingredients: The recipe must use everyday ingredients that I stock in my pantry. See my Well Stocked Pantry post for details. I won’t go out and buy crazy sauces or spices that won’t get used again.
- Simple Methods: The recipe can’t be too complicated for weekday cooking i.e. simple ingredients and methods that make a meal in an hour or less.
- Seasonal fare: I prefer seasonal cooking — letting what’s in season inspire the menu as those ingredients are usually abundant and well-priced. Cooking with the seasons also adds a cadence to food that I find comforting and motivating. For example, rhubarb is in season right now so I made a chicken dish with a rhubarb cucumber salsa. It tasted so fresh and bright — just like Spring.
- Smart: I search for recipes that multiplies meals. Work smarter not harder is my mantra. For example, a slow cooker chicken dinner one night that uses leftovers the next day in tacos, is a good use of the cook’s time and simplifies life just a little.
- Ingenuity: Of course, I’m largely searching main courses that use meat protein in a clever and creative way. For me, once the main dish is decided the remainder of the meal comes together fairly easily (note: I’m not good at desserts so they seldom happen in our house).
This little cooking project did not stop there. One day, as I was cooking a new recipe, I realized that “Hey! I should be photographing and recording what I’m doing!” We erected a makeshift photo booth in our laundry room where I can quickly photograph finished plates before dinner. I currently find myself on a steep photography learning curve (using my phone camera for extra challenge), alongside expanding my cooking repertoire and honing my blogging skills. Did I bite off more than I can chew (no pun intended)? That’s yet to be determined.
I’ve christened this project “Cook.Every.Day.”
“Cook.Every.Day” resonates with two of our personal philosophies upon which we’ve built Pine View Farms. That is, simple, quality ingredients make scratch meals memorable. And, we believe that sharing food around the table is one of life’s simplest and best pleasures.
The “Cook.Every.Day.” project challenges me to view preparing meals not as a chore, but rather as a an opportunity to share gifts of hospitality and generosity every day with my family and others through food. Who knows where this will go? Maybe my predicament will turn into a blessing after all.
You may have seen posts with the hashtags #cookeveryday, #boldtfamilyeats, #pvfmeats. We invite you to follow along and share your family meals with the #cookeveryday hashtag.