Foodie on the Half Shell: Cooking for loved ones

Fall is my birthday season, and I turned 21. It is like the missing piece to my being a real food and drink connoisseur has been put into place. Fall rocks for so many different reasons–those mainly having to do with food. On my birthday, my family takes me out to one of my favorite restaurants, and I get to eat (and drink) all of my favorite things.

It is also party season, and all of the goodies come out to play such as warm dips, candy, nachos, baked goods with cute Halloween sprinkles, and hot cider. The goodies are pretty much impossible to ignore, and thus far I have had at least one piece of candy a day since two weeks ago…oops. Candy isn’t even that good, but when Kit Kats are just sitting out, how am I not suppose to snack on them?

For my birthday, my partner made me an amazing dinner as a surprise for me. I had no idea what he was making, but I wasn’t expecting anything too fancy. His specialty is French toast, so I was prepared to eat some breakfast for dinner. That being said, I was still rooting for a serious dinner, so I handed him one of my favorite cookbooks for him to get some great ideas.

The cookbook is actually called “Intercourses,” by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge. Yes, “Intercourses.”

It is a cookbook full of “aphrodisiac” recipes, but that’s not why I love the cookbook so much. The recipes are amazing, aphrodisiac or not. Each recipe comes with it’s own love story that inspired it. I encourage anyone who loves to cook to invest in this book; it is a classic in the cookbook realm.

Photo Credit: Olivia Beals
Photo Credit: Olivia Beals

When I got home, I was so happy and relieved to find a very confident and rather handsome cook in my kitchen. Thick cuts of bright pink salmon were marinating in a honey pepper sauce that ended up being baked; Moroccan couscous had been made already; and there was roasted asparagus.

Before we had even begun to eat dinner, we learned how to shuck oysters, and then we got to enjoy them. Wholey’s Fish Market in the Strip District has great oysters. They look intimidating and a little creepy, but they are fresh and great to eat raw.

The dinner itself was delicious, and the pepper and honey salmon was extremely flavorful. For dessert, Ben went to Priory Bakery in North Side to pick up some delicious cupcakes. The ladies at Priory are awesome and very talented.

Ben isn’t a natural cook, but that’s the cool thing about recipes—you don’t have to be. All cooks start out with a recipe, and that is how they learn what works and what doesn’t.

Ben was daunted by the idea of cooking for me, but following the steps was easy for him. We all like to be cooked for at least once in a while, and if you have a significant other or friend that you want to cook for you, guide them in the right direction by giving them a cookbook or website.

It will be fun for them to decide what to cook, especially if the recipes are intriguing and tasty. They will end up feeling really proud of themselves for what they have accomplished, and your encouraging words and reaction may contribute to them doing it again for you!