I do not know how to cook. When I attempt to bake, I usually end up creating a great big ol’ mess. I would love to learn how to cook better and add some dishes to my repertoire. My parents are coming this Saturday and staying until Sunday mid-day. I think that this would be a great opportunity to attempt some things, especially since I hate going out to eat.
A bit about my parents: They are Russian Jews and like traditional Russian Jew food. When they cook for a company of 5 people, there is enough to serve 50. There is no such thing as too much food for company. Now, I DETEST all Russian food and don’t want to make it in the least, which is fine because they’ve lived here for 20+ years. My mom is a great eater and likes EVERYTHING, though her daily diet veers toward the pre-made and processed. For bfast she likes TJ’s frozen pancakes or French toast, she likes their tuna wraps, she loves meat (usually only eats turkey), eggs, seafood, pasta, savory items in general, yogurt, and when going out to eat suggests, “anything but sandwiches.” All jokes aside, her favorite restaurant really is Olive Garden (they live in the suburbs).My dad is harder. He will not eat poultry of any kind and can’t have red meat for his health. He loves buckwheat, cheese, bread, eggs, potatoes, sauerkraut, and especially chocolate. Neither one drinks alcohol very often, nor do they like spicy things. They definitely don’t keep kosher, but pork is a no-go for the most part.
So, anyway, my idea is to have the following ready for them when they arrive around 11-12 on Saturday:
Salad – Greens, cherry tomatoes, feta, roasted sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and . . . . anything else?
Roasted vegetables – I can actually make this! Baked bell peppers, zucchini, apples, and . . . what else? And seasoned best with what? I usually use olive oil and salt.
Ravioli - ??
Ground turkey for my mom – prepared . . . ???? With rice? With the ravioli and some cheese? My cooking solution is mostly to just add melted cheese to everything.
Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies – favorite easy recipe?? I want to use the Baker Betty 6-ingredient version of oatmeal raisin cookies and sub in chocolate chips for the raisins. My mom is also trying to limit her sugar, so substitutions are welcome.
I will also have lots and lots of fruit, bread, cheese, and some sort of purchased cake. My supermarket of choice is Berkeley Bowl, for any Bay Area folks who are familiar, so any items that you recommend from there are welcome (it’s kind of like a low-priced, super awesome neighborhood Whole Foods with a bakery, deli, incredible produce section, and imported items).
So my specific questions:
1. Any salad additions?
2. Any roasted vegetable additions? Any seasoning recommendations?
3. How the heck do you prepare ravioli well, and how do you season it?
4. What’s an easy, tasty way to prepare ground turkey?
5. Any simple cookie recs that are both mildly healthy and contain chocolate . . . ?
6. What should my dad eat? I am secretly hoping I can fill him up on bread, cheese, and chocolate.
7. And what on earth should they have for breakfast on Sunday? I was thinking a baked French toast casserole made with challah, but maybe that’s too intensive for something they’ve never had before and may not like. I have no idea how to prepare eggs, but maybe they’re my best bet.
Any and all suggestions, tips, musings, and additional food suggestions are welcome! Please keep in mind that things like using a blender and browning butter are completely foreign to me but might me attempted with a good explanation.