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Send a note and share a memory. I remember great food with great friends and the art of making a meal with love.

Dear Cullen,

I am starting to cook again. Not the cheffing that you used to do (yes I made up that word), but a little minor cooking for myself. Whenever I am in the kitchen I remember all of the "cook-ups" that we used to do on the weekends (o.k., it was you mainly cooking and me sous-cheffing, but I helped and I kept your wine glass full!). I'd give anything to sous-chef for you again CW. Fun times and great food, and I learned a lot about the best tools and techniques and your best tricks for making delicious meals. I loved how you were impressed with my chopping skills, I learned by watching Rachel Ray :-). You were such an amazing cook - I told you that all the time but I really meant it. I gained 10 pounds the first year we were dating because you were showing off your Cullen-ary skills and we both loved to eat! I am still on the never-ending diet but I think cooking helps me not be so sad (or at least I am really sad while I am cooking and then I can calm down enough to eat). There is probably no hope for my waistline and for wearing my ten-year pants any time soon.

I need to write down all of the recipes so I don't forget them, and I can try to figure out how you made everything taste so good and look so easy. You were a really messy cook though, there were a lot of ingredients that wound up on the floor, all over the counter tops, stove and sink, but I didn't mind cleaning up. I especially liked the nights where you cooked AND cleaned up (not sure how I got so lucky, you were the world's best husband). 

Tonight I am starting slowly by making our roasted cauliflower. It is reasonably healthy (other than the Parmesan cheese), and it will go with the chicken from Peter's Market that I have in the freezer. I know you were opposed to freezing anything and hated leftovers (always fresh, Meredith), but the food deliveries that my firm had arranged were so helpful because I didn't need to think about cooking, and I didn't want to think about anything the past few weeks. I don't want to waste the food, Peter's makes really great food FYI - I know we went there for lunch all the time and never had any of the hot food, but it's tasty, you would have loved it (Chicken Milanese and the Prime Rib were my favorites, not to mention the desserts, yikes!). Also, Cullen, most people eat leftovers...just saying.

The baking in the oven took FOREVER. About an hour, but tasted pretty good. I mistakenly used rosemary but I think your recipe actually used thyme. I am thinking this because the rosemary gave a nice flavor but had a woody texture, and I don't remember that from when we used to make this. I also remember how you loved the fresh ingredients, and how you convinced me of the same thing - fresh herbs are better than the dried stuff, fresh Parmesan that you buy and grate yourself is better than the jar of grated cheese (and because you were fancy, Cullen, buying Parm in the cheese shop was best of course), and a jar of really good olive oil makes everything perfect.

Thanks for the lesson CW, love you lots!

M.A. Walsh

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