CREATIVE COOKING – I DARE YOU!
Experimenting in the kitchen. Sounds dangerous if you’re 4 ½, but in some ways, preschoolers may have a thing or two to teach us.
First of all, they can’t read a recipe. That’s a good thing! Their culinary imaginations aren’t limited to the contents of the 3 x 5 index cards in your inherited recipe box. They use creativity and inspiration rather than following a specified formula. Ingredients might be chosen based on appealing color, scintillating fragrance, or what’s within reach without a step stool.
Have you experimented lately? Do you throw ingredients together with wild abandon or rigidly follow a recipe to the letter?
I admit that experimenting in the kitchen isn’t my forte. Sure, I love to try new things – new recipes – but in the world of being daring and creative in the kitchen, I’d rank much closer to June Cleaver than Julia Child.
Last week, I saw a cooking segment on my favorite Know the Cause syndicated TV program. Doug Kaufmann and Denni Dunham were in the kitchen dishing up a delicious-looking “Un-Green Salad.” It had just a few ingredients but I didn’t hear any specific measures. I ran to my well-worn copy of Eating Your Way to Good Health looking for that specific recipe. But, when I didn’t find it, I didn’t worry. I experimented with the ingredients finding the right balance for my taste. By the way, the basic ingredients for this amazing salad are: cooked (and cooled) red quinoa, chopped red onions, chopped green apples, chopped fresh parsley, toasted pecans, and a simple dressing. I topped my Un-Green Salad with a light grapeseed oil/lemon dressing that’s simply refreshing!
As you can guess, my hint for you today is to try new things in the kitchen. Think of recipes as merely suggestions. How often have you looked at an ingredients list and said something like, “Oh, I can’t make that because I only have dried parsley and not fresh?” Loosen up! Substitute something new. Try tossing together favorite ingredients in a wide variety of flavors and textures. Expand your palate and see what develops!
Need some fresh ideas? When in the kitchen, think like a pre-schooler and loosen up!