There’s something you should know about me. I like to live dangerously. That’s right; I’m the kind of girl who toys recklessly with recipes’ hearts, tossing aside ingredients and cooking times like so much confetti. This drives Trent wild, and not in the good way. He likes to follow recipes precisely, and I have a hard time convincing him that my substitutions and fiddlings are good ideas.
He’s often right. If consistency is your goal, then messing around with tried and true formulas is not a good idea. But if you live for the highs of surprising flavor combinations and don’t mind sinking down into the scorched, bland, over-seasoned lows of culinary failures, then experimentation can be your friend.
Tonight, my approach won out. We’d planned to do something with our acorn squash, some of our greens, a can of garbanzos, and maybe some potatoes. When I came home and opened my google reader, however, I found a recipe for vegetarian molé from Michelle at Find Your Balance. It could be adapted to fit nearly everything we were thinking of cooking tonight. Sign from the google gods? Clearly!
Of course, we didn’t have pinto beans. Or delicata squash. Or kale or canned tomatoes or regular almonds. We did have garbanzos, not quite enough acorn squash to make the required 3 cups, swiss chard and celery greens, non-canned tomatoes and tomatillos with some added water, and chocolate-covered almonds from Trader Joe’s. So we made do and came up with this:
And you know what? It was great. Sure, there are things I’ll do differently next time (more squash, no celery [what was I thinking there??], less chocolate, even though we used about 1/3 of what the recipe called for), but I think there will be a next time. And that’s what experimentation is all about: falling in love with things whose existence you hadn’t even dreamed of.
What’s your cooking style? Are you reckless and experimental? Or do you stick to the well-lighted paths of recipes?