Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spontaneity, It's What's For Dinner

Spontaneity is an amazing thing, especially when it comes to cooking and eating. But, have you ever noticed that even when you try to make something different, it often comes out tasting similar to something else that you made before? I definitely do that. However, the one thing I have learned that used to cause me to do that, and still does sometimes, is the fact that I am familiar with using specific items such as spices, vegetables and proteins. Because I am familiar with using those certain items, I would often only tend to stock those things in my pantry hence the reason I would often cook things that all had a similar flavor. Of course if you also have a genre of food that you are particularly fond of this can cause the same issue. A quick fix to this dilemma is to find a good cookbook that has a variety of recipes that will allow you to cook in your favorite style, but will teach you an array of new things to try.

However, this is also where being spontaneous kicks in. Has there ever been something you have always wanted to try, but you never have? If so why haven’t you? Well, I can tell you one thing it could be is a fear that it will turn out tasting disgusting. Seriously, nobody enjoys eating crummy food. On the other hand, there’s just as good of a chance it will turn out great and you will have learned a new recipe and added a new ingredient to your pantry. Since I have started being more adventuresome with my cooking I have gained allot of confidence and experience in trying new things. I love going to a restaurant and finding something new that I like and figuring out how to make it. The other night I went to La Margarita Express in Downtown Salem, Oregon. I Love cheese enchilada’s and they had this amazing green chili crème sauce instead of the normal mole or green enchilada sauce. My husband Brandon had a chicken breast smothered in a tangy chipotle cream sauce. Well, this got my brain-a-ticking…

A few days later I went to the store with a plan in mind. I was going to make chicken breast in a green chile and tomatillo cream sauce. I had never made anything like it before, but I knew the basic ingredients I needed and just went from there. The more I thought about it, the more things I thought of to add to it. Before I knew it I had a simmering pot of goodness. I made a batch of tortillas and dinner was set. It turned out awesome and I now had a new recipe to add to my collection. Now if you don’t quite know how to make something, another tool I often use is the internet. I just Google a recipe for what I am thinking about and use that as a guideline for the first time or two I make it. Then once you are familiar with the method you can start improvising and making your own recipes from that same idea.

So if you ever find yourself stuck in the monotony of eating the same thing I encourage you to be spontaneous. Think of something you have always wanted to try and go for it. One of my favorite teachers taught me that there is no such thing as a mistake, but rather a learning step. Everything that goes differently than planned only helps you learn how to make it better the next time. So if you find yourself eating a bowl of sludge that was supposed to be soup or a chicken breast that is as dry as jerky, just use it as an example of what you don’t want and start over again. Eventually you will get it right and you will be happy when you do. There is nothing more rewarding than having a full stomach of something delicious that you made. Good luck and good eating!


thewordthatpierces said...

Hehehe Ray, we should cook together some time. :p I AM spontaneity in the kitchen! lol It took me years to follow a recipe, I always just throw random things together until it taste good, which worked cause growing up I never knew what was gonna be in the cupboards. Well bad too, because this is one of the reasons my cooking SUCKED!!! But I learned to make it work in my favor over time. :)

God Bless ~Amy

rico said...

Rachel, I love your blog! Very easy to read and funny and charming and informative. That Mexican dish you spoke of sounded real, real good.
I'm making a meatloaf tonight for my first dinner party in Iowa. I have never made meatloaf before. The recipe won the State Fair in 1995. I know you don't eat meat, so I'll let you know how the mashed potatoes turn out. :)
Keep bloggin'!

rico said...

oh, btw, it's me Eric Hawxby. :)

Rachel Blair said...

Thanks Eric and Amy! Ooh, I would love to hear how your dinner party went Eric! I looove dinner parties!
You seem to forget Amy I know just how you feel - since we lived in the same house. I think that is actually what made me a pretty good cook, because I had to not be afraid to expreeiment with what was in the pantry ;)