I’ve never been one for following recipes. I see them more as guidelines or suggestions. I look through recipes in cooking magazines, not so that I can cut them out and follow them, but merely for ideas and inspiration. I realize that recipes certainly do have a purpose, but rarely do I limit myself to one. Of course when baking you can’t get quite as creative. I don’t suggest throwing in a tablespoon of baking soda instead of a teaspoon of baking powder when baking cookies; it is unlikely the results would become a family favorite, in fact it might be rather disastrous.
As far as flavors and seasonings I see nothing wrong with adding a little extra of something here or there. Recipes are not perfect, if you read a recipe and think hmmm “(insert random delicious ingredient) would be good in this” by all means add some! Heck, half the time I don’t even base my cooking off of a recipe. I just throw in an array of ingredients, taste it and repeat the process until the results are to my liking.
Another thing I don’t like about following recipes precisely is often I don’t have all the ingredients for a recipes on hand. If I want to make French toast for breakfast, I want it now! Not next week once I’ve gone to grocery and gathered all the required ingredients.
Anyway, on the trip to Whole Foods the other day I had picked up some 100% whole wheat organic pasta. For lunch yesterday I decided to cook some. What goes well with pasta? Veggies of course!
I began by steaming some fresh broccoli and some frozen edamame beans in the microwave for about 2 minutes (I just put them in a bowl added a little water and pressed some plastic wrap tightly across the top). I then tossed the broccoli and edamame into a saute pan with some tomatoes, lemon juice, lots of red pepper flakes and fresh garlic.
At This point I added in some Herbes De Provence, black pepper, and olive oil and let the mix continue to cook.
At this time, the pasta was cooked so I tossed that in.
It still wasn’t as flavorful as I would have liked so I added in more red pepper flakes, some garlic powder (yes fresh garlic and powered garlic in one dish) and some dried parsley. Wow this was delicious! Who ever said healthy food is bland I beg to differ! Seriously this was the perfect blend of veggies and pasta, not lacking protein either (edamame beans have 11 grams of protein per serving, a serving of whole wheat pasta has about 7 and I’m sure the broccoli has a little protein too). So flavorful and yummy!
What is your opinion: are you a strict recipe follower or do you look at them more as suggestions/guidelines? When you don’t have an ingredient on hand do you improvise or wait until you can get the exact ingredients? I look forward to reading your response!