Off the Cuff in the Kitchen

11802739_157413151257590_5763146328899528843_oWhenever I’m in the kitchen, I love to follow a recipe. I’m a rule-follower at heart, and there’s something about having step-by-step instructions that makes me feel “in control”. And, let’s be honest: when you’ve got pots boiling and the oven cranked up God know’s how many degrees, in control is not a bad feeling to have.

But, even my recipe-loving self isn’t immune to the thrill of a little experimentation. Because the most delicious meals don’t always come from the pages of your favorite cookbook (although my girl Ina has never failed me). Sometimes – actually, most of the time – they come from improvisations, those last-minute ‘aha!’ decisions that end up completing the entire dish.

My personal ‘aha!’ moment came this past week. I was in the midst of helping my mom prepare one of our favorite side dishes: spiralized zucchini or “zagetti”. Initially, we were going to stick to our trusted formula, sprinkling the zucchini with lemon juice and chopped herbs, with sliced grape tomatoes as the pièce de resistance. But it was while discussing what to do with the fresh figs (let’s just call it a supermarket impulse buy) left in the fridge that I got a different idea. Why not top the zagetti with sliced figs instead? After doing quick Google search to see if such a culinary combination was wise, it was decided. Tomatoes, out – for now, that is. Figs, 100% in.

   Well, as far as I’m concerned, the figs can stay in for as long as they want. The dish ended up being delicious. The zucchini drenched in lemon and herbs was super light, not to mention the perfect complement to a hearty serving grilled fish. The figs offered a little kick, some sweetness to break up an otherwise standard meal.

I guess you could say the success of the zucchini dish was the boost in confidence I needed: While I haven’t lost my love for recipes (On deck for this week? Some grilled eggplant fare curtesy of With Food and Love.), I’m definitely looking to get more experimental in the kitchen. I mean, all the thinking I do about food, I might as well be productive and come up with some ideas of my own now and then, right?

Do you like to experiment in the kitchen too?


P.S. This isn’t the first time I’ve abandoned the “rules.” Check out my adventure in sartorial guidelines here.

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