June 11, 2013

The Method to Our Madness

If you're a regular reader of our blog, you may have noticed a slight change to our format.  We are still receiving bi-weekly CSA shares, but we have decided to move away from our initial format.  We felt that having to consistently post immediately after cooking and eating was a bit tiresome.  With our new format, we have a little more flexibility with our cooking and blogging, making it much more enjoyable for everyone.  We'll continue to identify items from our share, and bring you creative, tasty ideas for you to try at home.

You may have also noticed that we don't typically include exact recipes for most of our dishes.  We may reference/link to a specific recipe, but we usually make some tweaks, and put our own spin on it.  Here's why...

One of the reasons I love cooking so much is because it's a creative outlet.  I think it comes from watching my mom in the kitchen.  She rarely used recipes unless she was trying out a new dish.  And as an adult, whenever I'd ask for a particular recipe, she'd honestly tell me she didn't have one, but she'd do her best to either make one up for me, or at least figure out the ratio of ingredients needed.  So in my attempts to make her recipes, I tried to follow the ratios, pouring and tasting, mixing a little of this and a little of that, until it tasted right. 

I've carried that into my own cooking as well.  Recipes are great jumping off points, especially if you're new to cooking.  You can see what flavor combinations work well together, and figure out what flavors you enjoy.  Or I think back to restaurant meals I've enjoyed, and the flavor combinations those chefs used, and try to recreate them at home.  The best part is that while you're cooking, you can, and should, taste along the way.  If it doesn't taste the way you want it to, you can change it.  If you don't have a particular ingredient on hand, find a substitute.  I find that you have so much more freedom when it comes to cooking, as opposed to baking, where precision is key.  Justin always says that quality ingredients are critical to the outcome more than following the recipe, so if you can afford it, don't skimp on ingredients.

If you haven't spent much time in the kitchen, and feel a bit intimidated by all those cooking shows on tv, don't.  You need to start somewhere, and it's as simple as following directions, which most of us should be able to do.  Justin tells the story of the time he made a London broil and crème brûlée, and that was meal that peaked his interest in cooking and inspired him to continue trying to make new dishes.  You don't have to be that ambitious right off the bat.  Start with the basics, and once you've mastered those, try some slightly harder techniques.  Before you know it, you'll be improvising and creating your own delicious recipes!

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