Friday, May 22, 2015

On recipes and my cooking process...

I think I've mentioned before that I'm kind of a cook-by-whim kind of chef. Sometimes people ask me to share recipes with them, and the only reason I might ever be apprehensive about it is because I am terrible at following recipes. So I just go with the flow, and do what feels right, and generally I get something good out of it.

For instance, let me share with you my cooking process for tonight's dinner, which on my plan was listed as artichoke and sunflower patty wraps. Here's how this all is going down.

First, I draft my plans about 4-6 days ahead.  That allows me to do ONE grocery store run a week, and to plan that visit during non-peak hours. I hate shopping on Sunday afternoon. I prefer mid-day Monday or Tuesday.  That also allows me to get excited about my meals well in advance.  I try to plan easy meals (or cook-aheads) on busy evenings, and more extravagant meals on evenings I'll be home. This is very important during the semesters when I teach evening classes.

So, that being said, I source my recipes from a myriad of locations. I have a cookbook buying PROBLEM (but the first step is to admit it, so I'm okay...) and I also get a number of recipes from the inter-web. I also get ideas sometimes, and just try them. The recipe for tonight's dinner was inspired by a recipe featured on (the original is linked here.).  I saw this recipe over a week ago, glanced it over, thought "I like artichokes, I like sunflowers, let's do this!" I gave a very cursory glance at the ingredients list, didn't notice anything crazy, and made a mental note to buy artichokes at the grocery.

Skip ahead to today. What am I making? Oh, yes. So I open the recipe, and take a closer look at the ingredients and directions.  Wait, I needed to pre-cook the rice? Well, that's out the window. I don't want to wait an extra 40 minutes while the rice cooks.

Instead of tossing the whole idea and making something else, I decide to forge ahead and improvise. I have the artichokes by the way, so I might as well. The recipe calls for 2 cups artichoke hearts. I have two cans. So I drain them, and put the hearts in the food processor.***

Now, I need something to stick it together. Let's go. I drain and add a can of cannelini beans, a handful of nutritional yeast, and the rest of the container of oats. Pulse.

Hmmm, I glance at the ingredients and notice that it calls for a number of spices and garlic, and other things that I have deviated too far to worry about. But wait, mustard? Don't let's be silly! Of course I will add some Dijon. As I pull it out of the fridge, I notice the big beautiful bag of kale I bought. Kale. Yes. Kale goes in EVERYTHING. After I squeeze a good amount of mustard into the processor, I add kale. And more kale. And then a little bit more.

Now, some spices. Well, cumin goes in everything. And some sea salt. A little garlic powder. Too bad I'm out of freeze dried dill- that would be great.

Okay. I'm not even looking at this recipe any more. I'm cooking it's bastard child. And it's going to be awesome.  I make patties, 8, because that's divisible by 2. I that's how I roll.  I pop them in the oven at 350, because that's the universal blood type of oven temperatures. I set the timer for 15 minutes, and I check on them then. Ok, they need a little longer. I want to flip them when they start browning a bit. And firming.

Flipped them after 30 minutes, and baked for an additional 20. Then served them on pita thins with arugula and avocado. They were perfect!

*** a note about my food processor: how did I ever live without one, I use mine almost daily. On another note, how did I ever learn to use it? My mom didn't have or use one!

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