Monday, November 15, 2010

Not-so-Top Chef

I like to experiment with cooking.  I'm not very fond of recipes anymore and like to just kind of throw things together.  Those 'black-box' cooking shows are my inspiration.  Hey!  If they can throw sea urchins and parsley root in the blender and make ice cream, why can't I?  This past week, I was using up some stuff in the fridge -  just call it 'white-box cuisine' and making soup and salad - my two favorite food groups.  Not always according to plan, though.

Experiment number 1: Spicy Yam Soup
  Take two yams, dice and throw in the soup pot with a chopped, onion which has been sauteed in olive oil with 4 cloves of garlic.  Add a couple of chopped carrots, however much chopped zucchini you have (or not), a big tablespoon of grated ginger,  some cumin and saute together with onion mixture.  Add about 5 cups of veg. stock, about 1/4 cup of peanut butter - I used chunky.   ** Definitely, the optional part:  I added one whole chipotle pepper  (seeds removed and chopped).  Cook until veg. are soft then whir up with the hand blender.

I love chipotle pepper's smoky heat but this might have been a bit too much - half would have been better.  Adding yogurt to the soup before serving cooled it down.    Really warms the cockles!

Experiment number 2: Pear & Fig Salad
 This is more method than recipe - in a large salad bowl, tear up a head of romaine lettuce.  Add a diced fresh pear, some diced figs (mine weren't fresh but a very soft dried kind), some green chopped green onion.  Splash on olive oil, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup and toss.  Add as much fresh goat cheeses as you like and some toasted pecans.  Yum!

Last night my experiment went a bit sideways.  I had this grand idea of reducing some maple syrup and coating the pecans .  I took my eye off the pan for just a minute and they all started smoking!  Not too charred so we ate them anyway but plain toasted is better as the extra syrup made it way too sweet.

Experiments don't always work but mostly the food is edible.  The photo is another soup but it looks like what I made.  And I like to have a picture of something!

5 comments:

Ginny said...

Wow, it's great that you are one of those people who just kind of know what to throw together, it's taken me over 40 years of recipes to just start this kind of thing!! We love Top Chef! And America's Next Food Network Star. Top Chef has some Top Dessert show on now, which we aren't watching, but they are getting ready to start a new show Top Chef challenging all the best ones from previous shows, like Fabio, and Richard. We saw a preview and I remembered them all. O.K., I know entirely too much about this, don't I? Har har har!!

Mimi said...

Great, hearty, healthy food.
Love the sound of both soup and salad.
I, too, love throwing things in a pot, seeing how they work out. One of my fiascos was adding tomatoes to a creamy veg soup a few years ago- ruined it, but got rid of my garden surplus!

Rudee said...

Yum. It all sounds tasty--even the nuts.

fabricfan said...

I love the black box shows as well. I think my cooking has improved since I started watching them. Right now, I am trying to make crackers, dh says, not ready for company yet.

Joanna said...

Both of these dishes sound delish! I like your approach to cooking very much.

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