I have never been one for following a recipe. I don’t have it in me. It’s the same reason why I am not a carpenter, a quilter, a baker or a scientist. My personality is not one of exactness. I like to get it in the ballpark but don’t worry too much about precision. I like to assert my creativity throughout the process which often leads me to experimenting and diverging away from the blueprint. Lucky for me, the kitchen can be a very forgiving place for this type of approach. An approach that often leads to some amazingly delicious discoveries.
So where do I find my inspiration? I rely heavily on my taste buds and my imagination most days. This process is made easier by harvesting the best of real food from our local coop, our garden and our CSA. Like many families, our weeks are packed full of activities. I make it my goal to be home at 5:00 each day and to have dinner on the table by 6:00. Most days I begin thinking about dinner at 5:01. I open the fridge, scan the bounty and my brain begins to engage my taste buds to determine which combinations would work best together to create a satisfying and healthy meal. Our meals are not fancy but that is what I love most about them. They are simple and real. They don’t require a lot of time or planning and they taste great.
But sometimes I fall into a food rut. I either don’t feel inspired by the ingredients in my fridge or the meal leaves me feeling flat. During these times I need a little boost to get me back on track. These days my go-to for harvesting new ideas is Pinterest.com. Are you familiar with Pinterest? It is a virtual pinboard. It let’s users share images of the things they love online and organize these images into themes. Maybe you’ve heard of it but have resisted yet another online distraction. That’s how I felt at first. Then I created the Two the Root Pinterest boards using our GROW-HARVEST-PREPARE-EAT themes to organize thousands of great ideas.
What I love about Pinterest is that I don’t need to read a list of ingredients or instructions to feel inspired. All I have to do is look at the beautiful food photography and my imagination engages my taste buds and I begin to create my own version of what I see in the picture. This approach works perfectly for my “get-it-in-the-ballpark” disposition.
Here is an example – this picture was posted to Pinterest by Green Lite Bites and can be found on our EAT: SALAD board.
To create this I would prepare garbanzo beans, toss with chopped basil, garlic, cherry tomatoes and green onion. I would splash with olive oil and vinegar. I might throw in chopped chicken, steak or sardines and add add capers or olives. If the garbanzo beans and meat were already cooked and in the fridge it would probably take about 15 minutes to prepare this meal. I would serve it by itself or over mixed greens. I would do my best to make use of the items I already have in my pantry or fridge and I wouldn’t worry about making a special list of obscure ingredients to buy at the store. If you are new to real food then reviewing the list of ingredients might help you in discovering new flavors.
If you are one of those people who wants to connect more intimately with real food but you don’t enjoy following recipes, you feel you need to be a master chef, you feel it takes lots of extra time or that you need a PhD in nutrition, it just isn’t true. If you enjoy experimenting, if you make time to develop and diversify your taste buds, if you know your personal cooking style and if you are willing to let go and tap into your body’s inner food wisdom then you can learn to prepare healthy, nourishing and tasty meals that the entire family will love.
Have you seen us on Pinterest.com? Check us out and let us know what you think.