“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all” ~Harriet van Horne
Before I decided to write a cookbook, I never worked with recipes. I just let inspiration and intuition guide me in the kitchen. It was a real challenge to start writing recipes down as I created. Measuring the amounts of ingredients, explaining things step by step in a comprehensive and easy way, distinguishing between subtle differences, like sea salt versus table for example – it’s a lot of work. It’s been about a year and half that I have been putting my cookbook together and I’m getting really excited to share it with all of you very soon!
Cookbook, or no cookbook, this week, I want to talk to you about free-styling it in the kitchen. Don’t get overly dependent on recipes. If you do, you will become paranoid and possibly paralyzed when you don’t have one. Recipes, in my opinion, are meant as guidelines and sources of inspiration, not indelible laws set in stone. Cookbooks should be just that: inspirational. And they are! With those beautiful, colorful photos and a large variety of meal ideas, you can’t help but get excited about cooking. Is there anything that is more fun?
Also, cookbooks are very helpful when you are learning new ways of cooking: such as vegan. Most of us were not born vegan, and since we all live in a culture of carnism, vegan cooking is something completely new for most of us. This is where a good vegan cookbook comes in handy and I hope mine will be of service to all of you. My goal is to invite you into the bliss of vegan cooking. Stay tuned!
This week, I had a couple of things in my fridge that I had to do something with quickly or they would go bad. I avoid wasting food as much as possible so I am really aware of what needs to be consumed quickly and what can wait. Fresh vegetables have a deadline. I had used some of my mushrooms and kale for other dishes, but had more. Oh what to do?! I decided on a quick quinoa dish. I love quinoa so much, as you all know!
This is how you freestyle: decide on what flavors you want to create and start assembling. For mushrooms, I usually opt for garlic and sea salt, and sometimes when I want a real “meaty” experience, I add steak spice and fennel seeds. This time, I kept things really basic. I heated a little grapeseed oil (perfect for stovetop cooking since it doesn’t denature at high temperatures), added the garlic and then threw in the mushrooms. I sprinkled a little sea salt to make them sweat, and swirled that around for a couple of minutes. Then I threw in my chopped kale. In another pot, I had toasted a cup of quinoa (that means just adding quinoa to a pot and letting it get slightly golden before adding water). I then added a cup and a half of water and let it simmer, covered for about 10-15 minutes, until all the water was absorbed. Easy peasy! Once the veggies were tender, I mixed them into the quinoa, which was completely naked at that point: no sea salt or any seasoning just yet. I taste tested to see what I needed. In fact, a little more salt was required. Lastly, I chopped fresh parsley and green onion for garnish. I also topped it up with some red chili flakes for a little kick.
Oh my yum! No recipe required, just a hungry imagination!
Enjoy the experience of creating in your kitchen. Put some tunes on, turn off your phone and put all your attention and focus into what you are doing. Cooking with presence and all your senses is truly cooking with love! You will notice a significant impact on the meals you create, since energetically, they will absorb your full attention and dedication.
“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.” ~ Julia Child