Food as sanity. Food as pleasure. Food as ballast, continuity, novelty. To prep food is to focus. That’s benefit enough, but there’s also how assembling ingredients performs a kind of magic, a magic that is at once artful and one of the most pedestrian domestic chores going. How is that possible?
Furthermore, because we get hungry over and over again, there’s no scrambling for motivation. It’s built in. How great is that?
This year has found me regularly trying out new recipes. Nothing as disciplined as working through a cookbook, but still . . .
Sage and mint from the garden, oregano from the cupboard. I cooked the quinoa with a little saffron. The recipe didn’t call for that but one a few pages later did and I don’t know about you, but I often fudge things that way.
Since I don’t always have some of the more exotic ingredients, I apply a loose standard and that’s fine, since it’s not about perfect replication but rather about stretching my palate and experimenting a little, getting out of my domestic ruts.
For example, this Ottolenghi dish called for Persian dried lime powder and sweet potatoes. I used fresh lime zest for the former and left out the latter. I can see how sweet potato chunks would be a tasty addition, but the salad was PLENTY good without them (see what I did there?)
I gushed over this one in my usual over-the-top way. Oh my god — this one’s restaurant worthy! [Moan] Wow, this is good. Too bad we don’t run a B&B! Served a little bit warm, rice on the toothsome side, the feta adding a luscious creaminess, trust me when I tell you it was outstanding.
A few cherry tomatoes gifted from a friend’s garden added a perfect dash of color and acid, tasting like summer and sunshine.
My husband doesn’t say much (and I guess I gush enough for the both of us), but when he gets up for seconds, his opinion is clear enough.