To be truly inspired in the kitchen, one must learn how to be independent from recipes. When teaching yourself to cook at home, having a well written instructional manual can show you the steps that are significant to the meal’s success, but as you progress in your cooking it’s important to apply these lessons and use your imagination to create your own signature recipes.
The first step to creating a new dish is to build your recipe around one star ingredient. For example, last night I made peach and goat cheese quesadillas, my inspiration consisted of me not wanting to spend any more money at the grocery store and having to put dinner on the table fast. I had so many peaches in my kitchen I didn’t know what to do with them all (I already made a cobbler, ate one every day with my lunch, and gave some to my neighbor) and the only starch in the house was corn tortillas. So, feeling a little adventurous I thought….what the heck, it’s my kitchen, how can I succeed if I don’t even try new things. So, I took my past knowledge of cooking with peaches and paired it with my art of quesadilla making and voila’ I had a successful dinner that made my whole table “ooh” and “aw”.
My second trick is to know what pairs well together, such as rosemary, lemon, and garlic or cumin, ginger,and garlic. The presence of contrasting tastes, like sweet and sour, though considered opposites, actually compliment each other perfectly. When added to a dish for flavor the one enhances the others overall taste. For example, squeezing lemon on lobster or chocolate covered pretzels. However, I must not that if you add too much of the lesser flavor the stronger one will be over powered and negated. Furthermore, adding something sweet, salty, or sour to a recipe with a bitter flavor will cut the bitterness.
The third piece of advise for creating your own recipes relies on your ability to take risks. Just Do It! Sometimes, things turn out delicious and other times its a flop. But hey! At least you tried. Creation takes time and practice. Cookbooks take years to write. A chef must imagine a creative recipe, try it, record what went wrong and right, and then remake it at least two more times to ensure every measurement, instruction, and ingredient is exact. So, put yourself out there and start to experiment. Just open up your refrigerator and cabinets and start putting the different ingredients together.
So, now that I have shared with you three simple steps to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchens. Get in there and start generating different and exciting new meals for your self and your lover/s. You won’t regret it, you might even surprise yourself.
2 tablespoons honey
2 tsp. Lime
pinch of cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup peeled firm peaches (about 2 peaches), sliced
2 tablespoon green onions, sliced
1/2 cup black beans
3 ounces goat cheese, thinly sliced
6 corn tortillas
1 tbsp. canola oil
green onions, basil, or cilantro for garnish
Combine the ingredients and whisk for one minute. Set aside
Combine peaches, black beans, and green onions in a mixing bowl. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange one fourth of cheese and one-fourth of peach mixture over one tortillas in the skillet. Once the cheese begins to melt, top the tortilla with another tortilla and flip it over so the top tortilla is now the bottom tortilla. Cook 2 minutes on both sides or until tortilla is golden and crisp. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadillas into 4 wedges; serve with sauce. Garnish with green onion, basil, or cilantro ribbons.