Something from Nothing.


happy20and20sad20faceEver wonder why some people float through life on a sweet cotton candy cloud and others seem to have their feet stuck in molasses? I’m sure you have the one friend who is always sick, forever upset, and constantly gossiping. Everything that happens to this person is THE WORST and they just can’t believe it has happened to them, again. The world is obviously out to get them. That person is probably a terrible cook.

Much like life cooking reflects your attitude. You get from it what you put in it. You cannot nourish your body or someone else’s with spite and anger. The energy is reflected in the final product. That’s why even if you are not that Debbie downer I described earlier when you do have a terrible, no good, very bad day it’s ten times more likely you will burn something, over salt, or even worse under season to create food that is as blah as you feel.

Lucky for you I have a solution. It’s a little game I like to play called something from nothing. Basically you take random ingredients and try to figure out a way that they can tantalize your taste buds. I like to challenge myself to this game when I am feeling particularly uninspired. Cooking three days in a row for two different clients can sometimes get a bit mundane. Especially cooking for kids who are needless to say not the most adventurous eaters. But it is on those days when I actually surprise myself.

     Today I had this:
cauliflower     A head of cauliflower.

  I normally just roast it with olive oil and salt in a 400-degree oven.

Easy. Done.

roasted-cauliflower-1024x713
Click for recipe!

But it was screaming to become something spectacular. Yes, vegetables talk to me and if you listen they will talk to you too. So I moseyed around the kitchen to see what else wanted to be taken out to play. I found carrots, cilantro, and sumac.

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Carrots can be in eaten in many different ways. Awesome for the Vitamin A and biotin content. Although they are bred all year long, summer and fall are the best seasons for carrots.
cilantro-de
Also called coriander, the leaves have citrus overtones. Very distinct and strong flavor.
whattoeat_lunch_sumac
Tart in flavor, pairs nicely with any dish you may squeeze fresh lemon over.  Used heavily in Middle Eastern cooking.

At first I was going to just cut the carrots into round circles, but that wasn’t fanciful enough for today. Carrot ribbons are whimsical and dainty. I thought the bright orange strips would look awesome next to the bunches of cauliflower. So I used my vegetable peeler to create the long wide strips. Cilantro added great color but also a unique fresh flavor. So I chopped that up and tossed it in the bowl. It’s at this point I feel less like a chef and more like an artist, finding the exact colors and textures to me out of the kitchen and into a daydream.

photo-70The purple flakes of sumac took me to the Mediterranean. As I drizzled olive oil and lemon juice over the bowl I felt the warmth of the sun and saw the depths of crystal clear water. I imagined my clients being very pleased and this awoke a whole new excitement inside of me. I paused for a moment to examine my masterpiece from a distance. The roasted soft cauliflower, spiraled carrots, zesty cilantro, perfectly balanced acidity and salt…but something was missing, the picture wasn’t complete. It needed a crunch; the coarseness of the sand, to finish up my beach scene. I found some cashews and added them in. As I tossed it all together a certain warmth of creation came over me. Running on fumes I had found a light and carried it into this bowl. Upon first taste my vision of the Mediterranean returned and spark reignited.

Creation is the fuel of life. Do not be afraid to take a chance in this glorious process. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you fail. As I did miserably with a kale banana smoothie I made a few days ago which my client described as “pukey”. Fortunately for you if you are reading this blog you most likely have the resources to try over and over again. You don’t have to be a chef to daydream as an artist in the kitchen. Everyone can make something from nothing. Below are a few tips on how to become an artist of your own  in the kitchen.

 How to Make Something from     

gold_nothing

 Nose knows! Use all your senses when gathering items.

Open your mind, daydream.

 Taste everything! Every time you add a new ingredient!

 Harmonize flavors and textures. Sweet with spicy, soft and crunchy.

  Imagine making yourself and others happy through your creation.

  Notice how you each ingredient stands on its own before adding it in.

  Glance online or in magazines for inspiration.

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my life has been a very interesting journey thus far. in my quarter century crisis im and not certain of much except that i love cooking and entertaining, and pleasing people is my passion. (wait that sounded a little funny) i am goofy eccentric, and love to laugh, in fact i often laugh at the most inappropriate times. i place high value in honesty and working hard. i don’t really believe in faking it until you make it, without some base knowledge or some sort of depth to your cause. i believe in making mistakes and trying everything once as long as you bring yourself no harm and no harm to others. i am a new age hippy, my words to live by are freedom, serenity, and love. i look for signs of the world and listen. i do judge, anyone who says they do not is a liar, but i use my judgements against you to reflect back on me to see how i can better myself. i hate constraints of our society, including grammar, punctuation, and recipes. i think fast except when it comes to numbers. the culinary world has always been and shall be my safe haven and outlet. i want to inspire, teach, and learn.

3 thoughts on “Something from Nothing.

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    topic to be really something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I
    will try to get the hang of it!

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