Wednesday, January 16, 2008

not just leftovers

Lest you think I've been sitting on my haunches, not cooking or eating since the weekend, please take another look at my Bittman's Pernil post, where I have been adding my creations using the leftover pork roast. Wow! Pork roast is versatile and fun!

I think this is the kind of cooking I love most. Although I enjoy learning classic preparations and techniques, nights when I am cleaning out the fridge and the pantry are a fun-tastic creative challenge for me. To me, this is the best thing about cooking...experimenting with flavors and textures and ways of cooking. I am not intimidated because I'm not following some specific recipe and I am not worrying about wasting expensive ingredients. I'm just taking inventory of what's on the shelves and putting stuff together in ways that seem like good ideas. Sometimes it's not a complete success, but very rarely is this kind of cooking a complete failure.

Check out this post on Ruhlman's Elements of Cooking blog about recipes. I love the recipe example he uses, with directions such as "add a bunch of herbs." The point being, you don't necessarily need a recipe to cook a good meal. Go by taste. Go by feeling. Go by instinct. Don't be afraid to add or subtract. Don't panic if you forgot to by an ingredient. Improvise! Learn! Discover!

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