Saturday, January 24, 2009

Who needs a recipe?

In the last week or so, I've come to a realization. I am not a stellar cook, but I knew that already. I've always followed recipes as to-the-letter as possible (while passing on the onions!). Guess what- I don't really need recipes.

I would spend a lot of time searching for the perfect recipe- gluten free, with the ingredients I had on hand, with the taste I was looking for. This week, I made cookies. I don't do a lot of baking anymore, partially because I don't like my oven in my new place. I'm also not home much. Put them together, and the desire to bake is at a minimum. My waistline and my arteries probably aren't complaining...

Baking cookies used to be like therapy for me. In grad school, if I had a big exam or if I was stressed about a project, I would bake cookies. There was something calming about it. I had a kind of rough week this week, so I baked cookies. I really wanted white chocolate chip cranberry cookies. I couldn't find an appropriate recipe. What to do?

I used a chocolate chip cookie recipe, cut in half. I replaced the evil wheat flour with a random mixture of whatever GF flours I had on hand, plus a teaspoon of xanthan gum- the GF baker's best friend. (Now, given the nature of GF flours, this might not always work, but I got lucky). They would have been perfect if not for my weird oven. They were a little too brown on the bottom, but still incredibly yummy. I can't resist them.

Going along with this newly found freedom from recipes, I made soup today. It was definitely a "freezing outside need soup" kind of day. I put in a bunch of stuff I had on hand, according to what sounded good. I ended up with a sort of Italian chicken stew. It hit the spot! I ate this over some gluten free pasta. It was even better the next day.

If memory serves me correctly, it was a combo of:

bite size pieces of cooked chicken breast
frozen spinach
1 can of diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
1 can of great northern white beans
1 can of light kidney beans
chicken broth
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
parmesan cheese to top

My last experiment was a batch of chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. Mmmm. Don't even have a pic of those. I ate them too quickly.

So I guess I'll keep up this whole recipe experimentation thing whenever I can. It's really fun until I emerge from the enormous mess in my teensy kitchen. I wonder what's next...

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