I'll admit I'm not the most inventive cook. It's taken time to know what ingredients go together, while also being unique. What has helped me get better and more creative is seasonality. Knowing what is in season every month can help narrow down ingredients that are commonly found together, while still allowing space to come up with new ideas. I know I'm spoiled living in California, where fruits and veggies tend to have longer lives than their midwest counterparts. I like to go to the CUESA site to see what's in season now.
Another tip for building creativity in the kitchen is to start small. For example, this recipe is an open-faced flatbread. It's simple, straightforward, and easy to play around with. My flatbread's toppings are all about spring transitioning into summer. I know it's August, but asparagus has been on super sale almost every week here! I knew I had to do something with it before it's no longer in season. With it is the unbeatable flavor of summer corn. To elevate it a bit and add another flavor and texture, we have a base of greek yogurt with some flavor boosters mixed in.
Near my alma mater, Azusa Pacific University, there is a frozen yogurt shop called 21 Choices. Their frozen yogurt was the creamy kind, almost like soft serve. Although they have 21 different flavors of yogurt, they offer five each day that with toppings pre-mixed into the yogurt, yielding seemingly endless choices in their arsenal. You know it's a good day when one of the choices is their banana-graham-cracker, which tastes very similar to banana bread. I almost always add dark chocolate to it, which they chop from a bar. It gives you these great pieces of varying size throughout your yogurt.
So of course when I set out to make banana bread, I have to have those dark chocolate pieces in there. Mine is a little denser and more cake-like, which I prefer so that you can take it with you as an on-the-go breakfast or snack. It won't be crumbling in your hands as you try to eat it. Banana bread is very easy to make, so this will be quick and fun.
This is one of those "what can I make with all the bits and bobs in my fridge" recipes. I do the same to soups and frittatas. It's the weekend, you've cooked all your weeknight meals, and now you have ends of carrots, three leaves of kale, some cold rice, a potato, etcetera hanging out in your fridge with no purpose. Resist the urge to throw these things away! They can have another life as a frittata, a soup, or in this case, as fried rice.
This might be one of the easiest dinners ever. It can be customized to serve as many or few people as you like, from dinner solo to dinner party. Traditionally, this Middle Eastern dish isn't served on toast, but I think it makes a nice addition. Shakshuka is an extremely versatile dish that can handle the addition of ingredients that might strike your creative fancy, and can be eaten for any meal of the day.
Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic. It usually consists of spaghetti noodles, bacon, eggs, cheese, and black pepper. However, many variations have come out of this simple dish, such as pancetta or guanciale instead of bacon, linguine or fettuccine instead of spaghetti, or the addition of ingredients like peas, onions, or cream; all highly controversial. This one is pretty straightforward and won't have you running to an Italian market for specialty pork or cheese.
I wish I was explaining how to make old fashioned donuts, but I have to admit that they came from a wonderfully normal donut shop in a pink box. But don't these donuts look great with our new layout? I love how the header images are now expanded to fill the window for even better close-up viewing.
This new look also comes with an announcement...
This recipe is super simple, as most smoothie recipes are, so what are you waiting for? No need to be weirded out by having an avocado in your drink. It may seem weird, you may be saying "aren't avocados savory?" Don't worry. It adds a creaminess without imparting an overpowering flavor.