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.
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.
Although San Francisco received a playful call out for putting broccoli on their pizza, I think one of the best things about pizza is how customizable it is. I used to be a server at a restaurant in Pasadena called The Luggage Room Pizzaria, and it was there I first fell in love with weird pizza toppings. They topped their pizzas with avocados, lemon zest, even a fried egg!
I'll admit it. Sometimes (read: more than I care to admit) I crave the McDonald's sausage mcmuffin. Thankfully I have some self-control, and have not fallen prey to its salty powers as often as I've wanted. While reading my monthly Bon Appétit magazine, I came across their recipe for a breakfast sandwich, with a homemade sausage patty. I couldn't resist trying one for myself.
Spicy beef, tangy goat cheese, sweet fig jam, and earthy arugula all combined in this flavorful burger. This dish is perfect for grilling by the pool, or if you're like me and don't have a yard (or a grill for that matter), it can be easily accomplished on the stove top with a cast iron skillet.