Comfort and chaos

Cooking is about expression. It is about love. It is about joy, creation, trials and errors.

There are days where all I want is a “sure thing.” A time-proven recipe that I know like the back of my hand. A dish that I enjoy, savor and delight in, each and every time.

There are other days where I want to take risks, test the boundaries and (hopefully) end up with something delicious.

Making this decision basically comes down to the difference between comfort and chaos.

Frankly, sometimes this is a hard choice to make. And, by the end of a draining school week, I’m usually not in the mood to make hard choices.

So, what option does that leave me with? Answer: compromise…

Breakfast: Classic.

Consumed: Whipped banana oats with 1/3 C oats, cinnamon and dash of vanilla all cooked with just less than 2/3 C water. Half of a thinly sliced banana was stirred in at end. One large spoonful of PB also stirred in. Topped with other half of banana and maple syrup.

Lunch: Non-traditional.

Consumed: Deconstructed sandwich, featuring broccoli, lettuce, bbq tofu, marinated onions and a spoonful of hummus. All served with one whole-wheat sandwich thin. A delicious orange, refreshing diet iced tea and (unpictured) dark chocolate on the side.

Snack: Guaranteed.

Consumed: Cup of lightly sweetened shredded wheat and unsweetened vanilla soy milk.

Dinner: The ultimate balance between a tried-and-true dish and a fun, experimental element.

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad

Consumed: Roasted butternut squash, chickpeas and onions with a tahini sauce.

The star of the show was undoubtedly the butternut squash. I first fell in love with the root vegetable last year and cooked with it countless times throughout the winter months.

However, when spring rolled around, the prices on squash went up and the quality went down.

I took it off my shopping list. But, I didn’t take it off my mind.

That’s why when I saw some fantastic, cheap butternut squash at the store last week, I put it in my cart without hesitation.

The only problem was that I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it.

My go-to squash recipe is roasting it and then serving it with Dijon mustard. But, for its season premiere, I wanted to break out the big recipe guns.

So, when I saw Angela’s recipe for Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad, I realized it was meant to be.

I knew that I couldn’t possibly go wrong with butternut squash and chickpeas, but the tahini dressing induced a little skepticism.

I managed to put my hesitation aside and give the recipe a shot.

The verdict: Mostly delicious.

As could be expected, I did love the squash and chickpeas. At first, I even liked elements of the tahini dressing. But, after a few bites, I found myself wanting to replace the tahini dressing with Dijon mustard.

That’s why the experimentation is such an important part of cooking. Even if I don’t love the results, I do learn more about myself, my taste and my reliable techniques.

Friday Fragments: A lot of news has broken about how the claims of some health “superfoods” don’t align with their actual benefits.

First of all, I think the responsibility for this should be shared between marketers and consumers.

Yes, it is wrong for a company to make untrue assertions.

But, it is also ignorant for consumers to believe that a drink, berry of vitamin could be their automatic cure to every disease under the sun.

Instead, my philosophy is pretty similar to what I was talking about in my post: compromise!

Rely mostly on pure classics, such as vegetables, whole grains and fruits. There is also nothing wrong with experimenting with new tastes, such as pomegranate juice or goji berries. But, do this because of taste, not because of medicinal promises.

Questions: In the kitchen, do you prefer experimenting or relying on classics? Do you believe in “superfoods?”



5 responses to “Comfort and chaos

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