Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Other People's Flavors

Because we food bloggers are a generous lot, I've been the recipient of many tasty gifts from friends (and, sometimes, near-strangers). All delicious.
There is a tendency among some of us to follow recipes faithfully. Then there is an awakening when you realize you don't have to use a recipe.
And yet, there is a moment when you realize that following a recipe is just right. Essential. But you might not know this on your own, if you hadn't been the lucky giftee of something fabulous.
I could never have improvised Sam's tomato chutney. Oh my, the flavors were so perfectly balanced. Spicy, sweet, naughty.
We took the liberty of dabbling it over roasted cauliflower. OK. Cooking all done. No need to improvise.
Somebody took care of the recipe.
I just got it hot.


Stacie said...

ok, I have been away too long... I missed "olive me.."! That photo is making me want to drop everything, chip the ice off my car, drive 10 miles to the nearest open grocer and get me some cauliflower. I may have to just stare at the pic some more...

Zoomie said...

Think Carl's Jr - mmm,mmm,mmm,mmm, MMM!_

Sam said...

Ok - that is freaky. I made a cauliflowre curry on Monday. At the end of the cooking it called for two tomatoes, which I didn''t have of course because - well, you know, seasonal issues and so I improvised and added a half a jar of my tomato chutney instead and the result was wonderful. Can you believe we both came to that same conclusion separately and at the same time?

Lannae said...

Cookiecrumb, I read your article on the eatlocalchallenge blog site about trying to make a meal without one local ingredient, and it is nearly impossible now. LOL! I think I am getting to that point. We only have local honey and local dried red peppers for day to day sweet and pepper flavoring, and 1/2 of my dried herbs are local. It is getting to a point where everything I cook has a local component to it.

It is your fault ;-)

alison said...

now that does look tasty and what better use for chutney! i adore cauliflower.

dancingmorganmouse said...

Improv in cooking is part of the fun, except for baking cakes, for that you have to be strict - I sometimes think baking is science, the rest is Jazz!

cookiecrumb said...

Stacie: Probably be easier if I just mailed you a cauliflower!

Zoomie: No! You're spoilin' the mood!

Sam: Too much! Cranky thinks it's perfectly natural that we both came to that conclusion, because your chutney is meant to go on everything.

Lannae: You're welcome! :D

Alison: The two of us at up the whole large head at a single sitting. Gonna get another!

Morgan: I've always called baking science. But you might want to click through on Sam's jazzy recipe and follow it!

Sam said...

BTW - I meant to add - I use recipes a lot as a guide. I rarely follow one without changing it (the chutney included if you read my original post about the experimentations it went through). I have started keeping copious notes of the changes I make and the results. It's fun. But my favourite way of cooking is to whip up a marvellous meal out of a fridge full of apparently nothing.

Dagny said...

I like to think of recipes as a guideline. I am horrible when it comes to exact measures. And yes, this includes baking. But at least with baking, I've learned what my margin of error is. (My grandmother would level the flour in the measuring cup. I don't. If it looks a little lacking, I throw a little extra in.) My family says that this is why I can bake something and it will taste completely different from their results from the same recipe. And they like my version better. I didn't learn until recent years that most folks think of baking as an exact science. I like to think of myself as the rebel baker and I'm not going to change.

And that chutney? I would see it as a challenge to see if you can replicate the flavors on your own.

Rev. Biggles said...

mMmMmM, vegetables. HAhahahHHa.

But seriously folks, love the cauliflower.

Jennifer Maiser said...

I have been slowly savoring that chutney for a couple weeks ago. I hide it when people come over. :)

I practically eat it straight -- my most lazy way to eat it is on crackers by itself.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: I would never accuse you of being a book wonk. What's for supper? :D

Dagny: Thanks for the challenge! Good idea. But I've got the recipe!

Biggles: Well, it can't be yak meat every day.

Jen: Who needs crackers when there are spoons?