Recipes without Structure

Cooking Outside the Lines

The idea behind "Recipe Improv" is to focus on recipe ideas rather than structured recipes. My approach to cooking is to start with ingredients. When I grocery shop, I try to buy seasonal foods (which are typically the more affordably priced), and I plan meals around these ingredients. So recipes are not always an exact fit, which is why I tend to "go rogue" when I cook - not following recipes exactly or not using them at all.

Ironically, I collect (i.e., hoard) recipes. I own dozens of cookbooks, several cooking magazines subscriptions, and collect hundreds of recipes in an online organizer. What can I say. . . I love food. So I love reading about food and looking at photos of food. And Yes, I admit - I'm addicted to food porn. But all of those beautiful, devilishly addictive photos and descriptions of food dishes, are the genesis for many creative ideas. I use recipes to learn how to combine herbs, spices and food ingredients or to hone my cooking skills. I am not a formerly trained cook, so recipes are my inspiration and guide to being a better home cook.

A sample of my cookbook collection. I have many more books and recipes!

A sample of my cookbook collection. I have many more books and recipes!

The Realistic FoodEs recipes and cooking articles will follow this freestyle concept - focusing on ideas and ingredients more than structure. The format of these recipes (original creations or inspirations/adaptations) will be loosely structured to offer substitutions or alternatives in case ingredients are not available to you or you don't have a particular utensil or piece of equipment. And fair warning - I am not very good at measuring ingredients - I tend to "mix in a little of this and a little of that" when I cook. I'll try to be as specific as I can with the my recipes, but please be prepared to see a lot of "more or less" amounts and the like in my original concoctions. Since I am a serial recipe adaptor, I will include links to original recipe(s). So if this freestyle approach is not your style of cooking, you'll have access to the original, more structured recipe formats.

The most effective way to live a Real Food lifestyle is to cook your own dishes and meals. There's just no way around this fact. When you cook, you have complete control over ingredients and, thus, ensure you are eating Real Food. Now I get that cooking may be an intimidating concept for some of you, but I hope the articles posted on this Blog will help ease any barriers you may have to cooking. And as you continue to hone your culinary and cooking skills and build confidence, perhaps you will be inspired and motivated you "go rogue" with your cooking.

 Let's Get Cooking! →