Now, I wouldn’t be so bold as to say I am a good cook. If you put me on the set of one of those reality cooking shows I would stare at the rows of ingredients like a deer in the headlights and then maybe manage to whip together a mediocre salad off the top of my head. I wouldn’t know where to begin when creating a recipe for muffins or cookies or pies from scratch. I don’t know anything about palates or contrasting flavors or any of those things cool people go to culinary school to learn. What I do know is that I am relatively easy to please and my mother was kind enough to instill upon me what I call the “shrug and go” technique. It involves exactly what it implies. When you come upon an ingredient you don’t have or a method you don’t understand you simply shrug and proceed ahead with whatever first pops into your heard. For instance, this evening, I decided to put together a recipe I found for Kelp Noodles and Spicy Peanut Sauce and my inner monologue went something like this:
“I only have one package of noodles instead of two. Ah well, never liked noodles much anyway — more veggies for me! Oh. I don’t have broccoli. Brussel sprouts it is then! What on earth are Enoki mushrooms? Let’s pretend it says button mushrooms. One teaspoon of grated ginger? What if mine is frozen into a solid block formation? Hmm… yes this large chunk I have sawed off will do. Don’t have red curry paste…let’s go with green. Two teaspoons? That’s awfully complicated to measure. I think a small-ish sized glob will be just fine. Hey wait, I don’t have cumin or coriander or chili sauce like I thought. Curry powder? That’s spicy-ish. And cultural. Meh… sound good. Hurrah!”
And I gotta say… it was a pretty darn fine meal. I mean look at it:
Now, truth be told, this method doesn’t work for everything. I once swapped evaporated milk in for condensed milk and the results were not pretty. I probably should have assumed from the names that evaporated would be the exact opposite of condensed… but hey — live and learn! I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe word for word and I’m okay with that. It all tastes fine to me!
P.S. You should totally try this recipe in whichever form works for you — because it’s seriously delicious.