The whole point of learning how food works is learning the rhythm of food, not specific ingredients. Yes, you can use the recipes Tiffany and I post here, but our hope is that you learn to feel the pulse of food and come to understand how to create one taste with many foods. To get there, you have to be willing to make mistakes. I know I’ve made my share. I’m not afraid to admit it, and anyone who tells you they can’t think of a bad meal they’ve made is either not a real cook or full of shit.
Last night was a good night in our house, food-wise. Our kitchen remodel is on the cusp of completion (and sweet lord, what a great kitchen it is), and ever since the gas company hooked up our cooktop a few weeks ago, I’ve been at it nonstop. Last night was the first time I acquiesced to allow El Cap to grill meat outside. I handed him two marinated top sirloins and told him to have fun.
Of course, grilling steak doesn’t mean you don’t do anything to it other than throw it on the grill. I marinated it for a few hours – olive oil, Adobo Light spices (Yeah, the premixed stuff. Don’t judge me.), Worcestershire, cilantro, and a dash of the green jalapeño pepper sauce Tabasco makes (I would drink that stuff if I could). Then I had to look through the fridge to see what I had to go with it. No real veggies – just one serving of cooked asparagus and some potatoes, but that seemed somehow too much for the night. I wanted something that seemed different without being too much work.
So, while the steak and the grill were doing their thing, I cooked some farro, sliced some fresh mozzarella and chopped half a tomato, and grabbed some chopped scallions from the fridge (if I don’t chop them when I bring them in the house, they just rot in the deep recesses of the Whirlpool). When El Cap brought in the steak and sliced it, had the farro already on the plate. He added the steak, and on top of that I added mozzarella, tomato, and scallion.
Seriously easy stuff – my total contribution (other than watching the farro cook) was about four minutes. The key is knowing that the flavors would work well together. I could have done the same thing with feta and olives instead of mozzarella and tomato, but probably not mozzarella and olives.
So that’s the challenge: Think about what flavors you like. Do you like peppers and onions? Use that as a topping. Good food doesn’t have to be dramatic foods seasoned with things you’ve never heard of before (although it can be).
Sometimes you just have to wing it.