A Nerd Girl's Perspective

My Thoughts on News, Politics, Food, Crafting, Geek Culture, Sociology, and Much More —— Courtney C Horne

Tag: improvised cooking

Build Your Own… Greens

I know for a lot of people kitchen improvisation is intimidating. A friend of mine had an experience during which she tried to improvise cooking carrots. She massively over-seasoned and then started adding all sorts of weird stuff in a desperate bid to salvage them. The result was evidently disgusting but she had cooked all her carrots in the process so she ended up eating them anyways.

The lesson she learned (hopefully) is taste often and you can always add more but you can’t unsalt. But even with that valuable lesson, making things up in the kitchen is something she is terrified of attempting.

I, on the other hand, am a bit of a kitchen maverick. I use recipes on occasion but a lot of what I do is altered or just plain made up. But I can understand why that is not something most people are willing to do. It requires a foundation of understanding the principles of cooking as well as what flavor profiles go together.

Step one to learning to improvise in the kitchen? Watch every episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. My entire foundation in the kitchen came from watching him. Of course, that would take a long time so here is something you can do while you get started.

There are a lot of basic dishes that you can build upon to experiment with different options. One of my favorite basics is greens. And it is a special one for me to give you my basic formula for because I was scared to cook them for years after a disastrous thanksgiving pot of greens.

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Black Eyed Pea Nachos

Late night nachos made from things I happened to have on hand.

1- One per Nacho- Corn chips (scoop variety) – Some were left over from Tony’s birthday party

2- A sprinkling over the bare chips- Onion powder – Which belongs on almost everything

3- A pinch into the bottom of each chip- Sweet & smoky rub  – It’s a seasoning mix with salt, brown sugar, paprika, chipotle, cinnamon, etc. I use it a ton. I especially love it on sweet potatoes and pork chops. I really should make my own mix like it instead of buying it over and over but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

4- One drop on the chip and two drops on each after adding the peas- Sriracha– This is my go to hot sauce, not just for Asian foods.

5- Enough to almost fill the scoop chip- Canned black eyed peas with jalapeno- I used a little jalapeno on each chip along with some black eyed peas.

6- To cover- Fiesta shredded cheese mix- I keep a bag of mixed fiesta shredded cheese in the fridge basically all the time.

Yay. Nachos. I really liked the black eyed peas on them. If I had more chips, I would have made more. I will probably be making them again.