Took a couple days off work to relax and renew. Of course, about halfway through the first day, I was itching to cook something.
I've got a lot of odds and ends, ingredients-wise, but I'm low on meat, and I don't have all my pantry staples. So, there's a plethora of black beans, squash, brown rice, but not too much chicken, stock, onions, or cheese.
Add that to the fact that I have a ton of hot peppers lying around that I don't know what to do with, and my soups have turned out...interesting, to say the least.
I've had some revelations about my cooking skills & technique during the process.
* I tend to use dairy and fat to cover a multitude of culinary shortcomings.
* There's only so far I can improv. After a certain point, it comes out strange.
* I use a LOT of onions. They are the glue of many of my dishes.
* I try to add too many flavors and textures to a dish, thinking complexity will equal tastiness. It doesn't (I've had this problem for years, actually).
* I have no skill using chilies. I constantly under- or over-estimate how much to add for the spice level.
* I'm not all that resourceful in the kitchen when I don't have my go-to ingredients.
Nothing's been inedible, and, miraculously, the soups have gotten better after they've sat a day or two. To tell the truth, a sprinkle of cardboard Parmesan has helped too (umami: I haz it!)
I'll keep at my vegetarian cooking; It's going to be a long, but necessary road, to do more meatless dishes. I'm bringing out my two best veggie cookbooks for further study. But, for now, if I'm faced with an abundance of veggies and lack of onions or fat, I'm gonna go ahead and make a pasta instead of a soup.
These are old, and will be hard to find. But I highly recommend both of them.
Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
Traditional flavors with a fresh twist. Easy recipes, and a fantastic lighter Mac & cheese.
The Vegetarian Hearth
Don't know what to do with your root veggies? You will after you read this. Lots of simple, tasty recipes which showcase winter's bounty. Bonus: A delightful section on hot alcoholic drinks, like mulled wine, and buttered rum, which are all wonderful and can be scaled up or down as needed.