Experimenting with Cooking

It seems that even when you are experienced with cooking a particular food, you can still mess it up. For example, this past weekend I tried cooking brown rice and then mix it with a can of lentils. I have never cooked brown rice before but I apparently failed miserably because I really didn’t like the flavor and texture. I have a feeling that I either over or undercooked the rice. I really have no idea. Anyway, I tossed it. Yeah, I know that I try to eat whatever I cook and I really don’t like wasting food. Unfortunately, the flavor/texture reminded me of a bad food experiment back in college. While I didn’t get sick from the experiment, I did eat it for most of its duration. I distinctly remember hating the food when I ate it. I really did not want to have a repeat of that experience. So yeah I ended up tossing the food that I made. This is the result of me not wanting to return to heavily disliking rice that I cooked because I can actually cook rice that I do enjoy. I have made my own version of Rice-a-Roni’s Spanish Rice and while the seasoning needs a tiny bit more work to get the correct flavors, I really liked the result. So yeah, I really don’t want to go back to awful rice memories. Even so, I will still keep experimenting with food going forward. That is probably best right now.

With everything uncertain, it might seem counter-intuitive to want to experiment with food and what I am eating. However, for me, I can get bored with cooking the same things over and over again. This generally results in me buying one or two extra things at the grocery store to make a new or rarely made dish. Now with shortages and not always being able to get what I would like to at the store, I feel that it is even more important to put a positive spin on having different ingredients than I am used to. For example, earlier I mentioned using a can of lentils. I have never used a can of lentils before. I had originally put on my pickup order at my local grocery store a bag of dried lentils. I am used to cooking with them. However, since I didn’t put any sort of restriction on substitutions for this item, the store supplied me with a can of lentils. I have to admit that I didn’t notice it until I got home because I only looked at the receipt and not the actual bags of food in my trunk. Either way, I kind of liked the ease of using a can of lentils as I didn’t have to wait for it to cook. I also didn’t have to figure out how much water I would need to cook both rice and lentils in the same pot. So I had to experiment with what I had and I gained a learning experience about what my grocery store considers a good substitution for dried lentils.

So with varying availability of regular ingredients and trying to keep sane, I experiment with food. For me this often involves changing the seasoning or combination of ingredients. To be perfectly honest, I have a general set of food that I buy on a regular basis. For me, this includes cans of tomatoes, kidney beans, and other canned food as well as pasta and frozen veggies. Although, I have pretty much given up on getting frozen peppers and onions at the moment. Therefore, I am going back to just buying the fresh veggies and cutting them up myself. Yeah, I really don’t like crying onions. Boo… Oh well. Hopefully soon I can start getting veggies at the farmers market. For me, this tends to be the cheapest place I can buy peppers, when they are in season. They are usually considerably cheaper than the grocery store. I also can’t wait for my own plants to start growing. I am surprised at how much moss is growing in my planters next to the lettuce, spinach, and carrots. Anyway, so I have been experimenting with food and hopefully in the future I will be experimenting with smoothies and frozen desserts made from fruit. What kind of experiments are you making right now? Or are you sticking to well-loved recipes? Are you growing your own produce this year? Please answer below with your comments and thanks for reading.

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