I am a rule follower to a fault, I admit it. However, for some reason, when it comes to following recipes I give myself quite a bit of freedom.
As luck would have it, one of my closest friends lives right down the street and is an all star recipe developer!
More than just creating, photographing, writing about food, and launching an awesome meal planning business, she’s a fun running buddy and a great friend!
So, Tina is the master of creating recipes, and I am pretty good at changing things up! We make a fun pair. 🙂
During some long runs and dinner parties, we dreamed up a way to combine forces and do a monthly project together…
Here’s how this will work:
- Tina creates a recipe (& cooks it).
- I use what I have on hand, make some small changes, and cook my version of it.
- You get inspired to follow Tina’s recipe (or any other recipe) loosely and enjoy the process!
For our first project, Tina created a beautiful, flavorful, Eggplant & Mango Soba Noodle Salad. See her recipe here. I picked up a mango at Trader Joe’s, but otherwise I used only ingredients that I had on hand. I tried to stick with the flavors, textures and basic techniques that Tina came up with, but I added my own twists as well.
Recipe substitutions & changes:
1 T. – coconut oil
1 large – eggplant, cut into cubes (I used 1 zucchini, cut into cubes)
8 oz – uncooked soba noodles (I used whole wheat couscous)
1 c. – mango cubes
1/2 – small red onion, sliced
1 c. – fresh basil, chopped (I used parsley)
1 1/2 c. – fresh cilantro, chopped (omitted)
I added 1/2 C dried cherries
1/2 c. – rice vinegar (I used white vinegar)
1 T. – honey
1/2 t. – salt
2 – garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 fresh red chili, minced (I used red pepper flakes)
1 T. -toasted sesame oil (I used a a bit of soy sauce and coconut oil)
Juice & zest of 1 lime
not pictured: white vinegar & sea salt
While my couscous was cooking, I put together the dressing for this dish.
Second, I followed Tina’s instructions for eggplant, but I used zucchini.
Next, I chopped up the mango, parsley, dried cherries, red onion and sauteed zucchini.
After about 10 minutes of prep work this meal was coming together well. I especially loved how colorful it was!
Last, I mixed it all together. And tasted it. 🙂 Yum!
I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but I think that it is easy to get intimidated by even the simplest of recipes. I try to look for the key flavors, textures and techniques, assess what I have on hand, and give myself permission to break the recipe rules.
Cheers to freestyle cookin’!
Be sure to check out Tina’s website: Voeden Kitchen