I picked up a copy of The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones after reading a review by my friend Becky. As many of you know, Mrs. Jones discovered Julia Child and got Mastering the Art of French Cooking published during a time in America when canned food was king.
Mrs. Jones describes the time she spent in Paris eating fabulous food and living by the seat of her pants in order to absorb as much Parisian culture as possible. All of this I love.
The reason I’m bringing this up is that Mrs. Jones mentions an Elizabeth David who was offended when Jones suggested she list ingredients and precise amounts in her cookbook.
“Inconsistencies are inevitable in a cookery book and preferable, I think myself, to absurdities brought about by overzealousness in the matter of literal renderings…I don’t think one does any harm in crediting one’s readers with a little imagination and knowledge of their own,” insisted David.
The more entrenched I’ve become in food blogging, the more loudly the message blares about perfecting recipes so that your readers can trust you. Ok, I totally get that but, for me, the fun of cooking comes in the creativity and in the ability to not follow the recipe and go with your gut.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been elbow deep in a recipe and my taste buds start nudging me. “Hey,” they start to shout, “that doesn’t sound right!” I ignore them and press on, wanting to honor the process of the recipe. And of course they were right, my taste buds that is, if it don’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
That’s not to say there aren’t solid cooks and chefs out there who can consistently be trusted to produce fine recipes. The fact remains we all have different taste buds. So don’t be afraid to play a little. Unless you’re making something ultra-technical, for which there are many wonderful resources out there to come to our aide.
My hope is that when you come to this blog, you leave feeling empowered, inspired, or maybe just hungry. I’m not a chef (although I do hope to someday become one) but I’d like to share with you what tastes good to me and hope that you will use your imaginating powers to please your taste buds.
Mini Shepherd’s Pies
No ingredient list cuz it depends where you are in Leftovember
Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with wax paper, making sure some it hangs over. Press leftover biscuits bits in the bottom of eat tin, you will have to rip them up to do so. Leftover stuffing would work well for this if you don’t have biscuits.
Add some turkey and whatever leftover veggies you have on top of the biscuits. I sauteed up some green beans, mushrooms, and garlic with a little broth. Whatever you have, make sure it has lots of moisture. Gravy would be awesome if you still have some.
Spoon mashed potatoes on top and press down with a fork to get the layers to stick together. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each little pie. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown.
To serve, gently remove pies from the tins by lifting edges of the wax paper. So fancy and so cute. Enjoy!
Cranberry Fruit Salad
No amounts here either. Just cut up some oranges and toss them in a bowl with your leftover cranberry sauce and whipped cream. Retro and heavenly. Enjoy!