In May of 2007, Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, authors of the bestselling Silver Palate cookbooks, participated in a wonderful live chat on Gather while on their book tour for the 25th anniversary edition of The Silver Palate Cookbook. During the chat, my foodie friend and fellow Gather Food Correspondent Sonia asked a very interesting question:
I think that we all tend to read a recipe and then make it our own by adapting it to our tastes or to what is readily available in our areas….at least, that is how I usually cook…. for example, the stuffed tomatoes recipe in the Silver Palate calls for ricotta and spinach…..although ricotta is readily available in our markets in Hawaii, I have a farmer friend with a goat farm just a few miles up the road from me and they make their own chevre……….so that is what I usually use in that recipe…… and I have Malabar spinach in my garden, so that is what I like to use……..
I’m curious, though….when someone tells you they have ‘changed your recipe around,’ does it bother you or are you pleased that you at least gave them a starting point……….?
The reason I ask is because I was told once by someone they had loved my cookbook and then proceeded to tell me how she had changed most of my recipes…..At the time I wasn’t sure how to react….upset that after all that work someone else took them and changed them around to the point they didn’t ressemble mine anymore, or happy that I at least provided a springboard for someone else’s creativity…
And Julee replied:
I really take it as a compliment that someone has made [one of] our recipes and chosen to make it their own….That’s what cooking is all about. I have an insatiable curiousity…and so sometimes I want to make the familiar….sometimes the new!!!
Since I started my food and farm blog, Farmgirl Fare, three years ago, I’ve heard from people all around the world who have made my recipes. I love to hear that they’ve enjoyed them, but I love it even more when they tell me that one of my recipes inspired them to head into the kitchen and create something of their own.
The other day I received this e-mail message from Sarah:
I read your blog regularly, and the other day I was bored at work so I was looking back through your archives. I was intrigued by your broccoli soup with chickpeas. I didn’t follow your recipe at all except for the suggestion of an addition of a can of chickpeas. I had a 2 month old head of cauliflower in my fridge and so I put some onions, garlic, celery, and cauliflower in some broth, cooked it up, added a can of beans, pureed and voila! I did have some pesto on hand so I added a teaspoon of that to the soup and it was amazing. My cat even ate a small bowl of the stuff! Thank you for the inspiration!
So not only did I inspire Sarah to whip up something delicious with that languishing head of cauliflower in her fridge, but I now have a tasty sounding new recipe for cauliflower soup as well!
I can only hope my dear friend Kat feels the same way as Julee and I do, because although I doubt anyone would recognize her Amazing Veggie Salad in either of these recipes, it was the inspiration for their creation. Two things jumped out at me when I read Kat’s original recipe on Gather last year: the intriguing combination of cabbage and spinach, and the addition of cottage cheese, which I’ve been tossing into just about everything for the past couple of years. With those two ideas in mind I simply took her recipe and ran with it. Kat’s version is versatile; she’s done everything from rolled it up in chicken breasts to tossed it on a pizza. Mine might be, too, though I have yet to get past gobbling them up out of a bowl – or straight from the dish in the fridge.
Susan’s Super Veggie Salad #1
Inspired by Kat’s Amazing Veggie Salad – Serves at least one
Not only is this salad amazingly delcious, but it’s also amazingly good for you. Packed with protein, fiber, and all sorts of colorful vegetables – not to mention lowfat and low carb – it’s great to have on hand when you’re starving and in need of an immediate snack. It goes well with all sorts of meats and side dishes and would make a nice change from traditional coleslaw at potluck picnics and parties. But if you decide to keep it all to yourself, there’s no need to worry – the entire batch has less than 1,000 calories, so if you gobble it all up in a day and a half (yes, I’ve actually eaten it for breakfast) there’s no need to feel the least bit guilty.
I had a bumper spring crop of spinach in my kitchen garden last year, and a large majority of it went into batches of this addicting salad. It looks best when served right away, but it tastes best after chilling for a couple of hours. As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients whenever possible. I especially recommend buying organic spinach, as it is in the ‘dirtiest dozen’ on the Environmental Working Group’s list of most contaminated produce.
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
3 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 cups grated carrots (about 4 medium)
4 to 6 large scallions (green onions), chopped
Large handful chopped fresh parsley
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 16-ounce container cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
Several big dashes of white balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives or scallions for garnish
Combine spinach, green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrots, scallions, parsley, and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. Add cottage cheese and mix well. Add vinegar and stir to combine. Sprinkle with onion and garlic powders and mix well. Salt & pepper to taste, adding a little more vinegar if desired. Garnish with chopped chives or scallions.
Susan’s Super Veggie Salad #2
Inspired by Super Veggie Salad #1 – Makes about 8 cups
This past spring I never got around to planting any spinach, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this salad. I simply adapted it to what I had on hand, and that was plenty of homegrown Swiss chard.
This version is crunchier, in part because Swiss chard gives you a bonus veggie – the stalks can be chopped up and used like celery. Choose colorful varieties of Swiss chard such as Pink Lipstick, Canary Yellow, and Orange Fantasia and you’ll have some of the prettiest ‘celery’ around. If you tend to throw out broccoli stems and only use the florets (shame on you!), this is a great place to toss them instead.
4 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves
1 cup chopped Swiss chard stems
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1 or 2 large handfuls chopped broccoli stems
7 or 8 large scallions (green onions), chopped, plus more for garnish
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 16-ounce carton cottage cheese
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine Swiss chard leaves, Swiss chard stems, purple cabbage, scallions, and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. Add cottage cheese and mix well. Add vinegar and stir to combine. Sprinkle with onion and garlic powders and mix well. Salt & pepper to taste, adding a little more vinegar if desired. Garnish with chopped scallions.
So now you can choose from three refreshing summer salads – or take one of our recipes and run with it!
Farmgirl Susan, Food Correspondent:
Susan’s column, “In The Kitchen With Farmgirl Susan,” is featured on GatherEssentials:Food and takes a Less Fuss, More Flavor approach to comfort food, seasonal eating, & organic kitchen gardening. Susan was a cultured California chick who happily turned manure mucking farmgirl and now lives on a 240-acre remote Missouri farm with several dozen sheep, a flock of crazy chickens, four dogs, eight cats, four very entertaining donkeys & one really wellfed farmguy. She shares stories and photos of her crazy country life with 60,000 visitors a month at her award-winning blog, FarmgirlFare.com.
Click here to find all of Susan’s “In The Kitchen With Farmgirl Susan” articles, and click here to join her Gather network or subscribe to her Gather postings. You’ll find Susan and other Food Correspondents plus celebrity chef content and plenty of other foodies at Food.gather.com.
Contents Â© copyright 2008 FarmgirlFare.com.