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Are You in a Recipe Rut?

Bacon, butter, cheese and garlic - how long can it last?

Earlier this week, I asked my husband what I should write about for today’s column as I was just plain and lacking inspiration.

“Bacon inspires you,” he said, “Write about how much you love bacon!”

He was right. I love bacon. And when I started thinking about bacon, in addition to all of the other ingredients I love to cook with, I noticed a trend in that I tend to gravitate towards certain ingredients when in the kitchen.

Bacon is a go-to ingredient, as its crunchy, meaty saltiness is the perfect addition to any dish, even .

I’ll even use the leftover rendered fat to slather on a before shoving it into the depths of my oven.

Sometimes I feel guilty about it, but remember how good the bacon fat must be for my hands.

Speaking of slathering, butter is another must-have in my world. I try to avoid using it (and substituting olive oil) during the week, but will easily go through sticks of it each weekend while conjuring up some sort of feast for dinner guests.

Unsalted is best, so I can have an excuse to toss kosher crystals in dishes with wild abandon. Yes, I’m fully aware that this is not the healthiest practice, but if I died tomorrow, I would have NO regrets.

Any sort of pungent, moldy cheese is a staple in my refrigerator’s cheese drawer. Yes, you read correctly - I have a drawer in my fridge filled only with various cheeses. Roquefort, Stilton, Humboldt Fog, Asiago: That’s what’s currently in the icebox, waiting to be melted, sprinkled or sliced. No, I don’t consider this a problem worthy of an intervention.

Members of the allium family are a huge part of my repertoire: garlic, shallots and onions always find a place in my daily ingredient list, and I have no fear of stinky breath. After all, I’m married (celebrating 12 years this Sunday) to a man who eats whatever I put in front of him, so we just stink together.

So what does all of this say about someone? I obviously like fatty, salty, savory, stinky foods, and use them in various combinations to make my dishes delicious. But how long can this last? I’m already bored just reading about it.

Let’s experiment together to improve our tastebuds and become better cooks.

Each week, for a few weeks, I’ll announce an ingredient that I’m not used to using, then incorporate it into a meal or two within the following week. Then we’ll compare notes. We’ll learn, cook and eat!

For next week:  Curry!

Jeanine Calvert August 07, 2011 at 05:59 AM
Oooh! Curry! I love curry - I could eat it every day (seriously - I have even sprinkled a tiny pinch over scrambled eggs). Unfortunately, my husband does not only dislike the taste but can't stand the smell either. I will have to curry vicariously through you. I'm curious as to why you chose curry as your first experiment.
Jamie Brown Miller August 09, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Just dropped some curry-coated boneless beef ribs into the sous vide machine and will take them out tomorrow. Still trying to decide what to do with them once I take them out, and how to convert the cooking method to non-sous vide methodology.

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