Connect with us

Food

10 Ways to Get More Creative With Home Cooking

Published

on

10 Ways to Get More Creative With Home Cooking

If you cook at home regularly, you might eventually find yourself running out of ideas – or making the same things over and over again. Even if you love these dishes, they may eventually become stale and boring, both in terms of taste and preparation.
Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help you be more creative in the kitchen – and find more inspiration for dynamic food preparation.

Experimenting in the Kitchen (and Beyond)

These are some of the best ways to get more creative with your home cooking:

  • Ditch the recipes. Recipes are great. They make it easy to replicate dishes at home, they provide straightforward instructions that are difficult to mess up, and they provide you a system of organization that can remind you of things you’ve made in the past. But if you’ve spent enough time cooking and baking, you probably know most of your favorite recipes by heart – and you understand the fundamentals of cooking well enough to experiment on your own. Stop depending entirely on recipes and start coming up with your own creations. Deviate from the instructions and trust your own culinary instincts.
  • Invest in a wood stove. A wood burning stove is an excellent source of heat – and you can even cook with it! If you’re used to preparing most of your meals over the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave, this can be a dynamic new way to cook almost anything. Even if you’re using the same ingredients, you’re going to be using a different preparation method and you’ll end up with a finished product that tastes at least slightly differently.
  • Buy ingredients from multicultural markets. Multicultural markets are one of the best ways to find new, exotic ingredients that you can’t normally find in your local grocery store. Some of these ingredients may not be palatable, and some of them will be so strange that you don’t know how to use them properly, but sometimes, this extra novelty is exactly what you need to spice up your old favorite dishes or break out of your rut.
  • Experiment with seasonal produce. When produce is in season, it tends to be much more plentiful and much less expensive. Use this as an inspirational opportunity to experiment. Create some new dishes out of whatever produce happens to be in season – and find the perfect ingredients to compliment them.
  • Create a competitive challenge for your family. Iron Chef and similar competitive cooking shows have been popular for decades now, since people love food, cooking, and the thrill of competition in the same setting. Why not create a competitive challenge for you and your family? For example, you can have you and your spouse create two similar, yet distinct dishes and call upon the kids to judge which one was better.
  • Invest in a new spice. Visit a local market and buy a spice or herb you’ve never tried before. Taste it carefully and try pairing it with various other ingredients to see how it fits. Then, start incorporating it into dishes where you’ve never had it before.
  • Make your own signature spice blends. It’s not hard to find recipes for homemade spice blends, but have you ever considered making a blend that’s entirely your own? Take a handful of your favorite spices, preferably ones that complement each other, and mix them all up. Once you stumble upon a formula that works for your taste buds, you can mix a larger batch and add it to a wide variety of foods.
  • Coordinate with colors. You’re probably used to cooking with your senses of smell and taste at the forefront. But what about vision? Consider cooking entire dishes based around a color, or a set of complementary colors; it’s a great way to force some creativity.
  • Find outside inspiration. Are you struggling to come up with creative new ideas on your own? Consider branching out by visiting new restaurants, watching new cooking shows, and talking to skilled chefs in your own life.
  • Splurge on a new piece of cooking equipment. Finally, consider splurging on a new piece of cooking equipment. A new appliance or tool, like an air fryer or multicooker, could be exactly what you need to make the kitchen feel refreshingly new.

Committing to Creativity

The best way to keep things fresh in your kitchen consistently is to commit to your creativity. Make a plan for more culinary experimentation and stick to it. For example, you can set Fridays as a total experimentation day, where you try a new recipe, tinker with a new ingredient, or do something crazy in the kitchen. As long as you keep trying new things and adjusting old formulas, you and your family will never be bored with your food.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Food

Don’t Get Food Poisoning While Traveling

The last thing you want to happen when you are traveling is to get extremely sick.  Many foreign restaurants don’t have the same food safety guidelines and the possibility of getting food poisoning is very high.  How do you know where to eat when you are traveling?  You are in a strange new city, the […]

Published

on

The last thing you want to happen when you are traveling is to get extremely sick.  Many foreign restaurants don’t have the same food safety guidelines and the possibility of getting food poisoning is very high.  How do you know where to eat when you are traveling?  You are in a strange new city, the sights and sounds are all over stimulating your brain and you have no clue where to eat. It can be quite daunting to be in an unfamiliar place already and then throw in the fact that there are bad restaurants everywhere, oh boy, what to do. First, don’t panic, everyone has to eat to survive so if you are in a place where other humans are living, then I think we can find you somewhere to dine.

Ask Concierge

First things first, ask the concierge at the hotel or resort you are staying. What’s a concierge you ask? The concierge is a hotel employee whose sole job is to assist the weary traveler by acting as a personal assistant. They can tell you where to eat, but be specific when you speak with them. Tell them your budget, preferences and any dietary restrictions you have. If your hotel doesn’t have a concierge, then the front desk staff should be able to help you out. I always pick the concierge’s brain the instant I get to the hotel; they are masters of their domain and know the city better than anyone.

The World Wide Web

Google it! Isn’t that what anyone says nowadays when they ask you a question. But seriously, get online and digitally ask around.  Check to see if there are any travel warnings to where you are going and if any otf those are food related.  Remember a few years ago when the bird flu broke out in asia or the mad cow disease?  These are perfect examples of how a little due diligence can do a lot of good.  I can’t be everywhere for you, so this you will have to do on your own. I prefer to hop online and go to TripAdvisor, they seem to always have good restaurant reviews and recommendations.  Yelp is now catching on in Europe so give that a try.  Most of the reviews are coming from fellow travelers so this may be a great resource. 

Research

This goes along with the World Wide Web because I’m sure this is where most of us will do the research. You could also get a travel guidebook like a Lonely Planet or Thomas Guides; they are great resources for your trip.

Pinterest is a great tool as well, many people have been where you are going and many have made Pinterest boards of their trips. It can’t hurt to do a little internet stalking on your travel destination.

Blogs, blogs and more blogs! People just like me are posting their stories and experiences all over the web, do some legwork and find out about where you are traveling. 

Locals

Who knows the town better than locals? If you want to find out the best restaurants a place has to offer, then get to communicating. Chat up some friendly locals and get the inside scoop. Use your judgment, because some people just don’t want to be bothered and it’s best to leave those locals alone.

When you are out exploring don’t be shy, talk to people and if you are pleasant and cordial, then they should help you out.

Smell it out

This one is easy folks, let your nose guide you to deliciousness. I let my nose lead the way often and its always taken good care of me. Believe me, if a restaurant smells good then the chances are the food it pretty good. Don’t be afraid to ask a local if you smell something divine. They usually will know what you are talking about and direct you in the right direction. I have very fond memories of walking down a street in Phuket, Thailand and the smells were so overpowering that my senses were overloaded. The street food was incredible there and I let my nose do the shopping.

I hope you find meals so amazing that the memories last a lifetime.

Continue Reading

Food

Atlanta: The South’s new Foodie Heaven

Atlanta has long been a foodie destination 

Published

on

Atlanta has long been a foodie destination for southern fried delicacies, but now the food revolution has hit the city hard. What once was a place to get the best-fried chicken collectively in the world is now cranking out upscale food. An influx of high-end culinary masters has transformed this southern city into a food lover’s paradise.

 http://atlanta.eater.com/

Staplehouse

Leading the pack is the new kid on the block, Staplehouse, Bon Appetites pick for America’s Best New restaurant. The American eatery is a non-profit set up by the family of late chef Ryan Hidinger, who past away in 2014 from Cancer. All profits go to Giving Kitchen, a charity set up by the wife of Hidinger, which supports food workers in need.

Head chef Ryan Smith cooks up the fancy farm-to-table cuisine using every useable part of the animal. Culinary daredevils like chef Smith are bringing in a new, yet old way of being sustainable. They are nose-to-tail chefs, celebrating all parts of an animal and teaching people about true sustainability.

Staplehouse is booked solid for many reasons, people enjoy eating at a restaurant that is giving back to the people that break their backs for our culinary enjoyment.

Staplehouse is located at 541 Edgewood Ave, SE, Atlanta GA. Reservations open up mid month and fill up fast, so if you want to eat a great meal while giving back to the community, Staplehouse is your choice.

 

Ponce City Market

City centered dining markets are springing back up all over the country, giving downtown diners more options in a smaller footprint. Much like L.A.’s Grand Central Market, Atlanta’s Ponce City Market gives diners more choices and an opportunity to taste cuisine form all over the globe. Food Markets like these used to be very popular and for some reason became unfavorable for a while, but the recent resurgence has open up many people’s minds about culinary adventures.

Ponce City Market is a literal who’s who of Atlanta’s top chefs and a culinary tour of the city. Within feet you can sample ramen, Cuban sandwiches, fresh pasta and some of Atlanta’s best-fried chicken. If you are only in town for one night, Ponce City Market in Midtown should be your food stop.

Ponce City Market is located at 675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA. No reservations needed and seating is first come first served.

 The General Muir Twitter

The General Muir

Atlanta truly is a big city now that they have an authentic Jewish New York deli. New York is obviously the Mecca of delis and the all important pastrami sandwich, which if you haven’t had, then my only question is… why do you hate yourself? The General Muir is a deli that relies heavily on seasonal favorites, but you can always grab an all time favorites like the Reuben sandwich or bagels and lox.

Don’t be afraid, that huge pastrami sammie can and will fit in your mouth. If you are anywhere near Emory University, I high holy holiday recommend you stop by The General Muir. If you are in search of a Jewish High Holy meal, you are in luck; The General Muir has a full holiday menu.

The General Muir is located at 154o Avenue Place Suite B-230, Atlanta, GA. No reservations accepted but there will most likely be a line that moves quickly.

Hop on down to Hotlanta and dine on their new culinary finds, and while you are there you can sample some of the fantastic southern classics like fried chicken.

Continue Reading

Food

How to Eat When you Travel

A Taste of Something Different. Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the […]

Published

on

A Taste of Something Different.

Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the regions’ spices and cultural specialties. The cuisine says a lot about the culture and diving head first is how I travel.

Obviously there are restrictions that I usually follow, never drink the water in Central America, avoid extreme spices and be wary of some street food. I tend to eat too much street food, but I figure if the locals eat it, why shouldn’t I? Water in third world countries in general should be avoided due to parasites that your insides might not be used to. Eating extreme spices when on a road trip is another danger all together.

Countless times I’ve been unsure about tasting something only to be completely surprised and amazed by the new flavors. Eating live octopus in Japan sounded and looked insane but once I actually did it, well, it was pretty gross, to be honest. Not everything you try will be appetizing but at least I can say that I tried it. The memory is always with me and the experience was unforgettable. Had I decided not to push my boundaries and try the still alive octopus, I don’t think the memory would last.

My travel memories are constantly awakened by smells, tastes and textures. It’s amazing how the mind connects memory and experiences. I can’t walk past a gyro shop without being reminded of my time in Greece, the aromas are so overpowering and pleasurable. Gyros are now one of my favorite dishes and I have an afternoon in Athens to thank for that.

https://kimchisoul.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/eaststreet/

Rule #1:

I have a few simple rules that I live by when I travel that apply to food. First, I always eat local my first meal. You won’t find me eating at an American chain restaurant anytime soon, even if it’s in Istanbul. Instead I’ll ask my cab driver or concierge at my hotel what food I NEED to try. You’d be amazed by how many suggestions you’ll receive.

I find that people are generally proud of where they are from and revel in the opportunity to share their favorite local spots. I know that when friends and family visit me in Los Angeles, I am a venerable fountain of information, just spewing restaurant names and my favorite dishes at anyone who will listen.

http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Wtk-Did-You-Ever-Eat-A-Balut/2390649

Rule #2:

My second travel cuisine rule is simple… do not be afraid. Many of what you are about to eat may look, smell or even taste bad, but you cannot show fear. Instead be brave and just go for it, take a big bite, chew it up and savor the flavor. Granted, you may spit the food immediately out and that’s fine, I’ve done it. It’s a natural reaction of your body to reject some tastes, but at least you now know that whatever you just ate is bad.

My wife and I were traveling in the Philippines a few years ago and my cab driver said that we had to try balut, which if you don’t know is fermented bird embryo, and is a very acquired taste. When I first saw balut I was honestly scared, it does not look appetizing, in fact it doesn’t even look edible. The smell was horrendous and all the locals stared at me like I was about to do something real dumb, and I was. I followed my own rules and I took a bite, not a large bite, but a bite nonetheless and my reaction was violent and over the top. I spit out my bite, threw my arms into the air, yelled a primal scream and tossed some water down my throat. Was I overreacting? Sure, but with the added audience I figured a larger than life response was warranted. I got a loud boisterous reaction from the gathered crowd followed by applause. This was my favorite moment from our trip to Manila. A simple taste of local cuisine has stuck with me for years like it happened yesterday and to think, if I hadn’t been adventurous I wouldn’t have ever experienced this. Of course I remember the awful taste, but what I truly remember were the connections I made with a dozen locals that day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npF_5k9R7s0

Rule #3:

My last rule of eating while traveling involves your intestinal fortitude. When I travel, I always try whatever on the menu scares me the most. In England, this was blood pudding. Just the idea of eating coagulated blood is so unappealing to me its no wonder I was terrified by this choice. But just like all my other food related travel memories, I can perfectly paint a picture of that day. I was visiting my good pal Simon, who was on weekend leave from the British Army. We met at a local pub and began drinking pints, as the locals were known to do. Who was I to shy away from local traditions?

Simon and his mates knew I was terrified of eating blood pudding, so they egged me on for hours. I finally caved to their taunts and ordered blood pudding. A horrid looking dish, much darker than I had ever imagined and the smell was similar to an old dumpster. They come in sausage casing, which is already a strike against them, and are cut into bite size pieces. All that build up and you know what… they weren’t half bad. They taste similar to liver, very irony and grainy. The texture is one I won’t soon forget, but you know what… that day was incredible. I’m honored to have spent it with young soldiers while we sampled their local cuisine.

Remember friends, travel with your senses and you will never forget.

 

AJ

 

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Tags

Trending