We all have our favorite dishes. The ones we inherit from our grannies cookbook or the ones we discovered on our last summer vacation. Or the ones we know by heart and can cook while entertaining and hosting guests. However, now and then it’s good to try something new. It really pays off. Staying curious and experimental in the kitchen keeps us young and fit and it’s a lot of fun too! A new dish you discovered might become one of your new favorite ones. You won’t find out, unless you try it.
Something old and something new
Cooking more creatively is not so difficult. It can be as easy as buying different foods than usual or experimenting a bit with spices. There are many ways to break out of your routine. For anyone who loves to cook, there is nothing better than creating a beautiful meal and celebrating the whole process.
Trying something new can also be done in baby steps. Instead of trying a completely new recipe, you can take a familiar one and mix it up with new, unique ingredients. Pizza is a good place to get started since you can easily experiment with new toppings. The Chicken, Blue Cheese, and California Prune Pizza is a great example of a combination for pizza ingredients that is not obvious. Swap out your typical tomato sauce for a purple sauce made with California Prunes, which creates a sweet and tangy flavor that goes well with the flavors of blue cheese, red onions, chicken, and rosemary.
Another easy ingredient swap can take place when preparing meat, such as with a classic chicken breast dish. . Instead of playing it safe with salt and pepper, be a bit more daring with a crunchy crust of peanuts and American popcorn and create this delicious Thai Peanut and Popcorn Crusted Chicken. It may sound crazy, but this unique crust is absolutely delicious and goes so well with the Thai spices and flavoring.
Spice it up with different seasonings
Like with recipes, it can be easy to fall into a pattern. However, the world of spices is so vast that it would be a shame to always stick to the same few spices while cooking. There are so many flavors to discover! Here are two recipes using less common spices that are just waiting to be tried.
Harissa Apricot Almond Bars exemplify how you can convert common sweet oatmeal bar to a spiced up pastry in no time. Chef Rob Corliss of All Things Epicurean created these amazing bars. The fruit and spice of the harissa apricot topping make the flavor of these chewy bars made with defatted almond flour really pop.
The sliced and toasted California Almonds also give an added crunch to these delicious snack bars.
The 5 Spice Yam Yellow Split Pea Soup with Peanuts by Claudia’s Mesa is rich in color and has a velvety texture that goes nicely with the crunch of peanuts on top. As the name suggests, this split pea soup is flavored with 5 different spices: cumin, curry powder, chili powder, cilantro and cinnamon.
The majority of these spices are quite common to have stashed in the cupboard. What makes this spiced recipe special is the combination and mixing of different flavors and textures.
Be bold and cook outside the box
If you are feeling adventurous and willing to try something new, we have two strikingly different recipes for you.
For fans of the vegetarian kitchen we suggest trying out the Stuffed Onion with California Walnut Couscous and Ras el-Hanout. This dish puts a spotlight on this resourceful vegetable. Onions are incredibly versatile and are enjoyed raw, caramelized, grilled, sautéed or fried and more. They are mostly used in soups, salads or stews to enhance the flavor and texture of the dish. Stuffed onions however, are rare to find on menus, although the possibilities for fillings are endless and the unmistakable spicy aroma of the onion is great for a strong, hearty, and rustic dish.
For the Stuffed Onion with California Walnut Couscous and Ras el-Hanout, large white onions are filled with couscous, peppers, zucchinis and California Walnuts. Ras-el-hanout balances very well with the sweet but spicy taste of the onion and adds an oriental note. Preparing the onions right is important in order to keep them juicy inside and crispy on the outside. Enjoy!
A completely different type of recipe, but equally unique as a dish, is the Vegan Champerado developed by Val & Mani of @plantbased.passport .
Champorado is a sweet, rich and creamy chocolate rice porridge and a classic Filipino rice recipe that’s usually eaten for breakfast. Made from creamy cocoa, U.S.-grown jasmine, glutinous rice and coconut milk, this simple one-pot dish comes together in about 30 minutes.
Sometimes it doesn’t take unusual recipes to be creative, but simply making something by hand. Bread baking is the perfect example. Bread is one of those foods we often buy, rather than make ourselves. However, as shown by the recent bread baking trend, this DIY approach to bread is both fun and rewarding! Want to learn more about bread baking and adding bold ingredients to your homemade loaf? Then keep reading here.
Another yummy and fun DIY activity is pickling food. Pickling vegetables, fruits, or meats is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. It offers a wide variety of culinary opportunities that add unique flavors and textures to a meal. If you want to know how to pickle your favorite foods, then take a look at our article on pickled products.
Need a little kick of energy or feeling hungry between meals? Energy balls are a perfect, nutritious snack that can be easily made at home and is super customizable. Learn more about energy balls, how to make them and indulge in your favorite toppings and ingredients!
Whether you feel inspired by one of the dishes we featured or want to try something new from your favorite food blogger, staying creative in the kitchen is a key success factor to discovering new culinary delights and strengthening a love for food and cooking.