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Old 08-13-2010, 08:49 AM   #1
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Zero Inspiration

Without a doubt there will be hungry family members listlessly rummaging in the pantry and standing in the kitchen gazing longingly into the fridge as the day progresses. It seems like they are trying to channel Julia Childs, Graham Kerr, or Jeff Smith hoping for an amazing fully cooked, expertly prepared meal to materialize out of the ether.

Since the success rate at actually materializing gourmet meals out of thin air is nil, I end up cooking something. Sometimes, I know exactly what I want to do and wonderfully prepared food seems to flow out of the kitchen and appear in the dining room. There is a indescribable synergy at work.

At other times, it seems more difficult and mechanical maybe even forced. What do you do to maintain your "jazz" and keep the magic synergy going?

.40
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:28 AM   #2
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I can't speak for others but the same thing happens to me. Sometimes my cooking mojo is in high gear and I'm whipping out really good stuff. I'm eager to try new dishes or experiment and can't wait to start.

Other times I think about dinner and nothing clicks for me. On those nights I suggest take-out or breakfast for dinner.

I assume this is common. Just have some fall back dishes for those nights.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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.40, in my case, you're right about staring at the uninspiring contents of a semi-empty refrigerator and wondering what I'm going to fix. And the amount of energy I have at the moment also plays a large part in how complicated I'm going to get. More often than not, since I only cook for one the majority of the time, simplicity rules. "Gourmet" is preparation for others, not me alone, unless it's practice.

I sometimes browse a cookbook or recent cooking magazine for inspiration, but when all else fails, I turn to a short list of proven, tasty, quick and easy dishes, such as oatmeal with dried dates and cherries, or pancakes with fruit, a Caesar salad, or even a cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich with potato salad and BBQ potato chips on the side. But even then I take them a step further and often add an additional unusual ingredient, as well as practice my presentation technique... playing with my food.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:19 AM   #4
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I have a few killer back up meals for when this happens to me. Sometimes I'm even on the ball enough to freeze a few when I'm "hot". My other fall back is to have a menu plan for the week posted so my brain doesn't have to stress to hard. I find if I can just go into the kitchen and have something in mind to prepare it all works better than if I have to be "inspired" AND do the prep.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:14 PM   #5
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I call for take out when this happens or make one of several simple meals.

1. pull out a bag of frozen ravioli, make a sauce and a salad
2. grilled cheese sandwiches and soup
3. Make breakfast.

Maybe the lack of inspiration/simple fare is a good thing. It helps those eating what I prepare, appreciate the really great meals when they come along. :)
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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Ohh I know this feeling all too well at home, when the larder gets low and we come home feeling >_< after a long day cooking for others.

Get cracking on a good brunch, based on whatever you got. Just the sight and smell of of sizzling bacon is enough to gear up the dullest of brains.

As Janet H says, make a good grilled cheese sandwich. That takes a lot of beating.

I have an unexpected visitor, but will brb with a couple of recipes. :)

For a hungry bunch, this one is a win. :)
Turkey burgers with olives and feta

These burgers are so delicious and a healthier version of a regular version. The olives and feta give them a burst of flavour that I know you are going to enjoy very much.


1 pound ground turkey
1-third cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons black olives (pitted will do, though un-stoned have more flavour)
1 teaspoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
teaspoon rosemary
teaspoon kosher salt, or Maldon
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 crusty sandwich rolls, halved horizontally, or wholemeal bread, sliced

Preparation:

1. Prepare barbecue grill on medium-high heat.
2. Brush the grill rack with olive oil.
3. Gently mix the turkey, feta, olives, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
4. Form into 4 patties about 1" thick.
5. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Grill burgers until charred on both sides and cooked through which is approximately 5 minutes on each side.
7. Grill cut side of sandwich rolls until toasted which is approximately 2 minutes.
8. Put your burgers together and enjoy!
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forty_caliber View Post
At other times, it seems more difficult and mechanical maybe even forced. What do you do to maintain your "jazz" and keep the magic synergy going?
I buy new kitchen gadgets.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
I buy new kitchen gadgets.
Heh! I do the same thing....it tends to upset Mrs .40.

Like last night when she opened the pots and pans cabinet and saw my new All-Clad 12qt Mult-pot sitting there. I tried to explain that it was dark under there and that no telling what had been going on with the other pots but I don't think she liked that story.

.40
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