Oct. 26, 2011
Where I Find Inspiration
Anytime I'm interviewed, this question comes up -- and it's a good one!
Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?
For me, it’s a mix of trying to recreate foods I used to eat that were either not vegan or maybe not so healthy, responding to requests and suggestions by Herbies and being moved by an ingredient.
For example, I might spend all day playing around with chickpea flour because I think its a great alternative flour that is often overlooked. Or maybe I’ll see a really beautiful bunch of, say, rainbow chard, and think “gosh! I need to come up with a way to use that!”
Also, when writing both of my cookbooks, The Happy Herbivore Cookbook and Everyday Happy Herbivore (which comes out in 6wks!) I took care to find an ingredient that’s underutilized and create a way to celebrate it.
For example, with HHC, I realized I had no recipes for kidney beans so I set out to write one that really let the kidney beans shine. The result was Rajma Masala (p. 78), and it’s one of my favorite recipes.
I also cook on the fly and out of hunger a lot. One of my most proud and favorite recipes is my Chickpea Tacos. One night I was starving, standing in front of my empty pantry with a can of chickpeas in my hand wondering what I could make. Then my eyes rolled over a seasoning packet for tacos and that was it. Recipe born!
Putting meals together, creating recipes, its all very organic for me. I often have a hard to putting it into words beyond “it just comes to me! I just “know”!”
For example, when I was making a butternut soup, I had a taste and just knew I needed to add curry powder to it. So I did... and the rest is history... or more accurately, a really delicious 3-ingredient Butternut Squash Soup!
Now that's not to say I always get it right. I've gotten it wrong and things have fallen flat or been too spicy or just not that tasty. It happens. What matters is I keep trying. Keep experimenting. Keep exploring because I never know when I'm going to create the next kickass recipe!