Stuck in a rut

I’ve been stuck in a cooking rut lately.  You’d think that wouldn’t be possible given the plethora of food available now.  I try to buy local when possible and right now local is a bountiful harvest of choices.

To give you some idea of how stuck I am, I made the above vegetarian version of German potato salad twice in one week.  Twice!  Granted, I like it and don’t mind eating it practically every day.  But I’m not sure M feels the same way.  He likes variety in his diet.  (The photo, by the way, is a little on the yellowish side, making the dish look cheesy.  There is no cheese in it.  It’s the lighting in the kitchen that brings on the yellow.)

(Pasta with broccoli rabe.)

I also have a variety of choices when it comes to cookbooks, recipes collected, and tastes.  M and I are adventurous eaters to some degree.  The caveat has more to do with me than him.  I have this thing against all things slimy.  Snails in particular, but there are other slimy choices that didn’t and still don’t appeal to me (steamed okra, for instance).  That said, I will try things (even slimy things) because it doesn’t seem right to me to give up on whole food groups (in this case the slimy food group) just because I didn’t like that sea-abalone-and-Chinese-mushroom dish that we had twenty years ago.  Tastes and palates change if you’re open to that change.

(Fish taco, bean & barley salad, fresh asparagus, and an IPA.)

But back to the rut.  I have decided to do what most people do when stuck in a rut (no, not watch the Food Network — I don’t have cable, remember?).  I have a good collection of cookbooks so I’m going to open one every week and randomly pick a recipe from the chosen cookbook.  Not to worry.  I won’t be copying the Julie and Julia thing.  I’ll be using different cookbooks rather than following one.  There was a time, almost a decade ago, when M the Elder, M the Younger, and I took turns picking out one new recipe per week to try.  We were on an ethnic kick, wanting to try foods from different countries.  My favorite at the time turned out to be Ethiopian even though the spice mixtures were labor intensive because I had to work with a mortar and pestle, not owning a food processor or coffee grinder (which has since been remedied!).  I burnt out a borrowed blender trying to grind the spices and it seemed best to do them by hand after that.

The cookbook I’ve decided to pick from this week is the  Colorado Cache Cookbook: 30th Anniversary Edition.   M the Younger and Merdi gave it to me last Christmas.  (Cookbooks are always good gifts for me and I have several on my Amazon Wish List.  Truth be told, almost ANY book is a good gift for me but I do have a special place in my heart for cookbooks.  They are slices of history, moving through the various food fads and fashions.)  As for which recipe, you’ll have to wait and see as I haven’t decided for sure yet.  I have it narrowed down to three possibilities.  I’ll let you know which one I choose and how it turns out.

In other news…

The Queen Anne’s Lace is beginning to bloom in the wildflower meadow.  Here, I’ll show you:

It seems early.  I could be wrong.  I should go back and look at my blog posts from previous years to see if I mention it.  I know I’ve posted photos of it either here or over there, at Bountiful Healing.  Ah yes, I found it and have decided to revive the old post:  Sanctuary.   Head on over and have a look.  I’ll wait.  The original was posted on July 17, 2008 so I’m right and the Queen Anne’s Lace is a little early this year.

(A view of the pond from the ‘standing stone’ on the eastern edge of the property.)

I wrote about the standing stone way back when, too.  You can find it here.  Just scroll down past the whining about the job I am happy to say I no longer have.

15 Comments on “Stuck in a rut”

  1. Bo Mackison says:

    Love your posts, Robin. So newsy and interesting. And yes, I get in cooking ruts — hate to admit that’s when I call in the delivery pizza guys… Though not always — I too love to open a cook book to “well, what do we have here!” on occasion.

    I think everything is blooming early this year. Though we had torrential downpour yesterday (1 1/2 inch in less than hour) and tornadoes, so it hasn;t been the calmest growing season.

    You were right about feeling like you’re living in a rain forest!! LOL!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Bo. I’ve been doing some writing practice lately and it has turned me into a wordy blogger. (One would think it would be the opposite!)

      I wondered if the tornadoes were in your area. Since you’re online, I’m assuming all is well. 🙂

      Isn’t it amazing how lush and green everything is this year?

  2. Loving the standing stone. does it line up with the solstice?

    • Robin says:

      UHDD: We originally wanted to line it up for solstice (just for fun and for future generations to wonder about) but the stone weighs too much to be moved about while trying to get it into the correct position. If I remember correctly, there was also some issue with having to build a little hill to get it properly positioned. It was all too much so we stood it up approximately where the sun rises during the solstice and called it good enough.

  3. Kala says:

    The pasta with broccoli and the fish tacos look scrumptious!

  4. Kel says:

    i bet the view of the pond through the stone mandala is awesome!

    • Robin says:

      Kel: I’ve taken a few photos through the hole in the stone. I’ll head out there soon and do it again so I can post one.

      And yes, it’s a wonderful view. 🙂

  5. Anna says:

    Oh indeed I understand the cooking rut and it feels I’ve been cooking my whole life. I used to collect cookbooks from the very old, the unusual, the wholesome to the ethnic. And it has been awhile since I’ve dug around for a recipe. I like your idea and I may well try that myself. As far as slimy…. uh no. Love that standing stone!

    • Robin says:

      Anna: “… and it feels I’ve been cooking my whole life.” lol! Me too! I suppose I practically have since Mom started me prepping food for dinner fairly early in life.

      I like old, unusual, and ethnic cookbooks too. One of the things I enjoy doing is sorting through the cookbooks at used bookstores. The one I have my eye on right now is “Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences with Frida Kahlo” which I’d like to buy new.

      Slimy isn’t so bad… sometimes. lol!

  6. OmbudsBen says:

    I get stuck in ruts, too, so empathize with your dilemma. As far as trying new things: Make it really challenging. Pick out a cookbook with an index, open the index without looking, and point to find the nearest recipe.

  7. Joanne says:

    In winter I am far more inspired to cook (as I am now), than in summer, when it’s such an effort. I break out in a sweat just walking into the kitchen! Perhaps that’s part of your problem, you’re just plain hot. Regardless, from the photos, it looks as though you have come up with some very delicious summer food. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Joanne: I know what you mean about the heat, cooking, and inspiration. Summer inspires me to come up with more foods that can be served cold or cooked outdoors on the grill (or not cooked at all, if possible).

  8. […] Monday I set out to do as OmbudsBen suggested in his comments on my Stuck in a Rut post last week.  In case you forgot, here is his suggestion: Pick out a cookbook with an index, […]

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