Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Last night, was a great example of this for me. I had dinner all planned in my head. I was going to make a vegan egg roll in a bowl for our dinner. Love that dish because it comes together so quickly in the 12” nonstick skillet and with the addition of Chow Mein noodles, Zoe would have the crunch she likes in meals. All was going according to plan until I started gathering ingredients.
That is when I discovered that the bag I knew was vegan sausage crumble was actually a bag of frozen raspberries. I had frozen everything in the refrigerator but sausage and time was now ticking before Zoe came home and dinner was now not going to be on the table. Not that she cares about that, but I like dinner to be ready when she gets home from work.
Rather, then let myself panic, I thought what do I have that is a source of protein. I had two cans of black beans in the pantry. Those got drained and thrown in with the onions. Then I remembered these southwestern egg rolls we had eaten once or twice at Chili’s. So I said, hmm a Southwestern Egg Roll Bowl. Then it all fell into place as I added leftover frozen corn, spinach I had not used in a salad yet, chopped up some jalapenos, and the little bit of vegan cheese I had left in the refrigerator. It started to become that empty the refrigerator bowl, but it worked
It was not quite what either of us was expecting, but when you are handed a lemon, what do you do with it. When I realized I was out of crumble, I improvised, got creative, and now I have a dish I will make again. I didn’t change anything else in the recipe; I think I changed enough. Sometimes it is through our willingness to be creative, that we discover the unexpected.
Don’t be afraid to try! Take risks. Be creative. Who knows what amazing new dish you might create. Isn’t that what chefs do. They draw on what is available to them, draw on their memories, and experiences and create a dish that sometimes needs to just go on their menu. Take egg rolls for example, I have seen them filled with traditional fillings, southwestern (thank you Chili’s) and even saw someone make philly cheesesteak egg rolls.
So give the creative energy you have been blessed with. When you are missing an ingredient and can’t get to the store, draw on it and create something amazing. Have fun and get creative.