I Think….Therefore I Cook….

Chef Susen A. Hunter

Native Foods Cafe

 

People often ask me how I come up with recipes so I thought I would take a minute to explain the “process” for me.   The explanation is that there is NO process.  I can find inspiration in a variety of ways –  from tweaking an existing recipe or using a “new” spice, to having a visual in my head and trying to create it, or even just thinking ”what if I…..”.   I LOVE the “what if” game!

There is nothing I find more refreshing than having 3-5 days with nothing do to but be creative in the kitchen.  I may start out with tweaking a recipe only to think of additional new recipes or methods that I want to try.  Or, I may have a theme in mind and try to brainstorm new ways to present foods/flavor profiles that represent that theme. 

I love it when I’m creating new foods and I have a few friends available to try what I’m making…then I don’t have to constantly eat/taste everything myself!!!  I love getting instant feedback during the creation process because it helps me narrow down the precise amounts of ingredients – most usually the spices and salt content. 

I try never to google any of my ideas before I try them….that way I know my recipes are original and I haven’t been subliminally influenced by some other recipe.  Overall, I rely on my decades of cooking/baking/creating experience to guide me in my inspiration. 

I can tell you that as a chef, there is a great feeling of accomplishment when hundreds of people have tried your food and have responded positively.  That, for me, is why I love doing cooking demos for the public…that sense that I shared a unique recipe and the members of the audience love enough to go home and make it.  How cool is that?

Here is a recent creation!

 

Orange and Black PROTEIN POWER PILAF 

 

1 C of Black Forbidden Rice – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 C of Black Beans from can – rinsed/drained

1 C of Black Lentils – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 TSP Better Than Bullion Vegetable base dissolved in 8 oz water

1 TSP Adobo seasoning

½ TSP Chipotle seasoning +/- by taste

1 C of baked sweet potato – cubed

½ C carrot – diced fine

¼ C orange pepper – diced fine

Vegan Butter- approx. 1 TBS

Pinch of garlic powder, pinch of onion powder, pinch of sea salt

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In a large skillet over medium heat, add the water/veggie base and adobo and chipotle seasoning.  Stir and add in the rice, beans, and lentils stirring to get the flavoring distributed evenly.

In a separate skillet, melt the butter over low heat and toss in the sweet potato, carrot and pepper.  Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  Stir gently over low heat for about 3minutes then gently fold into the beans/rice/lentils in the larger skillet.  Serve with a dollop of chipotle mayo.

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Optional — Carve orange peppers into Jack-O-Lanterns, rub with EVOO, and stuff with pilaf.  Place in covered baking dish and bake in oven on 350⁰ for about 25 minutes

 

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