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
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.
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