I wasn't feeling inspired this week. It's been a busy week, so our meals have been a combination of leftovers and quick and dirty favorites. So I did what I often do when I need inspiration in the kitchen: I went to Facebook. There were plenty of intriguing responses to my query, and I decided to make something I've never liked. Because I'm a grown-up now, and far too old to be picky about food.
I love Facebook unabashedly. I went to high school in Massachusetts and university in Canada. Here in South Carolina, without Facebook, I would never have known what became of some pretty great people. Most of us keep in touch with a few close friends, but it's a real treat to have someone I used to know and like pop up in my "People You Might Know" feed. Though this may be an unpopular opinion, I am thrilled to see pictures of people's children, pets and vacations. How nice to know how it all turned out!
But I digress. The other day, I posted, "Looking for inspiration for this week's Kitchen Diary on The Kitchn. Anything interesting happening in your family's kitchen this week?" My friends are thinking about crawfish and soft shell crabs. They're making their own wine and discovering that purple cabbage looks nasty in curry. They're feeling guilty about not feeding the visiting in-laws, and thinking they really need to start a big kitchen clean out. And Tina, a high school friend from the Bahamas now living in Indiana, is craving cold soup and Bahamian conch salad.
I hate cold soup. I really do. But hers sounded delicious. Following her instructions, I bravely prepared a cold, cucumber soup. With the conch salad, it sounded like a perfectly refreshing meal for the recent hot weather we've been enjoying. I peeled, seeded and diced two large English cucumbers, sprinkling them with sea salt, dried dill, garlic powder and olive oil, letting the mixture marinate in the fridge. Following her instructions, I added my own homemade chicken stock ("enough to make it soupy") and heaping tablespoons of reduced fat plain Greek yogurt and reduced fat sour cream, "until the consistency is like a bisque." I loved picturing my friend, all grown up and the mother of beautiful twins, in her Indiana kitchen, making this recipe from her home in the Bahamas by memory. My last memory of her cooking involves a dorm microwave and ramen noodles. Or maybe that was me.
And the conch salad? Perfection. Tina uses imitation crab, which nearly satisfies her craving for the conch salad of her childhood. I used scallops, but followed her impromptu recipe to a "t," including leaving out the "finely diced goat or bird pepper," since I, too, would be serving it to children. The blend of chopped tomatoes, peppers, scallops, onions and fresh lime and orange juice is the perfect complement to that delicious — yes, I said it, about a cold soup! — cucumber soup.
What did I learn this week? My friends are pretty cool — okay, I knew that — and they are doing some interesting things in the kitchen. I also reminded myself that adults aren't allowed to be picky. I love cold soup! Look what I've been missing! Next week, I'll try to like more new foods. Like tomato aspic. (Or maybe not. Or maybe with vodka. Like a Bloody Mary jello shot!)
How do you get out of a meal time rut? And what foods do you just hate? Are you willing to try again?
(Image credits: Anne Postic)