The kitchen is the place where passion, creativity and (dare I say) mad skills come together for me. It’s my happy place. I love cooking and feeding my loved ones wild dishes like peanut butter sriracha kale.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to share and connect with likeminded moms. Find my people. Motherhood can be very lonely.
Moms who like to eat plants and want to save the planet. You are my people.
Procrastination and resistance hold me back though, like horny little devils sitting on my shoulders, and my two real life devilish boys keep me busy 900% of the time. But, something else held me back from sharing all of my food goodness with you: the thought that I have to write perfect little recipes and take perfect little pictures.
I had an epiphany today. Again. I’m always having them. Is this the genius of mom brain? Deep thoughts with Harmony.
I hate writing rigid recipes. I usually don’t follow them. It sucks the joy out of cooking, for me. I like to be liberal with my spices, a pinch here and a sprinkle there. I like to mess with flavors and cross traditional cuisine boundaries. Winging it is more my style.
Cooking doesn’t have to be rocket science. Sure, there are some rules to follow to make sure you don’t have a complete disaster on your hands, but your food will most likely come out tasting just fine – or even amazing.
For instance, add a little bit of salt at a time. Too much salt could ruin your dish. Salt, taste, salt, taste. When you taste that tickle of salt on the tip of your tongue, you know you have enough salt. I just took you to culinary school, for free.
Don’t get me wrong, I love recipes. I love reading them and being inspired by them. I sometimes follow them, sort of. A tweak here, an ingredient swap there. I make them my own. I think that’s what makes cooking so special. It’s customizable.
My super weird friend, Jessie – painter, magic yogi and skin care extraordinaire, used to come to my house after teaching yoga almost every day when I lived in Minneapolis. She would walk in with funky knee high socks, a bag full of kale and ask if I had any tamari (gluten-free soy sauce). Yep. Peanut butter? Sure. Sriracha? Got that, too. Garlic powder? Of course.
Sidebar: Weird is a compliment in our circle. To be weird is to be unique and freely odd. It is about inventing wacky words, pairing bizarre ingredients and embarrassing dance moves. Not everybody gets it, probably because they’re not as weird as we are.
Jessie would heat a skillet, add some oil, rip up the kale with her hands and toss it in. “I like it BURNT”, she’d say, before stuffing the kale stems back into her bag for her hound dog, Linky.
When the kale was cooked to her liking, she’d start adding her flavorings. Peanut butter. Sriracha. Tamari. Garlic.
Let me tell ya, if you’ve ever scrunched up your nose at kale, you’ve surely never tasted peanut butter sriracha kale a la Jessie. It is delicious!
At my house, we usually make it as a breakfast side, but you could use the same idea for a Thai-inspired salad or a wrap or a taco. I actually put some in a spinach tortilla and topped it with leftover chili yesterday for lunch. Weird? Yes. Tasty? Also yes.
So here is your wing-it recipe:
Get kale. Dinosaur is our favorite, but any kind will do. Wash it. Remove the stems. Feed them to your dog or compost them. Rip or cut it into bite sized pieces.
Heat a skillet. Add oil, whatever is around your house. We usually use olive or coconut oil. Toss in the kale.
Sprinkle it with sea salt, garlic powder and black pepper – or whatever spices you want. Onion, chipotle, ginger, crushed red pepper, curry powder. The contents of your pantry are your only limit.
Stir until it’s cooked to your liking. Don’t know how you like it? Cook it for a while and taste it. Want it crispier? Cook it longer. Love garlic? Add more.
You can apply your peanut butter sriracha sauce in two ways.
Jessie’s way: Drizzle peanut butter, tamari and sriracha on top of the kale and stir it up in the skillet. This way is perfectly fine if you don’t mind eating peanut butter chunks. Jeh-ye (as my two-year old calls her) lives for the p-butter.
Harmony’s way: I like a thinner, well mixed sauce. I pour a blob of peanut butter into a liquid measuring cup, a drizzle of tamari, a squeeze of sriracha and a splash of water. Whisk it up. If it’s not pourable, add more water and whisk again. Taste. Need more salt? Add more tamari. More heat? Add sriracha. Plate your kale and drizzle the sauce on top.
That, is how I like my recipes.
If you’re new to cooking, what do you think would make you feel more confident? Tell me everything.