All indicators today pointed a quiet Thursday night at home, but I wasn’t in the mood to be idle. Pâte à choux is next in my Cooking Through Ratio series, although the thought of making puff pastry with some sort of filling did not seem appealing to me. After a long day, even the most inspired cook can dread the kitchen at times.
Today was the last day of my sister Ashley’s internship at the company where I work. I wanted to make something simple and yet nice for the occasion. My parents would be arriving to pick her up while also dropping off a new clothes dresser. The pressure was on.
We drove back to my apartment and as we walked up the stairs I had yet to come up with an idea. I checked the mail and to my surprise the first issue of my Gourmet Magazine subscription had arrived. Ashley and I climbed the stairs to my apartment while I eagerly unwrapped the magazine from its plastic cover. As I thumbed the pages, I came across a recipe for Nectarine Golden Cake. It called my name. This is what I would make…well sort of.
The recipe was simple and straightforward and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. One thing that I did note was that having the preparation time and elapsed time as part of the recipe made planning and execution easier, defining a key variable. I was less stressed knowing approximately how much time I had.
One of the things I enjoy about cooking and my new found confidence coupled with my increasing knowledge is improvisation. I now view recipes as guides instead of absolutes. To be clear I am referring to ingredients and not the ratio between them. For instance, the recipe calls for nectarines. I have peaches. It also calls for almond extract. Don’t have that. It calls for grated nutmeg. Mine is store bought powder. You get the idea. The essence of this cake was still there and the result was delicious, pulled out of the oven just in time as my parents arrived.
Confidence and creativity in cooking and life breed success. A year ago my cake could have been store bought. Now with a quick read of a recipe I’m able to make modifications to suit my needs. Creating recipes, now that’s where I want to be.