I like to cook. I have since before I was diagnosed with celiac, and even more since. I love cooking food that my friends without allergies will genuinely love, instead of sympathetically tolerating it to make me feel better about my restrictions. This weekend I had a blast cooking all kinds food I didn't have to purchase (best thing about being at my parents' house!), like taco salad with fresh guacamole, tomatoes, and cilantro; middle eastern bison meatballs with cilantro-yogurt sauce, fresh hummus, and minted vegetable salad; gluten-free/dairy-free chocolate cake by Pamela's with chocolate chip & coconut milk frosting; and Andean bean soup with quinoa and butternut squash. Yum. Oh, and I also made orange-clove pancakes from a Glutino pancake mix. Also yum.
With the exception of the taco salad ensemble, frosting and the orange-clove part of the pancakes, everything I made this weekend had a recipe that I followed closely, with minimal adaptations. The recipes were just that good that they didn't need modification, and I didn't want to mess any of them up. I usually prefer following recipes, at least the first few times I make something, especially if it's a particularly complex creation, or one that has a tendency to be difficult (any gluten-free baking recipes). Occasionally I'm able to make something up and have it turn out okay or even really good (like the orange-clove pancakes...wow), but usually I prefer to follow a recipe.
This morning, I got ready faster than usual and had some time to kill before needing to leave for work. Knowing I would be getting back late this evening, I decided to throw something in the crock pot. Now, crock pot recipes are usually easy: throw in some meat, vegetables, & a sauce, let simmer on low for 8-10 hours and you're good to go. In fact, some of the best meals I've ever made have been crock pot recipes; I love the way the spices infuse themselves through the meat and veggies, and everything comes out falling-apart soft. Yum. This morning, however, was an exception to my previous successes. I didn't have a computer around, which meant I couldn't look up a recipe to go with my limited ingredients, which also meant I'd have to make something up. So, I grabbed some frozen chicken breast, the last two potatoes and the remaining half an onion, and threw them into a crock pot with some vegetable broth. Not wanting to leave out my green veggies for the day, I also threw in some Swiss chard that had been in my freezer since summertime.
You see where I went wrong. If anyone knows anything about Swiss chard, they know it has a very strong taste and takes some getting used to. Well, I think it ruined my crockpot dinner. The smell when I walked in the door was ambivalent at best, and the taste wasn't much better. Will I throw it away? Absolutely not. Will I enjoy it wholeheartedly? Probably not. This is one tale of an on-the-fly recipe gone completely wrong, but it's still my dinner for the night. You can't win 'em all, I guess.