Over the last years, I had a recurring dream theme that I was cooking or helping to provide food for various groups of people. I always interpreted that meaning that it would be my task to provide food for the soul for people.
But now (in May 2021) after more than one year in the home office due to Corona, I am not so sure anymore about that interpretation. Maybe it meant that I would have to provide lunch for my family almost every day?
When I cook, I am more relaxed and do not feel the same urge to plan ahead which I feel with other tasks on my todo list. But I trust more that I will be able to finish my task in time.
I have come to enjoy cooking because it allows me to be creative. I rarely use recipes but rather mix and match whatever inspiration tells me to do in that moment. For example, when I feel inspired to add dried apricots, dates, and cinnamon to an otherwise hot and spicy dish, I usually just do so, wondering with some curiosity how it will taste. It is always a bit of an experiment.
One of my sons has turned strictly vegan since one year. This means, I have to cook mostly vegan or dishes where he can have vegan food and the rest of the family can add cheese or so if they want to.
Recently, I was asked twice on the same day what I usually cook. This led me to compile a list of dishes which I want to share here in case some of my readers are looking for inspiration for what to cook.
Besides cooking dishes like pasta, pizza, burger, wraps, and sushi, I like to bake marinated vegetables in the oven and serve them with varying sauces.
-) For example, a mixture of baked red kuri squash (hokkaido pumpkin), apples, onions, chickpeas, carrots, sweet potatoes served with garlic dip or with mango chutney dip (both based on soy yoghurt). Also yummy as a sauce is coconut milk mixed with peanut butter and chili and sweetened with sugar or agave syrup.
-) Baked celery root slices with mashed potatoes with mustard-agave-dill sauce (which is the vegan type of mustard-honey-dill sauce).
-) Red bell peppers and black olives with potato wedges, all marinated and baked, served with a dip made with soy yoghurt and ajvar.
Grains and vegetables
Aside from the oven-baked dishes, I cook rice and serve it with vegetables, beans or nuts, and a sauce.
For variation, I substitute rice with millet or spelt and also spice it a bit.
-) Creamy carrots: For example, I cooked millet+red lentils+chopped onions+chopped dried apricots+yeast broth paste+ brewer’s yeast all together in one pot. Served this with peanuts, chickpeas, tortilla chips, and puree of carrots with coconut milk spiced with cinnamon, ginger, chili, and curry.
-) Coconut curry: rice and brown lentils. Coconut milk with pan-fried, chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and some green Thai curry and lemon baking flavor. This recipe was inspired by this video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0d2wNXbw9rY , but is a variation of it.
-) Sweet and spicy: Bulgur cooked with apples and oatmilk, cinnamon, sugar, and chili. Then put it into a casserole and baked it in the oven with a crust of almonds and sugar. Served it with vanilla sauce.
-) My family also loved my onion-sauce dish. Pan-fried vegan schnitzel with red cabbage and mashed potatoes with a sweet sauce from a puree of pan-fried (or microwaved) onions with oatmilk.
I have become creative with making sauces. Cooking or baking vegetables is easy. But to make things taste good, I need a sauce.
-) So, I make soy yoghurt based dips where I experiment with mixing whatever fits into the yoghurt (like chutneys, sweet chili sauce, mustard, ajvar, or vegan spreads).
-) Or I make vegetable purees from microwaved veggies, mix them with oatmilk or with coconut milk, and spice them with aceto balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and chili.
-) Sometimes, I cook oatmilk, mix some spice into it, like mustard, and use cornstarch for making the sauce creamy. But this requires more effort than the soy yoghurt method or veggie puree approach. Therefore, I do it less often.
I like it best when I have added something from almost all flavors,(i.e. sour, sweet, salty, hot, and umami) to each sauce to make it taste interesting and balanced.
This is a bit like telling a story which conveys spiritual insights and is food for the soul. The story also tastes best when it has elements of all flavors of suspense, surprise, sadness, and humor.
I think that at the moment my guidance is trying to get me to apply my more relaxed approach to cooking to the other areas in my life, i.e. less planning ahead, less preparation for the future, trusting that all will work out in the right time, and following inspiration in every moment. But I find that challenging.