Cooking for no profit but a lot of fun!
I love to cook almost anything. My best creative dishes are ones in which I have no recipe, but rather build up to a final product. Generally in our household, I do the bulk of the cooking since my lovely woman works a full time job, and I work here at the house. Since I have always been creative, I choose to do so now in the kitchen.
I find it extremely relaxing to root through the refrigerator and create some mouth watering downright taste exploding dish. I do tend to lean towards a bit spicier concoctions IE:red pepper,black pepper, garlic, seasoning salts, cinnamon, and many other. However my wife cannot take too much spice so I do tone it way down.
This madness started years ago when my wife worked at the Kansas City Board of Trade in the General Mills Grain Division. Her two bosses at the time were heavily involved in the KC Board of Trade barbecue team which once a year competed in the big Barbecue here in KC around the same time as the KC Royal event. She was invited to the KC Barbecue one year where we went, and partied in the Board of Trade tent. All you could care to eat and drink for one minor price. I was totally hooked on their entries to the contest.
I began asking questions, how do they smoked the meats, spice them, how long to cook, in short everything I could think of to learn how to make these wonderful delicacies. I learned how they made their own rubs, and began experimenting with various ingredients. I added some and subtracting some, varying the amounts of each, and after several years I found the combinations that most people who tried them agreed was the best they ever tasted. Over the next few years, I experimented with various techniques for smoking the meats, the types of woods I used, and the speed in which I cooked them. I can finally now say I think the final product is at its peak in flavor, though knowing me I will probably continue to tweak and expirement.
I got into cooking many other dishes simply as a way to help out my wife last year because her job had morphed into several other things, and she was working a huge amount of overtime hours to keep pace.
I at first took some of her basic recipes and began tweaking and shucking until I found something I liked. Then are started rummaging in the fridge each day, began with some sort of basic meat and sat down creating. Boy did I create! I like using garlic a lot, but not too overpowering. Another favorite is the use of peppers or onions. One of the basic tenets I subscribe to is never over use any spice. A spice or flavoring should be a complement to the meats and vegetables, not an overpowering force. It reminds me of the time when I was still a kid, and my older sister (name omitted to protect her feelings) tried to make a mint cake. She followed the directions until she got to adding the mint flavoring. It read to add 2 tsp of mint, and she thought tsp and tblspn was the same thing. Needless to say the cake did not come out exactly correct. But I stray.
I have learned to add gradually the ingredients and keep tasting so as not over do it. Some dishes require a bit more, some a bit less. I also blend unusual things into the dishes if I think the new spice will add a dimension to the flavor of the dish that again complements, not takes over.
I also enjoy chopping and cutting, as long as the knife is sharp. I find the whole cooking process enjoyable, and I look forward to creating something new or a variation upon an old recipe almost every day.