Living alone and cooking for one has made me less excited to be in the kitchen. Partially because there is less variation in what I cook each night. Often, I end up eating a dish several times in a week because the portions a recipe yield were far too much for just me.
On Sunday, I roasted a chicken for myself and Chris. If I do say so myself, it was delicious but it was also a whole chicken for just two people. After he had gone, it didn’t make sense for me to be cooking other types of meat when I had nearly a whole cooked chicken in the fridge.
There were only so many times that I could bare warming it up and eating the exact same meal for yet another night. Those are the nights when I resort to muse cooking.
Some years ago, I stumbled across a website that put the name ‘muse cooking’ to something I think that most people do. We look what is around and rather than follow an exact recipe we put throw a bit of this and a bit of that into a pot and hope for the best.
I wonder sometimes if less experienced cooks are frightened away by formal recipes. The way they are composed looks as if everything has to be done an exact way or there will be no hope for the dish.
That may be true with the science of baking but in with the art of cooking, if you have the basic techniques down, there is room for experimentation. Things are bit less intimidating when you know it is okay to make some mistakes.
Tonight, I took a look at what I had in my fridge and pantry and let my cooking muse speak to me.
Apart from the left over chicken, I had chicken stock, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar in the cupboard. In the fridge,I found garlic, fresh ginger, mushrooms and a small head of Napa cabbage. I also had some frozen noodles that I had picked up from a trip to a nearby Asian supermarket.
Clearly things were pointing in the direction of Asian but I wasn’t up for a stir fry. Partially because I pretty much suck at cooking a stir fry. I’m not sure why but I came to terms with it several years back.
I decided to make a quick Asian-inspired chicken noodle soup. Soups such as that are quick and easy to throw together and adaptable for whatever vegetables you have laying around.
The noodles that I used tonight only take five minutes from frozen in boiling water. So, they were particularly perfect for a quick Asian soup. Don’t feel boxed in by any particular type of noodle. Anything that will cook up in the liquid and not have to be drained will work. I’ve used rice noodles before and they have worked great.
Here is my non-recipe for my Asian-inspired chicken noodle soup. Consider it as a starting point for your own cooking muse.
Asian-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup
Rice Wine Vinegar
Fresh finger, minced
Left over chicken, shredded
Nappa cabbage, chopped thinly
Put chicken stock into a pot with a few glugs of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil and throw in the fresh ginger, garlic and the sliced mushrooms.
Simmer for five minutes and then put in the leftover chicken and cabbage. Continue to simmer for a few more minutes before putting the noodle into the pot. Cook for the time dictated on the package. Once the noodles are done, the soup is ready to serve.