Anyone can wing flavor

I have learned to accept and embrace this freestyle or winging of flavor and if I can do it, so can you. See, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to cooking and more so when it comes to following a recipe. I used to always think that if I added too much or too little of something, or forgot it altogether, it would taste horrible, or bland. Well, a couple good and bad experiences with this will set you straight and give you the confidence to not only wing your flavors but to stretch those wings and get creative! Which brings me to another shortfall I can acknowledge about myself, I am not the most naturally creative person. With a little vision and a lot of practice, I have begun to shake my wings around and feel the wind pass through them. But only a couple of years into my cooking experimentation have I started to feel an ability to just fly with it, or wing it as the term is coined.

As I said, if I could pull this off, anyone including you can! It starts with trying a good number of recipes and finding one that you really like. Through this process, I’ll follow the recipe pretty closely, having it follow me around on an index card or note paper in the kitchen. That is another key recommendation I have – rewrite your recipes, don’t just print them. I think this allows you to organize your time in the kitchen more to your liking and to fit your time schedule.

Speaking of all this winging of flavor, here is a recipe with which I am really enjoying mixing it up. I have made it three times in the past month, two of those times in the past weekend, and it has come out different each time!
First, to give credit where credit is due, the recipe I started with was Two Pea’s and their Pod’s Tofu Tostadas. The first time I made it I must have not had red pepper because my picture certainly shows lack of it:

The second time I did not have a chance to snap a picture before the tofu was engulfed (we were pretty hungry).

Tonight, I decided to scrap the measurements and just use the flavors. I have decided that covering everything in a pan with the ingredients constitutes as enough when it comes to seasoning. In the case of this recipe, the main seasonings are chili powder and cumin, plus salt and pepper. Since there is more chili powder than cumin, I sprinkled enough to coat all pieces of tofu well. The cumin was measured by dumping a quarter size mountain of it into the spice jars top. Since I wasn’t following the recipe, I forgot about the cilantro and red pepper but since I happened to have a piece of a red pepper, I happened to add it anyway. I also squeezed half a lime which I was using for the guacamole too. Now, here is my attempt to capture the recipe I followed in tonight’s winged creation.

Marina’s Winged Tacos
Diced onion, whichever kind you have
Minced garlic, or finely chopped
Red pepper or chili pepper, if available
1/2 lb. – 1 lb. extra firm tofu (1 lb. will make 4 servings)
Enough chili powder to coat all tofu
Cumin, about half the amount of the chili powder
Half fresh squeezed lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped cilantro, if available
Corn tortillas

You start this recipe off by sauteing the onion and garlic in some olive oil, you can also add the red pepper at this time. Once it becomes translucent, add the tofu and mix well with the onions. Sprinkle chili powder to cover all pieces of tofu, dump spice jar cap full of cumin in and squeeze half a lime. Mix well and let flavors cook together. If you have anything but extra firm tofu, the tofu pieces may start to become a little more mushy and less firm. I didn’t mind that for this recipe but it was nice to have the pieces stay together so well in the first try at this.


Best way to warm your tortillas:


And here you have tacos with a little cashew cheeze from last weeks crostini recipe (will post as soon as I make it again).


One thing I have never had an issue winging is guacamole. I have somehow been able to eyeball every ingredient that I like in my guac to make pretty darn tasty guacamole, with the frequent exception of salt. I just do not like salt and when chips you try the guac with are salty, who needs salt?!

Marina’s Wing-it Guac
Roma tomatoes
Red onion
Jalapeno/green pepper/chili
Salt and pepper

I usually eyeball the amount of avocado to have enough specs of tomato, onion and half to a fourth of that amount of the green pepper (this is where your need for heat can be decided). Add enough cilantro to taste the way you prefer and be sure to mince in a garlic clove or two, again to your liking. Add as much lime juice, salt (or garlic salt if you don’t have fresh garlic) and pepper as you please and viola! You have your very own wing-it guac! Perfect topping to any taco, or in fact, anything!!!


Now go spread those wings and make something yummy!!