Good morning. The waffles were different this morning, the sourdough sponge a little denser than yesterday’s, as yesterday’s was looser than the one from the day before. The ingredients and measurements remain the same each day, but they react to the yeast and the lactobaccili in the starter in singular ways, every time. There’s something emotionally helpful about that for anyone housebound and prone to dark moods, this chance to observe dough and therefore life as a farmer does her fields each morning, as a clammer does his patch of water and mud. There’s wonder everywhere, if only you look for it. Look for it. It might be in a tree outside your window, in the patch of sky you can see if you crane your neck, in the herbs you’re growing, in the nest the swans are building on that open stretch of marsh across the street. Beats sulking.
Wonder should absolutely be in your cooking, even if and perhaps especially if you’re working with a limited pantry and using only our recipes as a spur to your imagination. What if you make this five-ingredient creamy miso pasta (above) with five other ingredients, or only four? Wonderful. What if you used sourdough starter in this Dutch baby? Or painted Alfredo sauce onto pizza dough for a homemade Domino’s vibe? Same deal.
I’d like to riff on this recipe for curry chicken breasts with chickpeas and spinach. I’d like to go whole hog on this potato-leek gratin, with a little bacon because I have it, and Cheddar because I don’t have Gruyère. What might you do to approximate this salmon and parsley sauce, or to improve upon this chicken bog?
Experiment with soups. Introduce yourself to new sandwiches. Make cauliflower gnocchi on Sunday. I’m betting you have the time, at least one of these days real soon.