What do I love the most about my mom’s cooking? I could ramble, but I’ll stick to the simple answer. She’s flexible, adaptable, and spontaneous. I believe flexibility distinguishes a great cook from its “good” counterpart. A great cook can look at a recipe and instantly know if it is worth a go. Does it have intriguing flavor combinations? Would it be a party favorite, or rather something that would go over well with the Supper Club? Once a great cook identifies a good recipe, he/she also knows instinctively how to improve it. Maybe a baked chocolate confection calls for two tablespoons of water, but you use some of your leftover morning coffee instead—we all know a little coffee goes a long way when it comes to highlighting the rich flavor of chocolate.
My mom is inspiring in the kitchen. Sometimes she follows recipes to a T; sometimes she uses them as a loose reference; but most of the time, she wings it using whatever she has on hand—and every time, her food is phenomenal.
Photo: A Dash of Sass
Like mother, like daughter. I always use whatever I have on hand as well. I was frantically searching for a way to satisfy my love of warm oatmeal cookies and milk and my desire to fit into skinny jeans (not easy living in the South). I then came across this recipe for Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Dash of Sass. I had a random assortment of items on hand, so I used this as a rough guide. I swapped whole wheat flour for all purpose flour and egg beaters for the egg (it was all I had); I chopped four different (extremely) dark chocolate bars into chunks (left over from my Valentine’s Day packages from my mom); and I omitted the nuts (not my first choice, but didn’t have them).
The cookies were moist and rich, sans guilt trip. The nutty whole wheat flower paired perfectly with the hearty oatmeal, and the dark chocolate chunks added a depth of flavor that was sheer decadence.
How many times have I made them since I discovered the recipe? I’ll never tell.