While I am not a huge risk taker, I do love it when something pushes me outside of my comfort zone just a little bit. As my family and close friends will attest to, I love adrenaline rushes, as long as they don’t involve flying over water (I am cool with heights, but am terrified of drowning, go figure). So when this month’s The Recipe Redux challenge showed up I was psyched because it felt like a fun risk to take.
The challenge was to grab the closest cookbook and use a recipe from any page in the book that included the digits in 2016 as inspiration for a new recipe.
Why is this a risk? Because the cookbook that was closest at hand was a true favorite because the recipes are as close to perfect as I think you can get and because it already offers lots of variations, so coming up with a new version would be a challenge. Also because it is a cookbook by a chef, Rick Bayless, who loves to use spicy peppers, which was going to be tough on my kids and husband, none of who are big fans of spicy foods. But I was up to the challenge!
The recipe I landed on was his Seared Zucchini with Roasted Tomato, Chipotle and Chorizo (Tinga de Calabacitas). I decided I was going to focus on two areas of change, simplifying the recipe and making it seasonal. In order to simplify the recipe I removed two steps: rehydrating chipotle peppers and roasting tomatoes, especially since it isn’t tomato season. Instead I used chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which are canned, and canned fire roasted tomatoes. In addition, instead of zucchini I wanted to use a seasonal vegetable and ended up settling on potatoes. And that is when it hit me! I could change this sort of stew recipe into a gratin recipe instead! It would be simple, packed with flavor, and very flexible—all qualities I strive for in my recipes. Oh, and one last added bonus: the leftovers are to die for so it makes a great lunch the next day!…