Awesome # 285: When You Improve a Cookbook Recipe

I spent quite some time yesterday cooking. I’m leaving for Quebec City for most of the week and I wanted to create meals out of much of the produce in my refrigerator so that 1. it wouldn’t to go waste and 2. I’d have a supply of delicious meals in the freezer when I return.

I chopped up the gigantic pumpkin that I bought shortly before Halloween but couldn’t bring myself to carve into a Jack-o-Lantern. Part of it I froze and part I saved for the muffins I plan on baking today. The rest I used as a primary ingredient for 2 versions of pumpkin stew – the second a huge improvement of the first.

Pumpkin Stew v.1.0

4 cups of water
3 tbsp of tomato paste
Lemon juice


1 tbsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of coriander

1 large onion, chopped
1 leek
3 cups of chopped pumpkin

1 cup of dried green lentils

*Add water, tomato paste and lemon juice to taste to your slow cooker pot. Stir until the tomato paste dissolves.
*Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Add spices.
*Add vegetables and lentils.
*Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

The first stew turned out delicious, despite the fact that the original recipe, which I’d found here, called for lime juice, vegetable stock, tumeric, and cumin, none of which I had (I replaced lime juice with lemon juice, cumin with coriander, and I added a little extra tomato paste to make up for my lack in vegetable stock). However, with tonnes more pumpkin to cook with, and the sense that this recipe would taste better had it just a hint of some other ingredients – especially, given my sweet tooth, something on the sweet side – I concocted pumpkin stew v.2.0

Pumpkin stew v.2.0 is the same recipe, only I added approximately 1.5 cups of sliced apple, some garlic and minced onion. And, having run out of lentils, I cooked it with chicken. But, regardless of whether I used chicken or lentils, in my opinion I definitely improved an original cookbook recipe.

It’s awesome when you improve a cookbook recipe because it makes you feel like a professional – it makes you feel like something of a culinary connoisseur.


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