Cooking Without Measuring

I was recently perusing through the ‘coming soon!’ section of barnesandnobles.com. A book called ‘Cooking Beyond Measure’ struck my eye–it’s a cookbook that stresses the individualization of cooking versus a slavish dedication to a recipe. I thought this was great! This is the way I cook–I very rarely follow recipes exactly. Someone’s written a book about it!

I told my boyfriend, who is a trained chef, about it. He thought it was a terrible idea. Why should we trust the general public to decide they want 1/2 cup of onions versus 3/4 cup?! Their taste buds aren’t trained! Their palate may be off! The dish might not come out 100% perfect!

I’ve found that a lot of my clients don’t cook a lot because they have the notion that a home-cooked dinner has to be complicated and involve lots of ingredients (some of which they may not have, such as obscure spices). I disagree. Your cooking is what you make of it. Sometimes you may choose to follow a complicated recipe from the latest Gourmet magazine. Other times, however, you may choose to throw what ingredients you do have into a pot, cook it, and hope for the best.

In the spirit of Cooking Beyond Measure (which I will review here when it is released), I will share a measure-less recipe of my dinner last night. It was a variation of the quinoa salad I made last week. I’m sure I’ll make it again, and I’m sure the proportion of everything will change–and still be just as tasty.

Hadley’s Measureless Quinoa Salad

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
Celery, chopped
Firm tofu, cubed
Basil, minced
Roasted red pepper, chopped
Fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob
French feta, crumbled
Fresh lemon juice
Olive oil

Rinse quinoa well. Combine with water, bring to a boil, add salt, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tofu and celery. Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until water has evaporated. Cool slightly. Add basil, roasted red pepper, corn. Stir. Add lemon juice and olive oil to taste. When cooled, stir in french feta, to taste. Enjoy!

Next time I make it, I’m going to add greens–e.g., spinach, swiss chard, kale–when I add the tofu and celery.

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2 thoughts on “Cooking Without Measuring

  1. Jean Johnson says:

    Hadley,

    Thank you for your interest in measure free cooking and my forthcoming book. Your recipe note looks great.

    And on your clients that their attitude toward cooking, my point precisely. When too fine a point gets put on cooking people tend not want to hang in the kitchen and instead consume more ready-to-eat than their health and wealth can afford.

    here’s to the measure free revolution
    Jean Johnson
    http://www.measurefree.com

    Best,

  2. Pickle Pam says:

    I made this dish this weekend and just had the last of my leftovers for lunch. I think this is going into the regular rotation. I feel like even though I’ve finished with your program, you are still teaching me through this blog. Thanks! Pam

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