When cooking other, more famous, cooks’ and bloggers’ recipes, I find it is very difficult for me to reign in my creative streak, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I just have a tendency to improvise EVERYTHING and I have always been that way, even in the most seemingly rehearsed moments of my previous life – dance recitals, Master’s thesis defense, currently training for a 10-mile race – I just don’t over-prepare…ever…yet things turn out just fine really. If it ain’t a broke strategy why screw around with that, right?

Recently I made white bean burgers from Big Girls Small Kitchen and my, were they fabulous! I didn’t add breadcrumbs though and it was tricky to form the burger patties and not have them stick to everything, like my fingers, so adding b’crumbs would be a non-negotiable next time for me.

Improv gone great!

The flavor was incredible though and these were easy to pull together and fry (I used my cast-iron skillet, per the recommendations). I have made the Moosewood Cookbook’s red lentil burgers before but almost everything in that cookbook, I find, is overly complicated from the ingredients list to the prep. time required. Of course, I devour veggie burgers on the reg. but making them from scratch really does give you a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

Another ‘celeb-recipe’ I concocted recently was Roasted Shrimp Cocktail from Barefoot Contessa. I initially saw the recipe featured on an episode of Ina Garten’s show, Back to Basics Barefoot Contessa Style, and thought to give it a go. She is never(?) wrong and roasting the shrimp gives them TONS of great flavor, plus I found that roasting made them much more firm in texture without overcooking them. This picture isn’t great but the meal was perfectly balanced with vegetarian collard greens, garlic-smashed topped ciabatta bread, and roasted shrimpies. This recipe is so simple there is no need for improvising but I could imagine using this technique for cooking shrimp in the future to add to pastas.

Plus, when you are pretending to be a famous chef at home, you can buy yourself an adorable apron from Anthropologie, like so, and prance around the kitchen imagining filming your own cooking show. No? Just me?!!

Hey it was on sale and is super cheerful colors, besides, I am prone to ruining (new/favorite) clothes while cooking so it is somewhat necessary for me to have an apron.

Are you an improvisational-artist or “live & let live” pacifist with recipe replication? Say that five times fast!