Mustard Vinaigrette and Too Creative to Cook?

Hi everyone. I was speaking with a Celebrity-Home-Chef-in-training and we were discussing how it can be tough to be a creative person and to still be able to follow instructions for a recipe. Some of us march to the beat of our own drum and it can be a challenge to have to follow directions, even in a recipe. I call it the “free spirit” or “the carefree cook”. This is a great attribute in a person or if you are already an accomplished, confident cook. If we are struggling in the kitchen, however, this otherwise appealing characteristic could be what is discouraging us from cooking on a consistent basis.

Let me clarify: If we do not pay attention to the details of measurements, (“what’s the difference, Tablespoon, heaping Tablespoon-? Who cares?”) ,this could greatly alter a recipe, rendering it too sweet or salty or even inedible. If we consciously or unconsciously feel a need to be true to our sense of self, maybe feel that we are too care free to be tied down, even with a recipe, we may be unaware that we are sabotaging our efforts in the kitchen.

Let’s face it, if we put in too much or too little of any ingredient, it can, potentially, negatively affect a recipe enough to make the cooking process feel like a waste of time. Why would we want to spend all that time again when it did not come out well?

If, however, we make a concerted effort to pay close attention to the exact measurements of ingredients or cut the vegetables exactly as instructed, the recipe may just turn out great, motivating us to continue cooking. When we have successfully mastered a recipe, we can then be creative and add or subtract different ingredients to play around with it. Like anything else, we will have a solid foundation upon which we can build.

We need to look at the big picture and understand that the instant gratification we may get from being creative yet unsuccessful in a single cooking attempt may be keeping us from having consistent, successful cooking behaviors in the long run. As Dr. Phil would say, “is that workin’ for you?”

So, that being said, here’s a recipe to practice with. My friend Maggie gave it to me and our other friend, William, gave it to her. So, who does the recipe actually “belong” to? That is an etiquette question we will discuss in a future blog…

You would not want to over-caper or over-vinegar this recipe. It would taste terrible. Consider it a challenge , follow the instructions EXACTLY, and enjoy!

Take baby red potatoes, 1/4 them, roast with salt and olive oil at 450 until tender and put this sauce on them.

Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tbs red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar or lemon juice (I used red wine vinegar)
2 shallots finely diced (I used 2 TBS minced red onion)
1 minced garlic clove
salt and milled pepper
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs creme fraiche (but can use lowfat sour cream)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbs snipped chives (I had none so used none)
1 tbs chopped parsley
3 tbs capers, rinsed

combine vinegar,shallots, garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Let stand 15
minutes. Then vigorously whisk mustard, creme fraiche and oil until thick
and smooth. Grind in pepper then stir in herbs and capers. Pour over potatoes,leeks, asparagus or even fish.


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