Adaptations, On my Mind.



Recipes knock on my door everyday.  They come in, take off their shoes, and make a complete mess of my kitchen. They stick around for a few days, really get comfortable… and then the recipes leave.  Actually, the recipes make their permanent home here at Joy the Baker… but they’re out of my life once they’re adapted perfected and cleaned up after.

But!  What if I’m not done with the recipes?  What if I want them to stick around a while? There’s not a lot of time for an extended recipe stay when I’m always trying to create something new new new… but here are five things I have in mind. Please consider this a much needed mindshare.

Take this Quick and Easy Spanakopita from Martha Stewart. This recipe is solid… although not completely quick. The Spanakopita is made with traditional filo dough, and a spinach and feta mixture. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I believe this dish is best served with kale instead of spinach.  Really… either way it’s a lovely meal. Add spicy chili flakes for added interest.


The real life application of Kale Spanakopita (Kale-akopita?) involves a slow fried egg and two pieces of black forest bacon.

Kale instead of spinach. Bacon instead of the absence of bacon.  Chili flakes for heat.


I’m teaching myself how to make crepes.  I have to teach myself before I can come to you with any sort of recipe and instructions.

This is my first round of crepes made in my humble, nonstick saute pan.  These crepes were inspired by Gluten Free Girl and the Chef.  Thanks for the lesson!!

Ham and Cheese Crepes reign supreme.


I can’t stop thinking about this White Bean Bundt Cake I made a few weeks back.  This cake is just such a lovely base.

I am convinced that this cake should immediately be turned into a cinnamon swirled, pecan studded coffee cake!

This cake would also thrive with a generous raspberry jam swirl.  So major!

The task is yours.  Show me pictures when you’re done!


Remember the Coconut Crab Rice I made a few weeks back?

I can’t help but think that this rice, day old, would make an amazing fried rice, served with a soft boiled egg.

And!  If you know me at all… you know that it is my instinct to add roasted kale to this dish.

Let’s marry Crunchy Kale and Coconut Crab Rice… few things would be more perfect.


And it all comes down to a simple pot of beans.  Possible the most willingly adaptable item in the kitchen.

I’ve recently been 100% inspired by Tamar Alder’s An Everlasting Meal.  I know that I’ve already chewed your ear off about this book, it just continues to excite me.

I read and re-read the chapter about beans while I was away in London. I returned home and immediately put together a pot of beans to soak.  I now have the tender cooked beans, in their amazingly flavorful bean liquor in my fridge, and I’ve enjoyed them for a handful of meals.

Dry beans are covered in cold water and soaked overnight.  Once a day has passed, the water is drained and replaced, covering the beans with about 2 inches of water.  The water is then enhanced with any kitchen odds and ends you might have on hand:  parsley stems, the buts of an onion and fennel bulb, fennel frawns, a bay leaf, a dried chili, a hearty dose of good olive oil, salt and pepper.  Beans are simmered to a dance and cooked until thoroughly tender.  When stored in their liquid, beans are flavorful and delicious for days and days.  I’ve eaten them on everything from buttery rice to scrambled eggs.  I’ve even mashed beans and served them on avocado-topped crackers.

I’m so smitten by the simplicity of the bean making process.  It’s romantic.  It really is.

I come to you every few days with recipes.  Sure… you know how to follow instructions and find success.  I hope this also inspires you to think beyond the recipe.  I hope this inspires you to make food that you don’t hover over with a camera.  When in doubt, add kale, add a heaping dose of good jam, add a hearty turn of olive oil.  Dip and submerge and soak.  Try something beyond!

70 thoughts on “Adaptations, On my Mind.

  1. Never underestimate the power of a good pot of beans….they usually get a nice long soak on Sunday nights at my house, and then a nice slow simmer on Monday, and are consumed with great enjoyment all week long (especially by my 13-month-old son….total bean enthusiast.) I especially love throwing some crazy farmer’s market cheese rind in with the cooking beans (everything’s better with cheese, right?)

  2. What IS the satisfaction in cooking beans? I noticed the first thing when I did it too. You just feel so. . . what? Romantic is true, but there is something else too. Resourceful, or self-sufficient maybe. It takes you back in time or something. I don’t know, but I love it. It feels sustaining and healthy and old-fashioned. And that bundt cake. . . . Can’t wait to try it. I thought the same thing when I saw it the first go round. I need to make that one soon. Bundt cakes are the love of my dessert life!!

  3. I love this post, especially that last paragraph. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the need to try out new recipes and come up with new posts that you forget that sometimes food is just for eating & enjoying.

  4. An Everlasting Meal to be purchased come summer when we are back in the states… maybe at the new Book Larder in Seattle. Can’t wait to check out the book and the new store!
    It’s exciting and at times overwhelming how many recipes we come across- I’m actually getting backed up on things I want to post… especially with spring on our heels.
    As for crepes- they are a divine medium with the ability to satisfy the sweet and savory. In a way like philo pastry. They tend to hang out with you in the kitchen for long periods of time, never overstaying their welcome. For Sunday brunch, it was buckwheat crepes with sauteed green & white asparagus, mushrooms, schinken, gouda, fresh thyme and mornay. Today with the leftover crepes, maybe a version of that and/or jam, berries and lightly sweetened cream.
    Coconut crab rice is on for summer.

  5. I really like this post and felt the same way reading “An Everlasting Meal.” It just compels you to do things you don’t normally do in the kitchen, to approach food in a different way, to make simpler meals and to lovingly savor the process, as well as the end result.

    I’ve made beans, I’ve been soft-boiling eggs like there is no tomorrow and I’ve done all kinds of magical things with bread and bread crumbs. Oh, and I also got the original source–M.F.K. Fisher–out of the library. The writing is just as beautiful.

  6. Till a couple of weeks ago I completely followed recipees. Last months I learned so much (Started my blog because I wanted to cook more, try new things and cook more out of my box!)
    Now I am trying to create (my own) new recipees. Sometimes they are inspired by a already existing recipee or a post on a website. Like one from a foodblog, like yours!

    I try to challange myself to create new things with ingredients that are in my fridge and sometimes ingredients that I never used before! Step by step I am learning about ingredients, preperation techniques, photographing… love it!

  7. Hopefully (for us) recipes will never stop knocking at your door.
    I’ve learned so much about cooking/baking since I’ve started “hanging out” on your blog: meringues, cupcakes, etc…
    I’ll definitely try the White Bean Bundt Cake, with my own tweaks, and I will send you the pictures…I’ll try to impress you! :)

  8. You have such recipe ingenuity! Love all your suggested ideas! I will do my best to accept the challenges and make some of these delish dishes :)

  9. I rarely make the same thing twice too, except when requested by my boyfriend to make something specific. If I do try to make it again, it isn’t ever the same, things are added or changed, depending on what’s in the fridge or what I’m in the mood to add. Cooking doesn’t have to be precise all the time and that’s what makes it fun, adding your own twist to recipes. That bundt cake stole my heart and I wanna try it soon! And Tamar Adler, I will have to check him out.

  10. I make a spanakopita with nettles in the spring ( , have not thought of kale but would be a great winter version of spanakopita – will try! Plus I have also been cooking beans all the time after reading Tamar Adler. I got the book after reading about it here and want to thank you for the recommendation

Leave a Reply