You may have noticed by now, I am not much for detailed recipes.  My goal is simply to provide inspiration. I don’t usually list ingredients up front, and I often estimate or encourage you to experiment with substitutions.  Most things that I cook do not require sophisticated skills, equipment, or ingredients.  If you change a little bit here or there, not one will be the wiser.

When I was first learning to cook, I was a by the book, word for word, step by step kind of girl.  I needed to know exactly how many carrots to use and exactly how long to bake them for.  One time in college, I tried to make chocolate chip cookies from some recipe I found online.  The recipe had a major typo – it said to use 1/2 cup of salt, instead of 1/2 tsp of salt.  But here is the best part – I did it! 

Well, I’ve come along way since then.  I still follow recipes on occasion, mostly for baked goods or sauces where proportions can really make a difference.   Other times, I just take inspiration from recipes I find on the food network, in magazines, or on other blogs, and change ingredients to suit my taste (and my pantry).  More often, I just make it up as I go.  My CSA membership has encouraged this even more. 

Tonight for example, I had tri-tip steak defrosted in the refrigerator, but didn’t have any plans for what to serve with it.  I needed something quick because we were going to try to eat at the same time as the Little Man, and Cheerios were only going to last him so long.  So, I opened the produce drawer and found carrots and swiss chard (both from my CSA box).  I have never made those three things together in my life, but thought it might work out.  And it was in fact, quite delicious. 

So, here’s what I did.  I set the oven to 400 and started peeling the carrots.  I got them on a baking sheet, drizzled olive oil over them, and sprinkled some kosher salt over them (This is a fantastic way to cook carrots – my absolute favorite!). 

On to the steak!  I heated olive oil in a pan over medium high heat until it was sizzling.  I sprinkled the steak with some Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (which is a really easy but effective way to season meat, by the way) and placed in the pan.  I flipped it around until browned on all sides and then put the lid on the pan to help the steak cook through.

Next I put olive oil in a second pan and brought it up to medium high heat.  I sliced an onion and the swiss chard.  I started with just the onion in the pan (sofrito effect) and then added the swiss chard.  The chard melted down like spinach.  I thought it might be a little bitter on its own, so I decided to add a bit of sweetness with a dressing of sorts.  I sprinkled it with kosher salt, then added a few shakes of balsamic vinegar, a splash of Worcestershire, and a squeeze of Dijon mustard and mixed.  I was careful not to add to much of the “dressing” because I thought it could be overkill. 

Right about then, the steak and carrots were looking done.  I piled the swiss chard onto the plates first and placed the carrots on top.  I sliced the tri tip and added it to the pile. 

Delish and nutrish (and it even looked a bit fancy)!