I am proud to present this recipe as it is a classic, summer, mediterranean dish that embodies what I love about cooking.
It is essentially this instinctual, adjust-as-you-go way of cooking associated mainly with traditional home cooking and slowly perfected through repetition & learning from your mistakes. The approach of the modern chef however has become an exact science that in a way, takes all the fun out of it. I’m not knocking it, I just prefer the other way.
I know that analyzing the exact quantities and cooking temperatures, or knowing the 1/10/100 rule for pasta boiling will eventually yield better and more consistent results, but I miss the flow I get into whilst cooking when I do that.
It’s funny how my grandmother boils pasta using that exact 1/10/100 ratio but doesn’t even know it… I measured once out of curiosity without her knowing to see if she was close…
For instance, standardizing this recipe that she cooks to perfection every time would call for exactly the same rice & vine leaves to be used each & every time it’s made. Part of the fun though is knowing how to adjust to what ingredients the farmers market had to offer last Thursday & maybe a different type of rice that will require more or less water.
Therein lies the emotional part of cooking in my opinion. Trying to gauge how the ingredients you are using are going to react and therefore adjusting your methods slightly brings you closer to nature, and if you happen to grow your own vegetables as well then you are part of a very special process that really soothes & feeds the soul.