Time off from work has allowed me to rediscover something that brings me much joy, cooking. Please note that I said cooking, and not baking. See the problem with baking, for me, is that you really do need to follow the recipe exactly. Otherwise you end up with curdled buttercream frosting. I need there to be room for mistakes. While there are disasters to be had in cooking, I have found you can really deviate from most non-baking recipes and still end up with something tasty. That said, don't be surprised if I occasionally attempt to bake. But do be surprised if it's successful.
My #1 reason for deviating from recipes is missing ingredients. I don't let lack of an ingredient stop me from making something. I just take the recipe in a slightly different direction without the ingredient that I'm missing and with something I have on hand. I make it up as I go along.
I've done this so much that sometimes I just look at recipes online for inspiration and then create something different, but related to, the original. Tonight, for instance, I knew I had mangos and at least once a week I make Hoisin Honey Salmon. I googled hoisin and mango and found this recipe: http://debishawcrossblog.com/archives/2106. The recipe for the salsa portion of this dish gave me the inspiration to come up with my Strawberry Mango Salsa to go on the Hoisin Honey Salmon.
(Since I don't follow recipes myself, I don't expect you to either, all amounts are rough approximates.)
Mango Strawberry Salsa on Hoisin Honey Salmon
1 mango, diced
2-3 strawberries, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 serrano pepper, seeded and deveined, minced
2 thin slices of red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp freshly grated ginger
3/4 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp mirin
Squeeze of lime
Squirt of Sriracha
Just mix all ingredients in a bowl!
And as for the Honey Hoisin Salmon. It's roughly 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce to 1 tsp of honey. Make as much as you need to cover your piece of salmon and bake in the oven to your liking. Oh, and I always start by seasoning my salmon first with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.