I'm not really all that good at improvising in the kitchen. I'm very competent at following a recipe, and over the years I've gotten better at making small substitutions or modifications... but I generally appreciation some structure and guidance to start with. That said, I do feel pretty footloose and fancy-free when it comes to Mexican flavors and seasonings. Of course, I use the term "Mexican" quite loosely, because my impressions of Mexican flavors come more from growing up in California than from years spent steeped in Mexican culinary traditions.
Lately I've thrown together some damn tasty Dinner Bowls, loosely inspired by Mexican flavors:
Just the other night I cooked up this super tasty dinner: First I cubed some winter squash and cut up some cauliflower and roasted them. Once cooked, I sauteed the veggies with my usual Mexi spices (cumin, coriander, oregano, smoked chili powder, salt and pepper). Meanwhile, I sauteed a huge bunch of kale with a little garlic, and cooked up some black beans with garlic, fresh salsa, spices and fresh cilantro. All together it was a huge, delicious mess! Full of savory flavor explosions!!
What I love about these bowls is that no two are ever alike, I can pretty much use whatever grains or veggies I've got sitting around, and the end result is guaranteed to be delicious and easy and nutritious. I'm also pretty comfortable ad-libbing my way around the kitchen with Italian flavors, but somehow I never seem to end up making Italian bowls... so maybe I'll set that as a challenge for myself! What are your most comfortable flavor combos to play with?