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Old 12-23-2004, 09:37 AM   #1
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Do You Follow A Recipe??

On another site this conversation came up..and I now see under my ? re browning meat the same discussion has been opened. Do you follow a recipe exactly or do you make your own creative changes without trying it the authors way first?
As for me if I have never made a dish before...such as something ethnic...that I'm not familiar with I will research lots of recipes...I call them ideas..and then I either pick the one that looks right to me or I combine.
When it comes to foods I'm familiar and comfortable with...such as stews and braises..I tend to use a recipe as an idea..but feel very comfortable making changes...I like the freedom of creativity when I cook...and using exact measurements is confining.
When it comes to baking measuring is more important..but why not use pecans instead of walnuts, or choc. chips instead of butterscotch??
What are your thoughts on this??

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Old 12-23-2004, 09:40 AM   #2
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hiya chez suz.
i'm pretty much the same as you, except i don't bake. if i'm not all that familiar with the techniques or ingredients, i try to follow a recipe that i think i can handle.
if it is something i know, i almost always experiment a little.
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:49 AM   #3
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I will usually follow a recipe exactly the first time I make it. That way I know what the author was envisioning. After that I will tweak it to suit my needs. I do sometimes make exceptions to this rule, but not often.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:05 PM   #4
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Yes, no, maybe, sometimes, not exactly, it depends.

When it comes to French sauces - I'm pretty close to the book.

If I'm trying to recreate a dish, I'll generally stick pretty close to the recipe. But, I don't freak out if the recipe calls for a 24 oz can of diced tomatoes and what I have on hand is a 20 oz can. If a recipe call for a cup of diced onion - I'll dice the onion I have on hand and if it looks about like a cup (+ or -) that's what I use, without measuring. Same goes for herbs and spices ... sometimes I'll add a little more to "taste" since there is no way of knowing if my dry herbs are the same brand/age as the ones the author used. Of course, some nights are what my son calls my "Iron Chef" moments ... I just wing it with what is on hand - sweet-n-sour pork might be chicken, pepper steak might be pepper pork, stuffed chicken breasts might be stuffed chicken thighs, etc.

I tend to stick closer to the recipe in baking - but, I have no problems making changes there, either.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:15 PM   #5
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Great topic. I have found that I can't follow a recipe without changing something. If it says use soy sauce I may ouse oyster sauce instead. If it says use 1 teaspoon of basil I use 2 teaspoons. I don't know why I do this. I have messed up many times doin this but continue this course. My family often says.....Dad...it was perfect when you made it before...why did you change it :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:17 PM   #6
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I just made Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies..added white chocolate chips too..why not?? By the way they are great..recipe listed under desserts.

Also made Buckys Chicken and Mushroom dish....changed techniques..cut up chicken in 10 rather than 1/4's cooked white meat less time than darkmeat..method learned from David Rosengarten..but the
bottom line is its Buckys chicken that my husband said smells real good changes or not!
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:41 PM   #7
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The only time I follow a recipe exactly is when baking.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:43 PM   #8
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Baking is just about the only time I follow a recipe too. I like to play with my food when I'm cooking!
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Old 12-23-2004, 05:39 PM   #9
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I occasionally, like you chez, use a recipe and follow it if never cooked it before, especially with pastries and cakes which are more exact than savory or meats. Then wtih ethnic foods usually the same. But I love cooking and part of that is being creative with ingredients. For instance, I do not like tarragon (or anything that tastes like licorice) so I substitute one of my favorites, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram. I am a very creative person and this is probably why I love to cook. Also, I was pleased when I discovered that Julia Child usually cooks with white vermouth over the other drinkable wines, because that is what I have always done. I would not put the vermouth into glass and drink it, however, try carmelizing onions or mushrooms in vermouth and butter (or for more low cal chicken broth).

Good thread, chez
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Old 12-23-2004, 05:42 PM   #10
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Thanks Norg...when you say carmelize w/vermoth are you deglazing the pan the mushrooms have cooked in or are you adding the vermoth and letting it cook down?
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Old 12-23-2004, 05:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chez suz
Thanks Norg...when you say carmelize w/vermoth are you deglazing the pan the mushrooms have cooked in or are you adding the vermoth and letting it cook down?
I have done both, but I like cooking it down , especially when I am using it in a sauce, the mushrooms seem to take on the flavor.
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Old 12-23-2004, 05:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chez suz
Thanks Norg...when you say carmelize w/vermoth are you deglazing the pan the mushrooms have cooked in or are you adding the vermoth and letting it cook down?
Try that with Balsamic Vinegar(cook it down) instead of wine with the shrooms. Yummy!

I am makin some tonight after the witch goes to bed.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:09 PM   #13
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Kinda, sorta, maybe, it depends.

Most of the time, no. Usually cook without a book.

But if I am trying a new recipe that is complicated and from a book I trust (like Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia) will try to adhere as best I can, at least the first time.

And agree with other posters that for ethnic dishes I am not familiar with, will try to adhere to the recipe, again for the first time I try it.

Otherwise, if a recipe seems interesting will typically put my own spin on it.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:32 PM   #14
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Good idea Bang using Balsamic vinegar...I'm marinating a Chuck Roast in Balsamic overnite...recipe posted below in beef section....should add a nice spin to the dish.
When using balsamic in a vinagrette..if not using old and aged add a hit of honey it will give you the sweetness of the old aged vinegar...and not the cost!!
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:44 PM   #15
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No. Never. Well, almost never. My friends call me the " Tweaker" because I change every recipe they give me....
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:44 PM   #16
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I normally follow a recipe the first time I make it, especially if it's something I haven't made before or it's a variation of a recipe I normally use. I figure, the person who created the recipe knows more than I do. Who am I to second guess the author?

I also don't lose any sleep over not having the exact amounts or ingredients.

Due to personal dislikes, there are ingredients I refuse to use. Cilantro is one of them. I'll follow a recipe, but make it without the cilantro or I'll substitute with curly parsley, depending on the dish.

Once I prefect a recipe to my satisfaction, I start to experiment with amounts, ingredients, techniques, etc. That's what happened with Goodweed's pancake recipe. I made it a couple of times the way it was written, then I started to experiment and let him know what I did. I ended up adding a bit of vanilla and discovered you can mix up the batter the night before and keep in in the fridge. The next morning, the pancakes are even better. The flavor is more developed and the rest period made for an absolutely tender pancake.

When it comes to baking, I follow the directions. I will, however, tweak a recipe until it suits me and the conditions I cook in. I also combine techniques until I find something that works. I do a lot of experimenting, knowing full well that until I reach my goal, I'll make a lot of junk.
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:06 PM   #17
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i don't use recipes.
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:14 PM   #18
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I fit right in with the follow the recipee as close as possible the first time. The thing I foget to do is write down on the hundreds of print outs I have is how I should tweak them the next time. Does anyone hear remember to do that or do you all have photographic memories???

I don't post often but I'm keeping a close eye on you guys
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:24 PM   #19
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Nope... I never remember. My hubby always complains that I never give
him the same thing twice. I really need to start writing things down.
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:33 PM   #20
 
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I find it hard to stay on a given "recipe", when I am cooking, for reasons other members have already stated...you don't have enough of one, you like a tad more of this, its too thick, or too thin, the spice is too old, or too fresh (who said the author's stuff was fresh or stale?), are "Danm, wouldn't it be neat, if I...."...(yes, akin the car crashes where the last "normal" words spoken are "Hold my beer while I...")

In baking, and in certain sauces, tho', its a bit more of a chemistry set, as ingredients have to interact fairly precisely and at the right time...so "tweaking" usually gives poor results...one of the many reasons I am a lousy baker!...My mother told me, so many years ago..."You'll never succeeed in baking; you cannot stop "ditzing" with the stuff"...Alas, as usual, she was right...

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