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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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