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Old 05-13-2009, 05:11 PM   #1
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Experimental Cooking

My cooking is, for the most part, entirely experimental. I have a fun little ability to mix flavors, spices in my head. I'm something of a novice, but I tend to make some interesting things, but what's problematic is that I don't use "standard measurements." I don't use tablespoons, teaspoons, so I never know how much exactly I've added, and friends and family keep insisting I write down the recipes, which, understandably, is an issue when all I can tell them is "some of this, a bit more of this, just a tiny bit of this, and a lot of this." Is there any good way to judge that? I never make anything twice, so I typically can't recall it, beyond the ingredients, so I'd only be able to do it while cooking the meal, kind of as I went.

Also, I'd like some ideas for interesting spices. I've worked with garam masala, ginger, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a LITTLE tarragon, but I'd like to expand from there, as it's woefully little experience. Interesting base ingredients, too, would be fantastic.

@_@ That's a lot of stuff to ask at once. I'm not sure if that's kosher, but hopefully it's alright.

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Old 05-13-2009, 05:36 PM   #2
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Nah, it's fine

We rarely use measurements for food either, most is "to taste" or by feel. The only time we do use measurements really is when we first try a recipe, we want to see how they intended it to be first before changing anything to our tastes. Judging the amount to try and tell someone how much you used just comes from experience using both measurement and feel.

My DW, when in school, used recipes, or as they call them in the culinary world "formulas". These "formulas" are called that simply because of how you can change the volume of each ingredient to match the number of servings you cook. Cooking for 2 is a lot different than cooking for 1500 ... you don't just put in a "pinch" of garlic into something that feeds that many, so you mathematically enlarge the "pinch" to a #10 can of garlic

As far as spices go, there are too many combination's to think of really, my biggest suggestion is to try to use fresh spices if at all possible, they are much stronger in flavor and better tasting too.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingfisher View Post
My cooking is, for the most part, entirely experimental. I have a fun little ability to mix flavors, spices in my head. I'm something of a novice, but I tend to make some interesting things, but what's problematic is that I don't use "standard measurements." I don't use tablespoons, teaspoons, so I never know how much exactly I've added, and friends and family keep insisting I write down the recipes, which, understandably, is an issue...

You know the solution to your own problem.

When it becomes important enough to you to be able to share or duplicate a recipe, you'll write it down as you create it.

It' really kind of difficult to tell you what herbs and spices you should try next. Read about different herbs and spices and try the ones that intrigue you.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:37 PM   #4
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I'm the same way, Kingfisher.

As some of my friends from nct will testify on my behalf :)
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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you'll write it down as you create it.
I agree. Keep a notebook handy, there may come a time that you need / want a recipe to come out exactly as the last time. You may want to consider purchasing "The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page ".
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:28 AM   #6
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Since you just cook by putting in a pinch of this and a bit of that what I would recommend doing if you really want to learn how much you are using is use a scale. Keep it next to your stove and as you take a pinch of whatever just throw it on the scale first and then put it in the food. Assuming it is enough to register on the scale this will get you used to how much you are using of different things. After a while you won't need the scale anymore. You will know by feel how much you are using.
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #7
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Hi kingfisher!!!!!

First, hope the wild mushroom bread pudding turned out!!!

Gotta run - be back soon - customer!
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:46 PM   #8
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you're too cute, elf! :)
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
Since you just cook by putting in a pinch of this and a bit of that what I would recommend doing if you really want to learn how much you are using is use a scale. Keep it next to your stove and as you take a pinch of whatever just throw it on the scale first and then put it in the food. Assuming it is enough to register on the scale this will get you used to how much you are using of different things. After a while you won't need the scale anymore. You will know by feel how much you are using.
That's a fantastic idea, thank you very much! Heh, now I just have to get ahold of a scale. :P

Thank you in general, to everyone who's responded. @_@ This forum is rather more active than I expected! I'll have to look around, and check out everything.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:15 PM   #10
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I am also the type to raid the spice drawer when cooking. Having a note book handy in the kitchen is great. I keep my net book in the kitchen when I am cooking. I write notes on it and can access the internet in a flash.

Sometimes it is not my goal to make a new recipe. Many times my goal is to use up ingredients that people have given me. When people ask I tell them the story. "Well I found out I needed a potluck dish so I dumped in a can of tomatoes and a splash of this, handful of that. ect...".

People know its dump and stir.
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