"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > General Cooking
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-02-2007, 01:22 AM   #11
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: japan
Posts: 462
i can't even look at a recipe without noting what needs to be changed.

at the moment, the only time i might follow a recipe is when something is totally new to me. however, my usual approach on a totally new dish is to compare several different recipes, get the general lay of the land so to speak, and then just blast my way through it.

ok, and then there are a handful of dessert and pastry recipes that i'll follow or at least stick pretty close to. my great-grandmother's christmas pudding, grandmother's mincemeat recipe, a dynamite cranberry-almond pudding, my genoise, pie crust ratio. that sort of thing.

of course there's my little blue (falling apart) notebook that's mostly filled with my old professional recipes which i used to follow precisely (for the most part). fortunately or not, i no longer need recipes that call for things like 6 lbs. of chocolate, 3 flats of eggs, 1/2 gallon cream, 2 cups vinegar/ tarragon reduction, 1 case granny smiths, etc.

99% of my cooking now is eyeballing this, don't have this so let's use that, might as well just dump all of this in, hey a little of this would be great, better boost this up a little, and hey that's nowhere near enough brandy kind of cooking.

great fun
__________________

__________________
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
philso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2007, 02:51 AM   #12
The Dude Abides
 
TATTRAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bermuda Native in D.C./NoVA
Posts: 5,324
Send a message via AIM to TATTRAT Send a message via Yahoo to TATTRAT Send a message via Skype™ to TATTRAT
for me, recipes are NOT blueprints(unless it is baking), but suggestions. Cooking is always open to interpretation in my world. Improvising/experimenting is how new things are created, and the glory of food is, no matter what, it is not like you are mucking up a billion dollar plan if things go a rye, just start over and go again.
__________________

__________________
flickr
TATTRAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2007, 10:33 AM   #13
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 26
I usually find something at the market (on sale - like a roast or something). Then I will see what I can do with it at home. Sometimes I will go through my cookbooks to get an idea, or jump on the internet and search for recipes for whatever food that i have. I then use that as a guide and then put my own twist to the meal. It's a lot of fun and very rewarding.
__________________
Happy@Cooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2007, 10:54 AM   #14
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4,764
Send a message via MSN to urmaniac13 Send a message via Skype™ to urmaniac13
I am the improvisation queen!! Very often I invent some dishes off top of my head and wing it all the way, most of the time it works. I do look at and use various recipes but I rather use them for getting the general idea and drawing inspirations for trying something new, especially when I have some ingredient(s) I would like to try for the first time.
I would recommend following the recipes for a budding cook who is just starting, and develop the general idea about what goes well with what, which method works better for certain ingredients etc. etc... which you will acquire after a bit of experience. Then start giving a little more faith in your intuition and creativity and start experimenting!! To me, it is the most fun part of cooking.

However, after series of disasterous results, I have found it is not quite same with the baking, and I am not so experienced (or talented) enough to be too creative in baking, so I usually follow the given recipe pretty much to a T like a good girl. I would like to get to the point where I can improvise as well making cakes and breads some day though, that will be nice...
__________________
urmaniac13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2007, 02:12 AM   #15
Master Chef
 
Michael in FtW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,592
A couple of years ago I was talking to my son and a friend of ours on the radio about Moussaka when a guy we know chimed in and wated the recipe - so I gave it to him. About a month later he showed up one night and told me how lame my recipe was! The problem turned out to be not my recipe but that he had "improvised" it into a really bland lasagna!!!

I usually try a recipe just the way it is written the first time. There are flavor combinations you might not think about that are actually great together. If you just discount the recipe - there might be great flavor combinations you may never experience. Nutmeg in some Italian and Greek dishes may sound a little strange - but it's just fantastic in "context", for just one example.
__________________
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
Michael in FtW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2007, 02:45 AM   #16
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
Although I'm all for improvising, I firmly believe that anyone, beit cooks in the industry, home cooks, etc. should have a firm grip on the basics of any type of cuisine before they start improvising or else they have absolutely no foundation whatsoever. I mean, it's cool and all if you can make a white asparagus-truffle foam but if you can't make a basic beurre blanc or hollandaise then you're pretty much worthless.
__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2007, 08:44 AM   #17
Sous Chef
 
Nicholas Mosher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 768
I look at recipes as containing lots of ratios. Dry to wet, fat to acid, acid to sugars, solids to liquids, etc. Once you grasp the ratios and understand the cooking techniques involved with a dish, it's easy to modify things. The same goes for baking - but much more strict.

For most recipes I try to find the "mother" or originating recipe. This usually takes some research. From there I look at regional modifications, and contemporary examples. Then I usually try to cook the "mother" recipe to get a hold of the essence of that dish. From there I usually get a taste of what things I want to modify, and how to go about doing such.

There are very few things I cook (especially that are to be served to others) that are entirely "winged". I usually follow some sort of foundation or platform of another dish I'm experienced with and use the ratios to improvise with what ingredients are available.
__________________
Nick ~ "Egg whites are good for a lot of things; lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and clogging up radiators." - MacGyver
Nicholas Mosher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2007, 12:41 PM   #18
Senior Cook
 
stinemates's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Petaluma, CA
Posts: 250
Send a message via AIM to stinemates Send a message via MSN to stinemates Send a message via Yahoo to stinemates Send a message via Skype™ to stinemates
Thanks, ironchef, nick.

I appreciate that advice quite a bit. My Hollandaise is iffy, btw. Sometimes it breaks, sometimes it's perfect. ;x It's all about heat, I think! :X
__________________
stinemates is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2007, 01:22 PM   #19
Executive Chef
 
YT2095's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Just left of Europe and down a bit.
Posts: 3,875
Send a message via MSN to YT2095
as a Die-Hard Experimenteer, I can`t help but improvise (kitchen or otherwise).
I can`t even open a can of soup without adding Something to it, I don`t read any recipe books anymore unless I want to reproduce something VERY Specific to try it.
but I`m a Cook, and Not a cheff, so I can get away with a multitude of sins that way :)

and beyond Breads, and the occacional Pie crust, I don`t bake anything.
Happily my Wife has recently shown an interest in this area, so as a Unit, all things should be just great now :)
__________________
So long and Thanks for all the Fish ;)

YT2095 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2007, 01:39 PM   #20
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,370
It all depends...

If I want to cook a classic dish for the first time, I collect several recipes from respected sources and compare. I may choose one of the recipes or combine interesting aspects of several. That's how I know what it's "supposed" to taste like.

On the other hand, I can do a Chinese style stirfry without a recipe and often do. However, if I want hot and sour soup, I have to be sure to include certain ingredients and follow certain steps.
__________________

__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.