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Old 01-01-2007, 05:40 PM   #1
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Improvising

I was inspired by a new cookbook my lovely wife gave me for Christmas: The Improvisational Cook last night and decided I would improvise after making some popcorn on the skillet.

I added some creamy peanut butter to a sauce pan and and warmed at very low heat for about 20 seconds until completely melted, and drizzled on top of the popcorn as you would caramel. The result? Heaven for all Peanut Butter lovers.

What kind of cook are you? Do you tend to follow recipes or just 'feel' your way through cooking? I find it really hard to follow any recipe, which could be why a lot of my food uses the same spices, herbs, fat, etc. How do you get over that hurdle?

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Old 01-01-2007, 05:57 PM   #2
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I rarely, if ever, follow recipes exactly EXCEPT for baking & certain other desserts. Baked goods, custards, etc., etc., really need to be followed fairly closely EXCEPT for adding extra "goodies". For instance, I always add more nuts, fruit, etc., etc., than the recipe calls for & have never had a problem. But as far as the basic ingredients for the base of the dessert, I do not waver.

However, I find my experimenting with recipes results in the exact opposite of you. My recipes end up with all sorts of different spices, herbs, fats, etc. I think what you need to do is to STICK rigidly to different recipes for awhile in order to get used to using different ingredients & enjoying different tastes. If you're changing recipes in order to get back to the same old same old you're familiar with, what's the point?
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:04 PM   #3
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Explains why I really do not and cannot bake very well ;)

My problem is, I cook conceptually, and my pallet hasn't witnessed or can't identify those extra herbs and spices.

So when I think .. I have a chicken, what should I do with it? I immediately think of different ways to use the spices I am familiar with (Basically all Italian herbs/spices)

I guess what I need to do is really try to stick with a posted recipe and start varying on flavori instead of cooking method. I just hope I enjoy the outcome.. ;)
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #4
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I hardly follow a recipe to the T... usually the first time I try a recipe, I will stick close to directions, but then after that I will make it my own. I guess I just need a good starting point!
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:37 PM   #5
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Stinemates - that's really the best way to do it.

You'll never know what new tastes you might really love if you don't try them out to begin with. And if a recipe sounds interesting to begin with, how bad can it really turn out? Especially with chicken recipes, how much are you really out if you don't exactly love it?
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sattie
I hardly follow a recipe to the T... usually the first time I try a recipe, I will stick close to directions, but then after that I will make it my own. I guess I just need a good starting point!
Me too, Sattie!
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:57 PM   #7
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Like most of you have said....

Cooking is a... "recipe" that one uses as a guide...New recipes I usually follow pretty closely...the first time

Baking is a...."formula" that requires following to the letter. (Most of the time)
That's is why I "cook" and do not do a lot of 'baking"
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:10 PM   #8
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I've never really thought of myself as much of a baker but throughout this past year, my son has been complimenting my baked goods. I kinda never really sort of not follow a recipe. I'll share my next baking adventure with you;
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Old 01-01-2007, 10:08 PM   #9
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When I try a new recipe for the first time I follow the complete directions. Second time around...if I really like the recipe...I will follow. Sometimes I choose to make minor adjustments...or get rid of the recipe...try a new one.

Baking follow the recipe and sometimes make "tiny" adjustments. I keep trying new recipes until I find the ones I prefer. Keep updating changing my recipes....more than making changes in the recipes. Does that make sense?
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aria
When I try a new recipe for the first time I follow the complete directions. Second time around...if I really like the recipe...I will follow. Sometimes I choose to make minor adjustments...or get rid of the recipe...try a new one.

Baking follow the recipe and sometimes make "tiny" adjustments. I keep trying new recipes until I find the ones I prefer. Keep updating changing my recipes....more than making changes in the recipes. Does that make sense?
If you know the basics for making something and you find a recipe in that category that has some major changes, you might want to pass on using it. An example might be for a recipe that normally calls for 1 lb butter and you find a similar recipe that calls for 2 lbs of butter.
If you are new to cooking thai food, compare several recipes for the same dish before making it. Could save you time & money.
People who do not want to share their favorite recipes can always say no, it's a family recipe; you can find a similar one at DC. It's not fair to give out a recipe and make a "little" change because you really didn't want to share it.
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