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Old 02-20-2006, 01:47 PM   #11
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I think the dishes I consistently use a recipe for are Greek/AKA/Cincinatti chili (an old Gourmet) and Green Chili Stew (a cousin from New Mexico, who wasn't happy when I told her that I had to use Annaheims one year because I couldn't get Poblanos). And don't get me wrong, I look up lots and lots of recipes from those hundreds of books and magazines. But I also grew up with the "religion" of never throwing food away if you can help it, and that often influences what goes into my food. I have lots of friends who always follow a recipe to the letter, and their food is always great, and of course much more consistent than mine. I do have to say, though, that I cook meals more often than they do. It'll be, "OK, Hubby, there is XXXX in the fridge that has to go." Then I'll offer him a few choices in style (for example, do you want Asian, Italian, or Mexican?"). It has gotten a little more difficult since he was diagnosed with diabetes, but I have been surprised and pleased to have confirmed that I was raised in a healthy food home, learned to cook that way, and still do.

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Old 02-20-2006, 10:02 PM   #12
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I'll usually wing it if I'm cooking, unless I'm really not familiar with the recipe. I can wing certain things when baking, but only stuff that I've done dozens of times and stuff that has some leeway (for baking anyway). Most most desserts, it's better to be exact or the taste and texture will be really off!

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Old 03-18-2006, 02:30 AM   #13
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A couple years ago the Barn Muffin recipe on the Kellog's All Bran box called for Apple Sauce instead of oil. I would add nuts and rasins even though they weren't called for.

Now they are back to using 1/4 C. cooking oil no Apple Sauce. The otert indegrents are the same.

I have made some other changes to this recipe.
First I double the basic indegrents..
I use 1/2 C. brown sugar and 1/2 C. granulated sugar.
Then I add 1 large overripe banana and 1 C. Apple Sauce.
I put in 1/2 tsp of soda (for the bananas)
1 1/2 C. Rasins and 1 1/2 C. Nuts
Although not called for, I add 1 tsp vanilla.

This will make 2 Doz. muffins.

This is a prime example of how a recipe can be "rebuilt" for your preferences.

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Old 03-18-2006, 04:49 AM   #14
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I think that there are dishes in which a recipe is necessary, and others in which not. If you do "a salad", you can use nearly everything you have at home, and your dish may result delicious. But, if you want obtain a "particular" salad, then you have to respect a recipe. Otherwise you will'not have that dish but something else. The question is not "recipe or not recipe", but, perhaps, "that taste or not that taste". I bring you the example of something absolutely simple: mozzarella and tomatoes, in Capri's way.. The recipe needs boffalo mozzarella and basil (fresh). I assure you that, if you use oregan, the dish is good the same. And so happens if you use a normal mozzarella. But it is NOT THE SAME. And now we are speaking of something absolutely simple. You can well imagine what can happen when the dish is more articulated......
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:48 PM   #15
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The only reason for a recipe is to be able to reproduce the dish exactly the same way again, either by you or by someone else.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:21 PM   #16
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If you LOVE a certain dish, even if made up, then you will need a recipe to re-create that dish. I'm terrible in that I will not write certain things down and then can NEVER remember how I got it to that "oh, that is REALLY good" stage It's nice to have a recipe to replicate - it's nice to wing it but then WRITE IT DOWN....don't do like I do

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Old 03-20-2006, 09:49 PM   #17
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Consider some classic dishes from various cuisines:

Beef Stroganov from Russia
Boeuf Bourguignon from France
Osso Buco from Italy
Jambalaya from Louisiana
etc., etc.

If there weren't recipes you wouldn't know what I was talking about.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:55 PM   #18
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I find that I will get ideas and then look at multiple recipes that are similar. See what someone else might have paired with a certain meat or something for a desert. Sometimes I will combine part of one recipe with part of another.

I cook for myself alot of the time, so I have certain ways that I will prepare things that I do the same way every time. I never measure the ingredients, I do it by purportions. I know when I'm seasoning a steak for the grill, how much pepper I like how much garlic powder is enough, If I'm going to add soy and tenderize it then I might not add something, or I will add a kick and do a little ground red pepper.

Baking is another story. I like to be accurate when I bake. Sometimes I will substitute extra brown suger for regular white. But that is for the richness in flavor that I think it adds.

Free wheeling in the kitchen.

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