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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > do you ever try to improve upon a recipe?

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message 1: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments I love to experiment with cooking. I'm always adding a spice or otherwise tinker with even my own tried and true recipes. I got this idea for a ginger-honey pork stew: I used ginger & honey of course to taste and then braised the pork in the syrup and added sweet potatoes which I then mashed up into a gravy. there were no leftovers. Sometimes, I will start supper and think,"hmmm, I wonder how it would taste if I did this..." I love to experiment. some are keepers. some are not. how about you?

message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments My improvisations rarely work out. Sigh. I try to learn from my mistakes, but most of them stem from impatience.

message 3: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I've had very bad luck whenever I try to stick to a recipe. I have to use what I know and add/delete/modify ingredients and techniques. Of course, even then it fails at times.

message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca White (rebecca_white) | 1028 comments I always go by it completely the first time. Then OCCASIONALLY I'll change something, but not because I think it'll be better, just because I want to add an ingredient or trade one out.

message 5: by Spellbound (new)

Spellbound (spellboundreads) | 117 comments The little I know about cooking I learned from my mother, no recipes, just observation. I adjust tastes by adding or subtracting ingredients according to what I have in the house, leftovers included. My meals are often a surprise and not necessarily a good one! Luckily my family and friends are full of humour.

Thank you BunWat for "The Improvisational Cook", I will definitely try to get it. Finally I can have written acknowledgement of my cooking behaviour!

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments I use a recipe as a guide, and change things when I feel like it.

message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateharper) | 206 comments I'm with Bun. Reading the recipe is just a place to start. It gives me a sense of the basic ingredients and cooking methods but then I start to think about the tastes. I have this ability to imagine a taste and then image another taste with it. It is really a physical experience for me; my mouth waters and everything just as if I were eating.

message 8: by Auntie (new)

Auntie Raye-Raye (fabulousraye) Always! It's what I used to do for a living. I rarely follow a recipe anymore.

message 9: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I follow recipes pretty closely if I'm new to the recipe, but I usually will freelance vegetables, if switching them around doesn't seem to be key, and spices. Oh, I also am getting more confident messing around baking, not necessarily with the core ingredients, but mixing different kinds of chips together or whatever.

message 10: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments And to get this straight:

So far, mostly we use recipes mostly as guidelines and not recipes. Mostly.

I do that, too.

message 11: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateharper) | 206 comments Heidi wrote: "And to get this straight:

So far, mostly we use recipes mostly as guidelines and not recipes. Mostly.

I do that, too."


message 12: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments I grew up watching my grandmother cook: she hardly ever used recipes and she never measured anything. she always tasted it though after she would add an ingredient. when she started teaching me how to cook,the first lesson was wash your hands..a lot. she was supercareful about keeping her hands clean before touching different ingredients. I asked her when I would be able to cook as well as she did and she said, "maybe in 30 years". So, sometimes I will be making dinner and think,"how can I make this same-old,same old dish taste at least a little different" and an idea will come to me and I run with it. more often than not, it works. Or, I'll read a recipe and think, "hmmm,that ingredient works in this dish, I wonder if it will work in that? For instance: why not an apple upside down cake or blueberry. where is it cast in stone that it can only be pineapple.

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments BunWat wrote: "Well if its something I've never made before I will follow the recipe exactly the first time just as a baseline so I know where I'm taking off from. Unless there's something in it I really don't l..."

It's sometimes easy to see what you can leave out without sacrificing. Sometimes harder. If a recipe looks delicious but has raisins, I'll usually leave 'em out.
I have had some bad luck in the past jettisoning things that turned out to be key.
Fish sauce is important in a lot of Thai recipes, even if it smells terrible before it cooks. I have to learn to put it in anyway (and not to spill the bottle inside the fridge again. blurgh.)
When I was first out of college I tried to make my own latkes, and I followed a Martha Stewart recipe that suggested baking instead of frying. I hated chopping onions, and my ex wouldn't eat them, so I left them out. Somehow the resulting mess smelled like fish too. Never again.Potato pancakes must be fried. Damn you, Martha Stewart.

message 14: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24357 comments Mod
Okay, I'm turning this thread into Recipe Rescue. I made a completely grotesque dish tonight because I was down to about 5 food items in my kitchen. Rigatoni, cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, hot pepper flakes, a really small amount of tomato sauce. I put in too much salt so it's really salty. I ate about 5 bites. I won't throw it out because I hate wasting. How do I rescue it? Add it to a really brothy tomato/vegetable soup so it becomes minestrone? Add pesto and parmesan?

message 15: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments I woud do the soup thing. Drown the salt.

message 16: by Auntie (new)

Auntie Raye-Raye (fabulousraye) LG, soup is a good idea. Parm is a bit salty, so go easy on that. Maybe just put the parm and pesto on top when you serve/eat it.

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I would recommend eating the soup, drying the pasta in the oven and make a sculpture out of the remains.

message 18: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24357 comments Mod
Mmm, lots of good ideas here.

message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments Won't sugar counter act some of the salt?

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Potato will soak up salt, too. Add a few chunks of potato to your soup, LG. If you're still eating it, that is. :)

message 21: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Paschen | 7137 comments Gail «Cyborg» wrote: "I would recommend eating the soup, drying the pasta in the oven and make a sculpture out of the remains."

Sculpture! HA!!

message 22: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments I have a lot of allergies, so if I adjust a recipe it's usually for that reason. Or if it calls for some exotic ingredient like saffron or star anise I'll just leave it out.

message 23: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24357 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Won't sugar counter act some of the salt?"

I don't think so.

message 24: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24357 comments Mod
I added added chopped collard greens, a can of chickpeas, and some chopped tomato and a little tomato broth. A big improvement. It's actually edible now. Still, I'm going to stay away from the pasta-cauliflower combo from now on. I like cauliflower better with rice.

message 25: by Brittomart (new)

Brittomart Lord, I call myself makin' some hamburgers for dinner 'cause I hadn't had anything good to eat all day, and I thawed out this hamburger, so I was gon' cook it. My brother and sister-in-law bought me a little electric griddle for Christmas, and I've been using it for breakfast all week, so I made my patties. So I made them, and I cooked them. They 'bout the ugliest hamburgers I've ever seen, but they are good.

I'm gonna stick to cakes and cookies.

message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments Margery wrote: "Lobstergirl wrote: "Jim wrote: "Won't sugar counter act some of the salt?"

I don't think so."

No it won't."

::Wonders why I thought that::

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

i have horrible taste buds and eat just about anything. sticking to the cookbook is crucial for me.

message 28: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments Don’t give up LG! pasta & cauliflower can be good :)
I like this recipe, if you’re ok with dairy.


message 29: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24357 comments Mod
2 cups of milk !! Hm. I would drink it, I don't know if I want milk and cauliflower together. But roasted cauliflower sounds good.

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe Jim was thinking of a sweet & sour combo.

message 31: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Paschen | 7137 comments My favorite recipe for cauliflower is a roasted curry, served with brown rice. It's delicious--lots of Indian spices.

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