Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 23- Methods for Tweaking---finding your niche, researching, and learning


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Sometimes I look at a recipe and my nose turns up and I think, “yuck, sounds nasty!” Ever been guilty of that? Today I’d like to give a few tips that have helped me over the years when it comes to tweaking a recipe that has a good base but a boring taste.

  1. Create with confidence—don’t hesitate to change a spice because you are in the mood for something different. Just make sure you are aware of how much you are putting into the dish. I think this is the greatest tip my mom ever gave me as she taught me in the kitchen from a young age. Not everyone is born to cook, but we can all follow a recipe if needed. If you have a passion for creating foods the best thing to do is research and trial and error. Don’t get a big head and think you are the next master chef, but definitely utilize the fun moments you have in creating something yummy.
  2. Try to avoid creating new recipes for guests---this will eliminate major stress every bite taken. I have done this and struggled with the thought I may have to order pizza. (Just don’t do it if you don’t like stress; however, it is a bit fun to do every now and then—just make sure they are your closest friends!)
  3. Google or call mom for questions. Often, I’ve found myself creating a different recipe and am stumped on the ratio of sugar/baking soda/flour, etc. Google can answer so many questions and help make this process easier.
  4. Make small recipes if you are changing things to try to make it better. That way you do not waste your money in ingredients especially if it doesn’t turn out right.
  5. When quadrupling that recipe make sure you write down exactly what you do! I have often cooked recipes for large catering events and had to change the recipe drastically. The one that stands out the most is my beef medallions in creamy mushroom sauce. It ended up looking pink when it was supposed to be done—had to add a few things to fix it for sure.
  6. Adding Garlic and onions to most savory dishes makes it so much better! :)
  7. There are some things that just can’t be left out of a recipe. However, often when you shop your kitchen and are missing an ingredient check google for a substitution.
  8. The cheapest substitute for cream of tartar is white vinegar!! There are a trillion baking recipes out there that call for cream of tartar. And when that spice is so expensive I like to opt for the vinegar which I always have on hand.
  9. Applesauce is a great and healthy substitute for vegetable oil.
  10. Sometimes fun kitchen tips are great to have on hand…

If you are unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of cold water; fresh eggs sink, bad eggs float.

A bay leaf slipped into a jar of pasta, flour, or rice will help repel bugs.

To revive day-old muffins, sprinkle with water, place in a paper bag, and pop in oven for 5-10 minutes. The steam created by the water will restore moisture.

When radishes, celery, or carrots lose their crunch pop them in a bowl of ice water with a slice of raw potato and watch them freshen before your eyes.

In order to keep your sour cream or cottage cheese longer simply store upside down in your fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum and inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Throwing your brown sugar in the freezer will keep it from hardening. If you already have hardened sugar put in microwave for 30 seconds.

Come back tomorrow for a few little tips on food prep!