Well Hello There! It has been an exceedingly long time since we’ve posted, and mostly that was because we were visiting with friends and family every single minute. It was a truly wonderful holiday and, speaking for myself, I am oddly both rejuvenated and completely exhausted.
During an extended visit with the best friends a gal could have, someone asked how I moved away from cooking from recipes – how I started making recipes up and how I knew what substitutions would work. I know, those of you who’ve been playing along for a while are likely laughing as I’ve presented my move away from recipes as a basic inability to follow directions and recipes of any kind…. this being different from choosing to cook without that level of guidance. The truth is that I do both – I regularly screw up whilst following directions and, hopefully more often, I make conscious decisions to abandon the dictates of the recipe for one reason or another, usually either to make the recipe healthier or because I lack an ingredient and I do NOT shop for a missing ingredient or two (lack of control in grocery stores demands limited exposure).
Since my friend asked, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this evolution occurred, wondering how I got to the point of really only being inspired by a recipe rather than actually following it, and I think there are some basic steps that could prove useful to folks in trying to branch out and/or health it up in their own kitchens. There are myriad lovely cookbooks and blogs full of healthful recipes in the world. There are also ways to change most recipes so that they are 1) healthier, 2) more affordable, and 3) easier to prepare. Here I’ll offer three approaches that have made me less recipe bound and have therefore made me able to adapt all kinds of recipes to my own tastes, dietary needs, and available time: the ingredient swap, the recipe mash up, and flavor profiling. Continue reading