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Recipes and ingredients

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I won't mention any names, regulars will know who said this and in which thread.

 

Someone asked for a recipe for a  potato salad they saw in a post. The person replied with:

 

 

"Cooked potatoes, hard-boiled egg, onion, dill pickles, all chopped, seasoned with mayo, salt, pepper and, essentially, a dash of the pickling liquid from the dill pickles."

 

The one who asked said thanks, they will try it.  It isn't exactly a recipe, no quantities given, no tips on preparation. But for many people that is not an issue, they've made similar and have a pretty good idea that a potato salad would not have 3 parts dill pickles to one part potato. Actually based on the photo I thought the reddish looking bits were bacon or some such, must be red onion.

 

It is nice to be at the level where given a list of ingredients one can make a pretty good approximation of something. Actually I just thought of the thread a while back when folks would post a list of ingredients and it was up to us to guess the dish. That was fun for a while.

 

Of course that is not always the case. I've attempted on several occasions to make arepas, sort of fluffy corn tortillas. I have the right kind of masa, I follow the instructions I've read and seen on various videos, but still don't end up with what I think I should. But I am getting better at them. And as I've mentioned before there is a part of my brain that aggressively blocks from my memory any retention of the proper proportion of flour to fat for pie crust dough. I have to look at the recipe *every* *time*

 

But in general it is a good feeling to know that it is possible to make something based on just a list of ingredients and nothing any more specific.

 

mjb.

 

 

PS: Speaking of pie dough, I meant to do a seafood quiche for the April challenge, never got to it. Oh well. Maybe someday the challenge will be pastries, both sweet and savory. It might work there.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #2 of 19

Great observation @teamfat.

I am guessing that many of this community probably share the culinary sensory vision talent as I call it which, is to being able to virtually taste a food just by reading the ingredients and recipe.  That's my case and I get frustrated when I try to develop a recipe from a sensory image in my head and can't get it just right yet everybody that try the said misses just loves it yet you know it's just not right.

 

Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #3 of 19

Hehe I know the conversation you're talking about.  When it comes to an assembled dish like this not only are specific measurements not needed, they're really not wanted.  I'm going to put whatever I want in my potato salad right?  So a dash of pickling liquid or the whole jar full, it's up to me.  I may skip the egg or I may end up making this into an egg salad without the potatoes.  I may not have red onions and I may opt for scallions in stead.  This is what I like about savoury cooking - there is flexibility and freedom to interpret.  

 

You're right, those of us who cook a lot know the basic techniques that go into making a dish without needing a recipe.  The recipe post might have said "boil the potatoes until tender" and a novice will do just that.  But I will probably steam them and go for my own preferred results.  A novice might not know that it's best to season and dress a potato salad when the potatoes are still warm, and may not know that after it cools that the seasoning may need adjustment again.  But I do.  So from one cook to another, thank you for just the list of ingredients and trusting that we will know what to do with them :)

 

Baking is a different ball game.  Even with explicit instructions I still manage to fail.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 19

I have a number of pre-1900 cookbooks in my collection.  In those books there are numerous "recipes" that just list the ingredients, without measurements and then give only the barest of instructions unless it was a recipe that was outside the norm.  They just expected that  those reading the cookbooks were already quite familiar with how to cook.

post #5 of 19

I use "recipes" as a guideline/formula, that I may adapt to my taste. In many cases I can wing it on my own, and don't always need exact measurements -- except for baking. There are dishes I've prepared many times, & don't need step-by-step instructions. I do collect recipes, more so on Pinterest.  First, the title has to grab me.  If there's a pic, even better.  I read through the list of ingredients, and the method.  If it doesn't make sense, I move on, or can adapt it somewhat.  There are lots of great food bloggers out there, but reading through the "recipe" doesn't always make sense.  I do admire the photos. Not everything has to be exact.  I can run with a new idea or method or interesting combo of ingredients that had not occurred to me. Mostly, recipes are about inspiration, thinking outside the box, and maybe, learning something new or lighting my cooking fire.

post #6 of 19

I often look at a recipe and come up with something totally different using the ingredients listed... cooking is all about experimenting for me!

post #7 of 19

I think another facet of this same skill set for me has to do with loving to read recipes and not caring a bit if a cookbook has pictures or not. I actually prefer cookbooks without pictures, for some weird reason. I get more excited thinking about how flavors and textures are going to work together than I am about looking at the pictures most of the time. With the exception of a few technique books, I am especially irritated by the step-by-step photo cookbooks. I can tolerate that in a blog post but a whole cookbook of that drives me batty. 

 

There are a few cookbooks with pictures I find truly inspiring. Ottolenghi's books, for example, make me go all weak in the knees.

 

As for the recipes I love reading so much, I consider them guidelines. What I love about an abundance of recipes is being surprised by combinations I hadn't considered before.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTerry View Post
 

, I am especially irritated by the step-by-step photo cookbooks. I can tolerate that in a blog post but a whole cookbook of that drives me batty.

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that I am not a real big fan of those either, but in this day and age I think they play an important role.  In a time where many in our generation and the one after us did not have moms that cook there is a need to learn the basics and for many people, seeing how something is done, is much better than just reading about a technique.  Luckily, I think that is changing, and even with both parents working, more and more parents are finding ways of making home cooked meals and teaching their kids how to cook.

post #9 of 19

Sometimes the picture will draw me in, and make me hungry.  Even though there are a few ingredients and a simple method, the presentation inspires me.

 

http://www.thepomeloblog.com/2013/11/happy-birthday-landon.html

 

http://damndelicious.net/2014/02/07/honey-salmon-foil/

 

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2012/10/caprese-lasagna-roll-ups/

post #10 of 19

This reminds me of my DIL who is just the opposite. At Thanksgiving she makes candied yams. They are good. Just sweet potatoes, salt, brown sugar and butter. But she gets out her recipe card each time that starts off-

 

"Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 2 inch pieces. Cook in salted water until tender."

 

She actually measures the sugar and butter. It's weird to me. But she loves order and formulas.

post #11 of 19

I noticed that baking was mentioned a couple of times above. I had to chuckle a little because what you are describing for cooking is the same exact thing for baking.

Baking is all about percentages. Once you get a grasp for this you can alter any formula to your liking.

If I'm going to make potato salad, the potatoes are 100%, then the other ingredients are added by percentages. You have these stored in the back of your mind.

Baking, same thing. Bread, the flour is 100%. I prefer most of my doughs slack, so I go with 70% + liquid, 1% yeast and fat and 2% salt.

Take the time to figure %'s in formulas you like. There are many fabulous baking books with percentages out there. I say calculate some of your own formulas because the math

can be a little overwhelming in some explanations. If you have flour in your pantry, you should have a % book. Joe Amendola's Understanding Baking was the book we all carried when

coming up years ago.

Once you get a handle on %'s, you can spot a bad or good formula a mile away.

Just sayin

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 19

Remember that recipes are merely guide lines to an end.

If I was to sit down and create a recipe for something, my experiences will tell me what percentages the quantities should be.

 

As I write the recipe I don't always keep in mind that the reader will understand what I'm talking about.

 

Many people can not fathom cooking without the printed word, so I have to make that recipe " fool proof."

But even in doing so someone will come across the recipe and find it difficult to make.

 

What I have always thought strange was the countless recipes that I have come across in the years, that will leave out valuable information or worse, leave out ingredients.

Even worse then that are recipes that assume the user will know what to do.

 

I have seen cooks use dry cup measure for liquids and vice versa. When I point out the difference they are confused.  OY!!!

post #13 of 19

Started our spring cleaning this weekend.

Made a largish meal on Friday and had leftovers Saturday pm.

It was a menu I make often so just banged it out .

Was good....just like the last 100 time I prepared it...just good.

 

Thought about this thread yesterday so just grabbed a pan and went pantry diving.

Ended up with a Mexican feeling pablano dish with a refreshing fruit salsa on the side.

 

We were both pleased (fisherman cuz it was spicy, me cuz  the mango put the fire out lol).

 

PLUS..."accidently" opened my "broken" cold pantry while hunting and it was WORKING!

happy dance....

 

mimi

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post
 

I won't mention any names, regulars will know who said this and in which thread.

 

Someone asked for a recipe for a  potato salad they saw in a post. The person replied with:

 

 

"Cooked potatoes, hard-boiled egg, onion, dill pickles, all chopped, seasoned with mayo, salt, pepper and, essentially, a dash of the pickling liquid from the dill pickles."

 

The one who asked said thanks, they will try it.  It isn't exactly a recipe, no quantities given, no tips on preparation. But for many people that is not an issue, they've made similar and have a pretty good idea that a potato salad would not have 3 parts dill pickles to one part potato. Actually based on the photo I thought the reddish looking bits were bacon or some such, must be red onion.

 

It is nice to be at the level where given a list of ingredients one can make a pretty good approximation of something. Actually I just thought of the thread a while back when folks would post a list of ingredients and it was up to us to guess the dish. That was fun for a while.

 

Of course that is not always the case. I've attempted on several occasions to make arepas, sort of fluffy corn tortillas. I have the right kind of masa, I follow the instructions I've read and seen on various videos, but still don't end up with what I think I should. But I am getting better at them. And as I've mentioned before there is a part of my brain that aggressively blocks from my memory any retention of the proper proportion of flour to fat for pie crust dough. I have to look at the recipe *every* *time*

 

But in general it is a good feeling to know that it is possible to make something based on just a list of ingredients and nothing any more specific.

 

mjb.

 

 

PS: Speaking of pie dough, I meant to do a seafood quiche for the April challenge, never got to it. Oh well. Maybe someday the challenge will be pastries, both sweet and savory. It might work there.

You could make a crustless quiche, or use Philo. Many ways to go.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerise View Post
 

You could make a crustless quiche, or use Philo. Many ways to go.

 

I have no problem making crusts. I just have to look at the dough recipe every time. Maybe if I went on a crust making binge and did it a few times a week it might finally stick. In truth if I had gotten off work early as I thought I might I would have made full crust chicken pot pies for dinner, a challenge entry.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #16 of 19

Teamfat,

 

I can never remember it, either, and it's not like bread dough, which you can do by feel, more or less. The older I get, the worse my memory gets. I need to write all kinds of things down and feel no shame about it anymore. I don't even try to remember recipes. Not even simple ones. There is already too much stuff cluttering up my brain. The wires get crossed to easily.

 

Remember BCP--Before Cell Phones, when we all had land lines and knew dozens of telephone numbers by heart?

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTerry View Post

 

 

Remember BCP--Before Cell Phones, when we all had land lines and knew dozens of telephone numbers by heart?

 

I don't even know my husband's cell# by heart.  I'm not kidding.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 19

I finally learned my husband's cell and my own because I felt like an idiot when people asked and I didn't know. I know my daughter's only because I made up a song to teach it to her kids.

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post
 

 

I have no problem making crusts. I just have to look at the dough recipe every time. Maybe if I went on a crust making binge and did it a few times a week it might finally stick. In truth if I had gotten off work early as I thought I might I would have made full crust chicken pot pies for dinner, a challenge entry.

 

mjb.


You had me at Seafood quiche. Can you share your recipe (w/ or w/o the crust), or point me in the right direction if it has been posted before?  Thinking, now, about something Spring-y - i.e. salmon and asparagus. 

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