Author Topic: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes  (Read 3205 times)

Gerard

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reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« on: March 06, 2015, 01:24:12 PM »
My local library is heavy on cookbooks aimed at a narrow market, usually associated with special diets or food fads. So I find myself reverse-engineering recipes (subbing the butter back into Indian vegan recipes, replacing the garlic-flavoured oil in 4-ingredient cookbook recipes, deciding what could be improved with a slice of bacon).

Does anyone else do this? Or am I actually weirder than I think I am?

NotJen

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2015, 01:29:07 PM »
Seems normal to me.  Looking at Allrecipies and how every reviewer notes the special changes they made, I find it surprising that ANYONE follows recipes to a T.

I'm always adjusting to fit what I have on-hand or the types of ingredients I use.  For example, I always use full-fat dairy instead of anything low-fat, and butter instead of margarine.  Sometimes I will come across a gluten-free recipe, and add gluten right back in.

swick

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2015, 01:31:34 PM »
I do this all the time. Unless I am baking something for the first time (and rarely even then) I use a recipe more as an inspiration or suggestion. I think it is just a matter of how comfortable you are in the kitchen with cooking and knowing your ingredients and trusting your own taste and palate.

slugline

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2015, 01:36:53 PM »
Sounds like totally normal experimentation to me. I may do a recipe and realize later that one of the costlier ingredients didn't add to my overall satisfaction, so I know I can save a bit of cash of not buying it the next time I make the meal.

KCM5

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2015, 01:40:45 PM »
I do this all the time. I'm not Brahman, darn it, so I'm going to eat garlic and onions in my dal. And its delicious.

Recipes are a suggestion anyway. Its kind of like how measuring is optional. Things usually turn out fine if you know what you're cooking.

Gone Fishing

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2015, 01:55:10 PM »
I've always said vegetarian recipies with meat are better than regular meat recipies which rely to heavily on the meat for flavor vs all the other great herbs and spices that are out there. 

Doubleh

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2015, 03:07:15 PM »
Nope I don't think you need to worry! In fact I'll often read the or four similar record, then make my own version drawing ideas from all of them. Once you understand how flavours work together improvisation is a lot of fun

southern granny

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2015, 04:23:31 PM »
my biggest cooking successes have been finding a recipe on line and then reading all the comments...  I find a lot of really good modifications listed there.  Also, I routinely substitute real butter or shortening for whatever "healthier" options are in the recipe.  My daughter once asked why my oatmeal was always better than when she made it at home.  The reason is because I use real butter and she uses some kind of spread.  I would much prefer to reduce my portion than to reduce the quality and taste of a dish. 

socaso

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2015, 04:46:10 PM »
I un-vegan baking recipes a fair bit.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2015, 10:43:47 AM »
I wouldn't even call it reverse engineering. I'd call it cooking. Hell, half the things I make I never make exactly the same way. For example, my last batch of marinara i was in a huge garlic mood, so I doubled the garlic, and doubled the red pepper for good measure.

Gerard

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Re: reverse-engineering narrow-focus recipes
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2015, 11:44:29 AM »
I wouldn't even call it reverse engineering. I'd call it cooking.

Yup, I'd agree with you about most of the (good) things people are talking about here. I was originally thinking specifically of recipes where somebody's clearly worked to take out an ingredient, and I'm putting it back. But I like the way the thread's going, so let's run with it!