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Old 04-09-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: El Dorado Hills, CA
3,724 posts, read 8,898,951 times
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Do you use recipes when you cook or do you just make it up on your own?

I love to cook, though it's a bit harder these days with a young child that needs attention the moment I start to cook. But usually I have to find a recipe, I have no idea how to put things together. My typical "new" meal comes from eating out somewhere and trying to find a recipe for a good meal I ate. I rake over multiple recipes on the internet, then pick/choose the ingredients and adapt to my taste. A few items I've picked up over time:

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry (Thai Chili in Southlake Texas)
Pasta e Fagioli soup (Olive Garden)
Spicy Southwest Chicken Soup (my friend Monika)
Chicken Mushroom Mascarpone (Food network)

Does anyone have the ability just to throw things together and make it great? First, I'm jealous. Second, how did you learn? Just curious.
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley,az summer/east valley Az winter
2,050 posts, read 3,766,479 times
Reputation: 8049
recipes work good but when you have used one several times you should be able to do a reasonable imitation without having to look it up and redoing it according to the recipe~ although sometimes I don't get the ingredients quite right every time.
I have tried to make things I've heard of without the recipe and sometimes works and sometimes doesn't~ trail and error and a lifetime of eating helps but I'm a long ways from a gormet cook
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,599,616 times
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I make up meals all the time, I just look and try to think about what items, spices would taste good together. Most of the time it works, sometimes it's good but I say..eh I'd most likely not make that again.
As far as learing goes, mostly just watching grandma cook when I was little. Taking that and experimenting.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:54 AM
 
133 posts, read 246,344 times
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Default Re: Recipe or...

When I first started cooking I looked for recipes. As I became more confident as a cook, I started "playing" with modifying the seasonings or ingredients. These days, if it's something similar to what I've made in the past, I wing it. If I'm starting from the point of an ingredient or technique that I've never tried before, I follow the recipe to the letter - the first time at least.
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
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I put a lot of things together on my own, but I was in the restaurant world for a long time.
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Canada
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I do both - follow some recipes exactly and make up as I go along. If I am making a dish for the first time and haven't made something similar in the past, I will usually follow the recipe. It makes me crazy when I read recipes on sites like allrecipes and people comment, "I didn't have cream, so I substituted milk, I didn't have blue cheese, so I substituted cheese whiz, I was out of thyme, so I substituted garlic" and then post that they didn't like the end result.

It's no longer the recipe posted, by the time all the substitutions have been made. So I generally follow a recipe the first time, (although I will taste-test and adjust seasonings at the end of the cooking process). I may later on decide after tasting the 'original' recipe, that it would have been better with this or that, and so I then experiment accordingly.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,778 posts, read 18,717,494 times
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I rarely follow a recipe exactly, but I often use them as a starting point.

When I wanted to learn to make chicken tortilla soup, I read lots of recipes - there are SOOO many versions!! I like it as a clear broth served over avocado slices, but I make it differently every time depending on what ingredients I have on hand. I've spiced it up by sauteeing fresh chiles, and when I was out I used some dried chile powders which gave the soup a nice color. I've used canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and red bell pepper when I was out of tomatoes, etc etc. I always just look at what I have, and some (usually) tasty combination pops into mind.

One of my favorite totally made-up recipes ever was a soup of sliced fingerling potatoes, smoked sausage, and fresh green beans in a clear broth spiked with some red pepper flakes. All the recipes I found for a smoked sausage soup called for a creamy base, so I had to wing it. Very comforting soup on a cold day, very simple ingredients, and actually quite low-cal too as a little sausage goes a long way.
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Old 05-02-2011, 06:23 AM
ERH
 
Location: Raleigh-Durham, NC
1,324 posts, read 1,866,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinaN View Post
Do you use recipes when you cook or do you just make it up on your own?

I love to cook, though it's a bit harder these days with a young child that needs attention the moment I start to cook. But usually I have to find a recipe, I have no idea how to put things together. My typical "new" meal comes from eating out somewhere and trying to find a recipe for a good meal I ate. I rake over multiple recipes on the internet, then pick/choose the ingredients and adapt to my taste. A few items I've picked up over time:

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry (Thai Chili in Southlake Texas)
Pasta e Fagioli soup (Olive Garden)
Spicy Southwest Chicken Soup (my friend Monika)
Chicken Mushroom Mascarpone (Food network)

Does anyone have the ability just to throw things together and make it great? First, I'm jealous. Second, how did you learn? Just curious.
I would be interested in hearing how you've tweaked the Pasta e Fagioli recipe; we've done some minor tweaking with good success. I still can't figure out the pasta component, though. Mine always turns out too "pasta-heavy."
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:13 AM
 
Location: South Bay Native
13,779 posts, read 23,161,988 times
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Pasta in soups - here is the trick I have to keep from the pasta overwhelming the soup...take a bowl, and pour out how much pasta you think would be enough for your soup...then put back half, and the put back half of the half. You should be right there.

OP - the dishes you listed sound so yummy - will you share with us how you make them?
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
40,651 posts, read 50,268,721 times
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I think most of us long time cooks have the ability to "taste" a recipe, just by reading it. We know what is good about it, and when we might be better off substituting or eliminating an ingredient. I still love trying new recipes when I think it will have a new flavor, or ingredients that I'm not accustomed to using together.
Otherwise, I don't use recipes at all, except for baking, when the chemistry is important.
Last night, I tried a clam stuffing for fish out of an old cookbook that was very good, but was a little blander than I like. Next time I will make it with a kick of cayenne and/or garlic.

Last edited by gentlearts; 05-05-2011 at 10:11 AM..
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