Saturday, July 5, 2014

What's in A Recipe?

Recipes are passed down from one generation to another in my family. Some of them are written down, and some of them are made so much we just know them by heart. Being diagnosed as a Celiac put a slight snag in being able to make those recipes as is, but instead of just giving up on them, I've decided to remake them my way.

There was a time when I thought I would never be able to cook anything that tasted good again, but I was quite surprised to learn that the truth was quite the opposite. The past two years I have spent much of my free time trying new recipes that I either adapted from an old family recipe, or just made up off the top of my head.

If you're going to adapt a recipe, you need to consider the ingredients carefully and cook times as well. Some recipes aren't as simple as substituting one cup of gluten free flour for one cup of regular flour. If you are going to make up a recipe, here's what you need to know.

The first thing is to figure out what you want to make. If you are new to making your own recipes, it's a good idea to look up a couple of different ways to make the dish you are trying to create. Obviously you don't want to copy those recipes, but it helps to look at the ingredients as an inspiration. Once you've done that, just decide what ingredients you want to use and, most importantly, write it down! You can make the most amazing recipe in the world, but it won't be useful again if you don't remember what you put in it. Amounts of ingredients are really important too, so if you want to make slight adjustments, you know how much of each ingredient you used.

These same rules apply for baking, only here, it's even more important to measure every ingredient and write those measurements down. You've probably heard some people say that they can just throw ingredients in a dish and bake them up into a delicious dessert without measuring a thing. I can do that now, but I couldn't when I first started baking. Part of that skill is knowing your ingredients, and what each measurement looks like without using the utensils.

Sometimes, recipes can also be made as a way to use certain food items around your house. An example of this is using cups of instant oatmeal that I got at an expo to make the most amazing blueberry muffins I have ever had. I'm not really a fan of the texture of oatmeal, but using the raw ingredients in a muffin was perfect! It gives the muffin a great texture, and keeps me from wasting gluten free food.

Something to remember is that it may take a few tries to get the recipe just right, and that's okay. My Dad always says practice makes perfect, and that really does apply here.