Cooking Recipes Are A Guide, Not The Law by toriola1


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                                         Cooking Recipes Are A Guide, Not The Law
                                                         By Kenny Vanderburen

   When you are cooking a recipe for the first time it is always a wise thing to follow it to the letter so
you are sure that the outcome is close to what the original chef intended it to be. But after cooking it a
few times and when you are getting comfortable with it you can change a few things around if you feel
like it. Don't think that you are doing something wrong by not sticking to the recipe, there are always
certain things in a recipe that is not exactly to you taste so your are allowed to change them a bit.
Maybe a little less of this and a bit more of that, just so it is more up to your own taste.

Being flexible is sometimes necessary

 It could also be that you just can not afford to get some of the ingredients because they are very
expensive. Maybe the stores are closed and you forgot to get a certain part of the recipe. And while
these things sometimes happen you start to improvise with the recipes you make and before you know
it you are freewheeling it.

 There are a few things you should keep in mind when you change a recipe, only change ingredients
that are not crucial to the dish. Those items you can leave out of your variation or you could put
something else in it's place you could even ad an ingredient in top of the others. The thing to
remember is not to get rid of an important item, as an example, if you are making meatloaf you can not
leave out the minced (or ground) meat can you? You can ad new spices to enrich the meatloaf recipe
or make it more to your own taste.

Talking of changing a recipe, I'm a vegetarian.

 Another good reason for changing a recipe if of course when your specific diet calls for it. Maybe you
are, or someone who is coming to dinner is, a vegetarian then you could be thinking of starting to learn
completely new recipes. You could also start with using the existing ones you know and substitute
certain items with non animal ones.

 In recipes with sauces that are tomato based or things like stir-fries you could use tempeh or extra firm
tofu. If the dinner is with people who are vegan then you could use some soft tofu when you need
something to substitute cream cheeses. If the recipe calls for milk then there are soy milk or rice milk
that you can use. And when you need to replace meat in chili or soup recipes you can use a wide
variety of beans.

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 So you see there are many reasons to divert from the original recipe, and you shouldn't worry to much
about it. Sometime you just need to go with what your instinct tells you to do. There is no cooking
police that will throw you in jail when you give a meal some personal touch, the worst thing that can
happen is that your family tells you to never do that again.

Kenny Vanderburen is the main blogger at The kitchen might as well
be his living room, that's how much time he spends there.

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                                                    Tips For Cooking With Wine
                                                               By Tim Sousa

Wine can be an essential ingredient. It can enhance the meal, not only by drinking it with the meal, but
as an integral part of the food itself. The French cooking sauces, beurre rouge, and beurre blanc both
contain wine. Both French and Chinese cooking make use of wine as an ingredient, as well as many
other types of cooking. Wine can be used as an ingredient in sauces, soups, marinades, and more. It
combines well with other flavors and ingredients, such as vinegar, fish paste, soy sauce, and many

There are questions that people have in cooking with wine. You yourself may be tentative about using
wine in your cooking. Well, here are some answers to some common questions about cooking with

Is the cooking affected by the wine quality?

 The quality of the cooking is definitely affected by the quality of wine. Cooking with wine, tends to
concentrate the flavor, since the alcohol evaporates out, leaving the flavors. You'll want to use a good
quality wine, but you also shouldn't spend $100 for a bottle of wine for cooking. You can find some
good wines for under $20 that will work just fine for cooking. In general, you don't want to cook with a
wine that you wouldn't drink.

What about the alcohol content of the wine?

 Most but not all of the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process. Since alcohol evaporates at
172 degrees F., most if not all of the alcohol will be gone by the time the food is done cooking. Also
keep in mind, that most recipes do not call for a lot of wine, so there would not be very much alcohol in
the first place. Even if you don't drink wine for personal reasons, then you should be safe using it for

What if I put too much wine in my dishes?

 Don't put too much wine in. If you're using a recipe, just follow the recipe, and don't add more wine
than it calls for. If you think the recipe calls for too much wine, then you can simply use a little bit less
wine. If you're experimenting with your own recipes, start with a little bit of wine, and add more as
needed. Add a little bit of wine at first, and let the recipe cook. Taste it, and decide if it needs more
wine. If so, then add some, if not, then don't. If there is not enough wine in a recipe, you can always
add more. If there is too much, you can't remove it.

Is there a difference between cooking wine and regular wine?

 Yes, there is a difference. Cooking wine contains salt and chemicals that make it okay for cooking, but
not for drinking. Some recipes call for cooking wine. In this case, go ahead and use it. For the most
part however, you should use regular wine. As stated above, you shouldn't cook with a wine that you
wouldn't drink. In most cases, regular wine will work much better than cooking wines for your recipes.

If you just follow these simple tips, you'll be able to enhance your soups, sauces, marinades, and

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other recipes with the proper use of wine.

For more about wine, and wine growing regions, visit

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