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Old 11-19-2008, 11:55 PM   #1
KingBrianI
 
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I just threw together a quick marinade for some chicken leg quarters I'll be cooking tonight and realized I never cook the same thing twice. I'll typically throw together whatever sounds good at the time and roll with that. For instance, tonight the marinade started simply as lemon juice, olive oil, fresh rosemary, garlic-ginger paste and salt and pepper. Pretty standard marinade. But then the voices told me to keep at it so in went some dijon mustard and a splash of worchestershire sauce. I haven't cooked it yet but I'm sure it will be good. My creations are always good somehow. Which is maybe why I can never stop experimenting. If ever I decide to cook something I'm slightly unfamiliar with I'll go online and look for a recipe, but I can never find one that just sounds right. So I'll use a few as a general guide and create something completely unique.

So my question is, how do you cook? Are you a stick-to-the-recipe type person who measures everything? Or do you throw whatever strikes your fancy together and cross your fingers? Actually, the crossing of fingers is somewhat unnecessary. Somehow the creations always turn out.

EDIT: Oh, forgot to mention I added a pinch of allspice. I'm crazy!
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:08 AM   #2
thataintchicken
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At work... it's all recipe and measurements. Gotta Be Consistent.
The people paying insist upon it.

At home... it's trial and error. If it works really well it goes into the recipe book.
Like you, I am a pinch of this and splash of that kind of cook.

I have found my best recipes that way.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:19 AM   #3
Kimsta
 
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As a professional chef, I like your thinking of using a recipe as a guide. This is a great way to get creative and make something your own (which is what cooking is all about!). Otherwise, your knowledge of a certain kind of cuisine and the ingredients they use helps immensely (i.e hispanic cuisine uses lots of cilantro, citrus fruits, smoky peppers, etc - asian cusine uses ginger, sesame, scallions, etc...)

A few cooking mantras that I keep in mind:

'A little goes a long way' - especially true for Hot sauce and some kinds of seasonings..

'You can always add, but never take away' - helps with seasoning a recipe to taste

'Low and Slow' - soups, chili's, sauces and cooking tough meats...

Most of all.. Patience!!

That being said... baking is a different story!

Now.. if only I could create brewing recipes like cooking recipes... i'd be in business :-D
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:33 AM   #4
talleymonster
 
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I log onto HBT and throw SWMBO into the kitchen. 1 hour later, dinner is done.
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:44 AM   #5
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Recipes are like rules: made to be broken.
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:55 AM   #6
niquejim
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I've been a baker for 25 years so it's hard to "wing it" without following the recipe at least once. After that I'll improvise.

 
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niquejim View Post
I've been a baker for 25 years so it's hard to "wing it" without following the recipe at least once. After that I'll improvise.
Baking is the one area my improvisations do not produce tasty results. I can't tell you how many bland, tasteless bricks of bread I've baked. I'm starting to force myself to follow recipes but even with a baking stone, good ingredients and misting the oven/throwing ice in the bottom, I still can't make a good damn loaf at home.
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:06 AM   #8
mev
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talleymonster View Post
I log onto HBT and throw SWMBO into the kitchen. 1 hour later, dinner is done.
+1, that's the best way to cook

 
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:24 AM   #9
billtzk
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I'm an avid home cook. I have loved cooking for as long as I can remember. I uses recipes as guides for the most part, although I tend to stick pretty closely to a recipe when it comes to baking. Even then, there are certain substitutions and alterations to recipes that I'm comfortable making without fear.

Most dishes I cook are based to a large degree on past successes. Improvisation and substitution of ingredients is something I do often in order to avoid having to run down to the store for a single item or two. I cook a lot of old family favorites, especially if I have a chance to serve them to my family and friends. I try to vary the cuisine so as not to get bored.

I agree with the comment that you can always add, but never take away. That was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn when I first started cooking regularly (around age 12).

Two days ago for breakfast I took some leftover beef stock I'd used for an onion soup, added some dried shiitake mushrooms to it, reduced it to just under half volume. I took out the shiitake mushrooms, chopped them up, and threw them back in. Then I made a light roux of butter and flour, stopped it by sauteing some finely chopped onions and garlic in it, added a little Tarragon, salt, black pepper, and cayenne, then added it to the reduced stock to make a mushroom gravy. I made some grits, pan-fried a slice of ham, and served the gravy on the grits and ham. I ate that with a slice of whole wheat bread I baked. It was a great breakfast.
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:38 AM   #10
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I love to cook and rarely follow a recipe. Even when I'm going to cook something new that I've never tried cooking before. Usually I'll look thought some cook books and search out recipes online, read 10-20 of them, then put them all away. Then, when I cook, I make up my own recipe using bits of different ones I liked.
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