Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Adaptability is, not surprisingly, the ability to adapt. I think this is an important skill when it comes to cooking. It's a good skill to have in life, in general. You might notice that a lot of my recipes are vague, or use approximates. This is because I never use recipes. Maybe I refer to them from time to time to check ingredients, or oven temp but for the most part I use recipes as merely a guide. I want you guys to realize that as well. Don't be too concerned with following a recipe to a T, sometimes, this isn't even an option. How many times have you been in the middle of making a dish and realize you are missing a major ingredient, or two? That happens to me often.
Today, I was going to make the spinach cake I posted a few weeks back for a client, along with several other recipes. I headed to Whole Foods just before I was supposed to be at the client's house and...they were out of spinach. I couldn't believe it. I guess I could have used frozen, but that would have added a couple of steps and I had a lot to cook in a short period of time. I didn't want to add any steps. Instead of freaking out, I just grabbed what looked good-mustard greens. Oh I love them so, not as much as kale, but a lot. I also picked up a few bunches of watercress. Now, this was a pretty easy substitution, but it's a good example of not being too stuck on what a recipe says. Sometimes I go to the store with a recipe in mind and they either don't have the ingredient I'm looking for or maybe the ingredient looks bad. This happens a lot, especially when it comes to fish. I stopped specifying fish when cooking for clients, instead, I buy what looks the best (of course, taking into consideration the client's likes and dislikes).
Understand that changing the ingredients, will obviously change the recipe, but that could be a good thing. A word of warning, though with the actual recipes, if you change it, make sure to write down the changes-if it's really good, you want to be able to recreate it. We can think of life as a recipe as well. We can either obsessively focus on the plan, as we see it and risk being disappointed often, or we can use the recipe as a guide making substitutions and tweaks based on the ingredients that come our way.