For those of you who have not read one of my recipes before, you’ll notice a few things that make an appearance in almost all of them. I’ve got a bunch lined up to share, so I thought I’d do a little write up about how I make my way around writing a recipe. Here’s a little breakdown of what tends to pop up a lot:
- I don’t always use traditional measurements. My best friends favorite example of this is when I wrote her a recipe that instructed her to add olive oil to a recipe in the amount of “one turn of the pan.” For me, much of cooking is muscle-memory rather than a cup or a teaspoon. The freedom of this is one of the many reasons I love cooking and do not really enjoy baking. While I’ll give it a go from time to time-mainly just when I make my little’s birthday cakes-It’s just too “math” for me and I don;t enjoy the exactness of it all. Also there is flour. EVERYWHERE.
- You’ll notice I say “season with salt and pepper to taste.” A LOT. Why? Most people under salt when they are cooking. Somewhere along he way we became afraid of salt. Most of the health issues that arise from “salt” are actually the result of consuming processed foods that have more sodium in them then you could ever even add to a recipe if you tried. So let’s try not to be afraid of seasoning our food. Ever hear the saying “the salt of life?” Yeah, we need it. Food needs it. It’s crucial to cooking. However, I realize that not everyone has the same tastebuds and some people have diary restrictions. Thus, “to taste.” If I am making a soup or sauce I will occasionally add a general measurement to begin with and then go from there, gently nudging you to taste, stir, and adjust. Oh, and I always mean Kosher salt when I write a recipe, unless otherwise noted.
- My recipes will often ask you to taste a few times during the process of making the recipe. This is truly how I learned to become a good cook- at the end of my grandmothers’ wooden spoons. One was often covered in some kind of sauce while the other held a stew or a creamy dollop of mashed potato. Don’t underestimate the power of this step to transform, and increase your enjoyment of, your cooking. Also, I secretly believe this is why the cook lets everyone else eat firs. We’re already kind of full.
- Most of my food will be gluten-free, because that’s just how I cook. PLEASE NOTE: I am not allergic to gluten nor do I have an intolerance, gluten just doesn’t really like me. So if you are either of these things, be sure to check ingredients before you prepare your nosh from one of my recipes.
- You’ll see the word “fresh” a lot. Cheese? Freshly grated. Herbs? Fresh. Pepper? Freshly cracked. Lemon? Freshly squeezed (although that plastic lemon in the fridge brings back childhood memories, please let’s not do that) Not that I never use a frozen veg here and there, I do. But somethings just have to be prepped and used fresh to get the desired results.
I hope you enjoyed a small peek into my mind while I’m in the kitchen trying to write a recipe. And I guess I should use his term lightly, as my turn of the pan and sprinkle measurements may offend those pouring their sweat and time into figuring out the precise measurements that make something taste just so.
I’m currently reading the chapter on the origin, transformation, and current status of recipes in Adam Gopnik’s “The Table Comes First.” It’s intensely interesting, and it prompts me to more accurately call my recipes “rules,” as they did in old family recipe collections that were handed down through the generations, rather than recipes.
Whatever we call them, I hope you’ll find something you like here- and then I hope you’ll take it and make it your own.
P.S This guy doesn’t care what anyone calls them, just take his word for it- the stuff that comes out of his mom’s kitchen is pretty darn good.