ALTERING RECIPES. There are two common temptations to alter a recipe. First: If we have a little bit extra of an ingredient we’ll add it to the dish rather than discard or store it. Please don’t add a little extra of anything no matter what the reason. Freeze it, store it, dump it. Do anything but upset the balance of the recipe. It’s not worth ruining a dish over, and an extra handful of some ingredients can do just that. If you feel strongly about throwing bits of food away, then store them in a covered container in your refrigerator throughout the week. At the end of the week challenge yourself by doing something creative with them.
The second temptation to alter a recipe is that we have preconceived notions of how much spice we’re going to allow ourselves to use in any given recipe, regardless of the recommendation. For instance, we’ll say to ourselves.”Oh, I don’t think I’ll like that much curry, so I’ll use just a dash”, instead of the recommended tablespoon. By doing this we deprive ourselves of new taste experiences, which is what cooking animal-free is all about. I understand that for some of you, trying something new will take a little or even a lot of courage. But accept the challenge and develop a sense of adventure by allowing yourself the freedom to try something different. You might just like it. Let your palate be the judge.
More importantly though, by changing the amount of spice in a recipe to suit what you think you’ll like or dislike, especially if you change it by a significant amount, you attempt to convert a spicy dish to a bland one (if you reduce the amount of spice), or a bland dish to a spicy one (if you increase the amount of spice). Frankly, this cannot be done successfully without altering the other ingredients in a recipe. Why is this so? Because a spicy dish is built around ingredients that support the spice, and a bland dish around ingredients that depend more upon the ingredients than the spice for flavor. So, it’s best to keep a bland dish bland, and a spicy dish spicy. Then you pick and choose those which you like.
Now, to get back to measurement of a different sort. It is a good idea to keep a ruler in the kitchen in case you forgot what 1/4, 1/2, or 1 inch looks like; and that’s pretty easy to do, especially when you get down to very small measurements. Get accustomed to measurement, since this is my primary way of communicating with you.