A Joyful Kitchen: Recipe Testing

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I am all about trying new recipes. After several years of experience and some real stinkers, I've learned how to select my experimental cooking more wisely. Here's my thought process before jumping into new recipes...

  • Is this something I've been able to taste before? Could have been a friend's cooking, at a restaurant, etc.
  • Does it call for ingredients I am familiar with, or better yet, already own? Spices are too expensive for me to buy for just one occasion. If I buy a new spice, I prefer to know that it will actually get used before going bad.
  • If this is a recipe found online, how are the reviews? So often you can learn a ton from others readers' comments.
  • Do I have the time to follow through with making the recipe? Ugh! There's nothing worse than seeing all your ingredients go to waste because you were too busy to cook!!

This may seem a bit on the conservative time, but for me, it's worked. It keeps me expanding my palate (and recipe collection) at a reasonable rate. Plus, it limits what I experiment with to one or two times a week. This week I don't freak hubby out with too many new flavors :) Well, I can't blame it on him. We are all creatures of habit and there are some recipes that I don't want to accidentally work out of rotation. Nevertheless, it keeps eating interesting!

So here are some of the new cooking adventures I am embarking upon this week:
  1. Freezer mango jam: I am going to base the recipe and instructions off of three different sources to come up with my own. I've never made any kind of jam before, but I think I can handle it. I just hope I'm not going to waste the ingredients by throwing caution to the wind and not following a recipe to a tee the first time.
  2. Vegan spice cake: I used a recipe from Peace a' Cake as a base last night and it turned out pretty good. (I served it up with fresh peaches instead of frosting - yum!) I am going to make it again with a few more tweaks and test it on my co-workers. If it goes well, I'll post it.
  3. Tofu alfredo sauce: I found an excellent recipe from Happy Herbivore. I'm planning to serve the sauce over linguine with steamed veggies and faux sausage. I make this meal with Paul Newman's jarred alfredo sauce as a quick dinner, but would like to see how I do making the sauce on my own.

There are so many more things I would like to try, but I have to keep it realistic. Sadly, in a few weeks I'll be starting school again with a nine credit course load...plus I work full time. My goal is to keep writing and cooking even if it is only once a week or so. After 16 weeks I'll have a lighter course load and can hopefully make a bigger time commitment to my personal interests. Thinking about it all makes me cringe, but if I stay positive and proactive it will pass before I know it!


Aubrey West @ Healthy Easy Recipes said...

I really want to try that freezer mango jam sooner than soon. Thanks for the great ideas!

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