Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Recipes: To Follow or Not To Follow--I Experiment.

So I have been meaning to write this post for a while. But things keep getting in the way.

So lets try one more time.

About a month ago I had this great idea--for my Memorial Day party I wanted to create an alcoholic drink that involved Strawberries and this bottle of peppermint schnapps that I've had in the fridge since the holidays. Essentially I wanted to make "fun" Strawberry-Mint Milkshakes.

And then the alcohol ban was instituted (essentially for a certain period of time, due to a death in my family we could not drink alcohol in the house). So what was I to do?

Not actually knowing how to make a basic Strawberry milkshake, I decided to wing it and purchased vanilla ice cream, strawberries (duh), milk, and a bunch of mint. And with some help on proportions, it came out alright. [Some of my fellow bloggers came to that shindig, and can let me know what they thought]

So my question is--how many of you are recipe mongers and how many of you are recipe ignorers?. That is do you love cooking with instructions firmly in hand, or do you prefer experimentation?

Obviously tried and true recipes are good because they give us specific cooking times and measurements, but is there a point where the internal cooking fairy in your heads goes *boink* I think this would taste better with a pinch of [insert ingredient of choice here].

Do you think this traces back to our mothers? I learned to cook from my mom who well, teaches Indian cooking in a way that is less than instructional. Its mostly and I quote "put some of this in, and some of that, and then let that heat up until the fourth whistle and sort of wait six minutes before turning it off." I like to think I've become fairly proficient in cooking without measurements, but there are times when too much salt is well too much salt--and you can't take it back!

I personally find experimentation exciting. 99% it produces something edible, but the other 1% of the time its garbage disposal worthy. When its good, though the creative energy lasts right down to making the presentation.

I do admit that I dare to experiment with certain types of food--Mexican, some baking, Italian, and creative grilled sandwiches--while others (i.e. Indian) are genres that I wouldn't dare mess with (in my heart my mom's recipes are perfection).

Maybe the best way to be stuck with experimenting is to not go to the grocery store. One finds after a while that when you're hungry, without transportation (or its really late at night) that one must experiment or go to sleep hungry (and who wants to do that!)

So possible CHALLENGE whenever we host our first get together (should we talk about setting a date?): Everyone bring three ingredients --one for a desert, one for a main meal, one for a side dish.....when we meet we plan and EXPERIMENT together.

FYI: To a certain fellow blogger. Yesterday was my sister's birthday and we had your favorite. Potato "balls" as you call them.:) We all thought of you.