Back to Back Issues Page
How to Work with Recipes and use as a Guildline to Cook Favorite Dishes
July 25, 2016

Ethnic Spicy Food & More.com

As a chef, I get asked a lot of times on the ingredients used in dishes when I do cooking classes. The questions will go something like this. "Can I replace parsley for the cilantro as I don't like the taste?" I don't like my food too spicy, is it necessary to use jalapeno peppers or does it really take away from the dish?"

Of course there are other questions, but you get the general idea. The truth is when it comes to cooking, you can always adjust, unlike baking which is a exact science you must adhere to in order to get good results. However, with cooking, most of the time you can adjust some things along the way or make substitutions.

Lets take something as simple as Italian pesto for instance as an example...Pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, olive oil, garlic , pine nuts and sometimes a fresh parmesan cheese is added.

The basic technique or principal is basically some kind of green leaf, an aromatic(which is garlic in this case) and some kind of nuts, sometimes cheese and then olive oil that is blended together to create a tasty paste used in Italian cooking. Using this principle, look at these examples of what you can do to create your own special pesto which doesnt have to go with the original ingredients:

Cilantro, (leaf) coconut oil (replaces olive oil) , garlic, (aromatic) pumpkin seeds (replaced for nuts)

Parsley, (leaf) canola oil, (replaces olive oil) pistachios, (replaces pine nuts) garlic, (aromatic) crushed red pepper (spice)

Kale (leaf) avocado oil,(replaces olive oil) scallions (aromatic)

Watercress, (leaf) toasted peanuts (replaces pine nuts) Siracha (Asian hot sauce-spice), fresh ginger,(aromatic) canola oil(replaces olive oil)

As you can see, this gets you thinking of how you can make something that is totally your own. The next time you are cooking a recipe, just look at ingredients that YOU like and give it a try to revamp a makeover on a dish. Sometimes all it takes is using a different ingredient/or ingredients which can make all the difference in the flavor profile.

Here are some other quick tips to experimenting with this thought process:

Use different oils and vinegars to make salad dressings from scratch.

Add spices & herbs to rice pilafs, pasta, potatoes, eggs, etc.

Makes soups with various ingredients (Sometimes, you just use what's in your fridge and take it from there!)

Replace green cabbage with Napa cabbage (to make a coleslaw) Also great in soups!

When you think globally, cooking never get's boring. I hope the next time you get in the kitchen, you will think of doing a couple of the tips that I provided.

Speaking of different flavor profiles, as a thank you for being a subscriber, I would like to offer you a FREE e- cookbook on various salsa recipes that are eclectic and delicious to make on your own. To get this cookbook, I will just need to get your quick feedback on a three question survey for what you would like to see in future newsletters and on the Ethnic Spicy Food & More website. Just click on the link below and complete the quick survey and then you will receive an email on how to get your downloadable cookbook!

Complete the survey for your free e-cookbook!

P.S. This cookbook has 170 creative salsa recipes that you can make easily at home! These are not your normal recipes for homemade salsa, and because there is such a variety included I know you will want to try some of these soon...recipes included are Black Eyed Pea Salsa, Jamaican Salsa, Adobo Herb Salsa, Watermelon Salsa, Carrot Mango Salsa and even some sweet salsa's such as Tropical Fruit & Black Bean Salsa. Also included with this cookbook are recipes on how to cook with salsa in your everyday cooking.

I hope you enjoy the cookbook and visit Ethnic Spicy Food & More for inspiration.

Chef Vanessa,

Ethnic Spicy Food & More.com

Back to Back Issues Page