To follow recipes or not?

epicuric

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oh this looks delicious indeed! I’m curious about the mix harissa-Greek yoghurt, very nice.
Any chance you’ll post the recipe?

Well, maybe I won’t make it now as the temp here is like being close to a volcano, but I’ll bookmarked for sure as soon temp will be better
It's not a recipe - I just made it up. Covered the meat in rose harissa paste before vac packing with seasoning and a little olive oil. After taking the meat out I put the juices from the bag into a small pan and added a little chicken stock and some Greek yoghurt. Probably would have been better with cream.
 
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MypinchofItaly

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It's not a recipe - I just made it up. Covered the meat in rose harissa paste before vac packing with seasoning and a little olive oil. After taking the meat out I put the juices from the bag into a small pan and added a little chicken stock and some Greek yoghurt. Probably would have been better with cream.
Thank you, sounds very nice and easy. My personal tastebuds go for Greek yoghurt rather than cream
 

epicuric

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I think you are a lot like me. Bravo
The more I cook, the less I follow recipes. I tend to use them for inspiration but seldom bother weighing or measuring anything. Probably why I'm rubbish at baking. It makes my smile when I hear someone complain "I followed the recipe to the letter and it still turned out rubbish". That's because you followed the recipe to the letter instead of using your taste, you muppet.
 

MypinchofItaly

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The more I cook, the less I follow recipes. I tend to use them for inspiration but seldom bother weighing or measuring anything. Probably why I'm rubbish at baking. It makes my smile when I hear someone complain "I followed the recipe to the letter and it still turned out rubbish". That's because you followed the recipe to the letter instead of using your taste, you muppet.
I also do like this, you learn how to regulate things based on experience, tastebuds, things you have available at the moment, habits.
However I sometimes need to follow a recipe if there is something completely new to me or an ingredient (maybe more) I’m not used to.
 

Morning Glory

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The more I cook, the less I follow recipes. I tend to use them for inspiration but seldom bother weighing or measuring anything. Probably why I'm rubbish at baking. It makes my smile when I hear someone complain "I followed the recipe to the letter and it still turned out rubbish". That's because you followed the recipe to the letter instead of using your taste, you muppet.
I almost never follow recipes. But I've trained myself to make notes as I go, so I can post the recipes here. :D Also I'm intending to set up a blog... so I'm building content. Somehow I never get round to it...
 

epicuric

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I almost never follow recipes. But I've trained myself to make notes as I go, so I can post the recipes here. :D Also I am intending to set up a blog... somehow I never get round to it.
I regularly get into bother with my wife for not writing things down. Whenever I cook something that she really likes, she will say "You did write that down how you did that, didn't you?" - Er, no. "Then how are you going to make it next time?" - Don't worry, it'll be fine.
 

Windigo

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I follow recipes unless I have made the dish succesfully before and am confident about it. Cooking school really teaches one to be respectful of good recipes, why change a winning team?

Most classic cooking relies heavily on recipes, and rightfully so. Sometimes certain things just need doing a certain way. No tampering with baking, or classic sauces. They don't allow it.
 

Burt Blank

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The more I cook, the less I follow recipes.
Exactly, I visualize what the main ingredient will look like cooked. My wife is a brilliant patisserie cook, she immediately grasped the principles of ingredient knowledge and accuracy. She is quite possibly better than I ever was.As a cook she frustrates me.Example. She has to use a meat thermometer. I show her the thumb and finger test for steak which has never failed for me. Touch, Smell, Taste and imagination is how I roll, possibly that is why my descriptive pros although completely accurate are not palatable to some.
 

Burt Blank

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No tampering with baking, or classic sauces. They don't allow it.
Why then for example are Escoffier's five mother sauces (béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, tomato, and veloute) called mother sauces ?They differ based on their main ingredient and thickening agent. Although the five mother sauces are usually not consumed in their original state, they can be made into many secondary sauces by adding herbs, spices, or other ingredients. I agree with you with regards to patisserie/baking but cooking no.Modern chefs with flair like Ferran Adria Acosta do not follow they create. To quote one of the greatest chefs who's food I ate.

Ferran Adrià:
It is very difficult to be innovative at the highest level in any discipline. For some chefs, it’s simply a matter of combining ingredients, but that’s something you can do with your eyes closed.
 
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epicuric

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I follow recipes unless I have made the dish succesfully before and am confident about it. Cooking school really teaches one to be respectful of good recipes, why change a winning team?

Most classic cooking relies heavily on recipes, and rightfully so. Sometimes certain things just need doing a certain way. No tampering with baking, or classic sauces. They don't allow it.
The problem with recipes is that they don't take into account variations in the flavours of the ingredients. You could blindly follow the same recipe to the letter many time over and get a different result every time.
 

Morning Glory

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Why then for example are Escoffier's five mother sauces (béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, tomato, and veloute) called mo- cooking is a creative act.ther sauces ?They differ based on their main ingredient and thickening agent. Although the five mother sauces are usually not consumed in their original state, they can be made into many secondary sauces by adding herbs, spices, or other ingredients.
That is still 'classical' cooking. Larousse lists all the various sauces that can be made from a mother sauce.

But I agree with you. largely. Cooking is a creative act. There are basic skills which need to be learned and there are basic recipes which can be learned and then used in a multitude of ways.
 

Windigo

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Why then for example are Escoffier's five mother sauces (béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, tomato, and veloute) called mother sauces ?They differ based on their main ingredient and thickening agent. Although the five mother sauces are usually not consumed in their original state, they can be made into many secondary sauces by adding herbs, spices, or other ingredients. I agree with you with regards to patisserie/baking but cooking no.Modern chefs with flair like Ferran Adria Acosta do not follow they create. To quote one of the greatest chefs who's food I ate.

Ferran Adrià:

Well.. i said certain things can't be tampered with. Not that everything should be made with a recipe.

People like Ferran Adria did not become who they are without a firm understanding of basic techniques. Which is what recipes are for. You can't build a house without a foundation, otherwise cooking schools could just close their doors.
 

TastyReuben

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Modern chefs with flair like Ferran Adria Acosta do not follow they create. To quote one of the greatest chefs who's food I ate.

Ferran Adrià:
Ahhhh, but this is taking someone else's personal goal or want, and applying to everyone, isn't it? Isn't it assuming that the goal for those of us who cook is that we want to cook "with flair," and/or "be innovative?" Some of us may not wish to create new things, we may just want to cook tasty food, and if it comes from a recipe that someone else developed, so be it. I have no desire to innovate, or to come up with something no one else has done. Let them create. I'll reap the rewards of their effort! 😬

For the most part, I'd say upwards of 98% of the time, I'm a recipe follower. Even if it's something I've made a thousand times before, out comes the recipe, just because I'm a "measure twice, cut once" kind of person.

Sure, if I'm making a frittata, I'll just look in the fridge and say..."Hmmm...asparagus, fontina, that'll work, leftover kraut, no...potatoes, and peppers...I'm set." No recipe for that, but that's just a step above making toast. :)

A couple of reasons why I like recipes:

1. I have a <bleeping> lot of stuff going on in any given day. I know, we all have problems and challenges, and many folks' would make mine seem small, but for me, they're not, and they cause a fair amount of stress and physical/mental exhaustion at times, and the last thing I want to do is walk into the kitchen at 5PM and say, "Right...time for supper...let's create!" and come up with some flash new way to use beets and pork and ice cream. No, when I walk in the kitchen at 5PM, I want to know exactly what's coming out later. I want a plan. Otherwise, I'm just adding one more point of stress in my life, and I've already got enough of those.

2. I need a recipe just to remind me of what goes in something, even if I've made it for years. The shepherd's pie recipe that I've used for around 20 years had 19 ingredients in it (I just counted) - no way I could remember that on my own, let alone amounts. Never going to happen.

3. I'm not willing to make a bad meal. Yes, I make bad meals, but the way to guarantee the highest rate of success for me is to follow a recipe. If I make a bad meal, I feel like the most worthless piece of crap that was ever crapped out, and it takes me days, literally days, to get out of the funk of low feelings that comes from messing up in the kitchen. Secondly, mess up a meal, now I'm faced with having to come up with something else on the spot to replace what I just screwed up, and unless it's a bowl cereal, that means delaying a meal. We're in a rural area, and except for a little roadside tavern a few miles down the road, we don't have to option to just pop round the corner for a quick takeaway.

4. For me, I mainly cook to eat. I don't cook to satisfy some culinary curiosity, I don't cook express myself. Do I enjoy cooking? Absolutely, I enjoy it immensely. Some days, I wake up thinking about what I'm going to be making later that day, but where I get a lot of my satisfaction is the mechanics of it, and in looking at a countertop full of 19 separate ingredients at 5PM, and seeing a fully-realized, greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, delicious shepherd's pie on my plate at 6:30PM.
 
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