Press-Republican

Columns

March 25, 2014

Embrace each kitchen crisis

In the kitchen, just like everywhere else in life, things do not always go as planned.

Recently I had two mini crises surrounding food preparation that actually turned out better due to the problem.

One of the problems was that I had simply run out of eggs, but did not realize this until I was half done mixing cornbread batter.

A quick search online and moments later I was substituting ground flax seed and water for the missing egg. The result was delicious corn bread. I may not always substitute out eggs in baked goods, but I will not worry now if I am low on eggs and get in the mood to bake.

There are many tricks to help you out if you realize a little too late that you are out of a key ingredient.

Here are a few I find especially helpful:

Baking powder: For 1 teaspoon, use ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Breadcrumbs: Use a comparable amount of crushed or ground (food processor works great) oats, crackers, unsweetened cereal or wheat germ.

Buttermilk: For 1 cup, add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of regular mix, stir in and let stand a few minutes.

Egg: For one egg, try 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water, mix and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Fresh herbs: For one tablespoon of finely chopped herbs, use 1 teaspoon dried herbs.

Unsweetened chocolate: For 1 ounce, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil.

Most of these are baking substitutions; since baking is a science a precise substitution is more important.

When cooking, try to be creative and open-minded about the dish.

Out of kidney beans and craving chili? Try black beans, pinto beans, any beans really; since the taste comes from the spices and tomatoes, the beans just add bulk and nutrition. 

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