November 7, 2013

Make a recipe yours: A few tips and tricks

I have a long-term goal in mind.  The short and direct version of that is to one day write up a cookbook.  A cookbook that's unique, but that really just involves favorite family recipes and shortcut recipes that I have made in the past.  All things yummy for sure!

The sucky part is that I still have no clue where to start. My brain feels fried, and I don't even have a kid yet. All I know is, if I ever write a book, it will involve food in some way.

Sammy enjoys writing, too.

I wanted to share with you the things I feel are necessary for a good recipe.  I Googled "how to write a recipe" for some kind of guide. I am only sharing the steps I feel are important and put it in my own writing.  I've utilized half of these methods for writing recipes in the past.  I keep working at it each time I go to type up a recipe. I think there is no right or wrong way; write it how you like and have fun with it.  However, I do think the most crucial part of a recipe is how and when you use the ingredients.  I'm not a fan of vagueness.  {i.e.} "ingredients": About 1 cup Carrots. Puree once tomatoes are soft and cooked down.

Soooo..when do I puree the carrots?  And what kind of carrots are we talking about?  diced? baby? shredded?  Be specific.

If you're curious, see below. :)

1. List all the ingredients at top of the recipe, rather than having them interspersed through the method.

2. List every.single.ingredient.

3. Offer subs for unusual ingredients , otherwise people might just completely omit it out. { i.e.} Coconut milk. Some people are allergic or just hate coconut.  Mention Almond milk would be fine. Or regular milk.

4. It's good to explain things like "toasting nuts" in the method, instead of having just " 1 cup toasted walnuts."  I would say something like, "over medium-high heat..."

5. CRUCIAL:  "Directions like "chopped" come right after the measurement, that is, if you are measuring them chopped. So, "1 cup chopped mushrooms".  If you measure something whole and then chop it, say, "1 cup walnuts, chopped".  Sounds like a duh moment, but I've made this mistake a lot in the past.

6. Be clear if you use different versions of an ingredient. "milk" is vague.  Mention if you used skim or whole. Light or dark brown sugar; etc.

7.  Instead of using certain unfamiliar cooking terms, for example,  "saute", explain its meaning.  I would say something like, "saute the onions and peppers until they have turned soft and translucent". Or "cook down until onions and peppers are fork-tender, meaning, not hard".  There are opportunities  to get creative when defining ingredients.

8. If people should be whisking, stirring, blending while baking or cooking, mention it.  Whisking is much, much different than stirring.


10. Mention the size of your baking dish and what kind.  Example: "8x8 glass dish" or " a bundt cake pan or loaf pan". I actually notice this step is always neglected. I see a lot of " in a medium baking dish/pan..."  But...I have 10 medium baking pans and they are all different....frown.

11.  Mention the pre-heat oven temp before anything else. I've gotten in a good habit of doing this.

12. Mention checking for doneness of the food; baking or cooking.  "stab it with a toothpick" is a fun way to check your cake. Just sayin'

13. In the last step of a recipe, don't throw in " serve with hot mashed potatoes" or " hot rice" ; "steamed veggies".  Even though the mashed potatoes are not the star of the main Chicken dish you want to share, I would mention how you made the mashers early on or how those veggies got steamed.

14. Have fun creating your own recipe!

{I of course added in #14 because I didn't want to end on #13}

Again, there's definitely ways to write up a recipe; you can always make it your own and unique.  But knowing a few key points will definitely make you and your recipe stand out. :)

So tell me:

Do you enjoy writing recipes?

If you have more tips and tricks, please share!

We all have our blog-fart moments.  Is there anything you hate doing when it comes to writing up a post/recipe?  I hate when I thought of a great post idea a week earlier. I then go to write about it and I'm completely lost.  Or I resort to photos to make up some kind of story. hehe.
I'll get back to you on the whole cookbook goal. :)

Happy almost Friday!

1 comment:

  1. really good tips! things for me to remember for sure!