Discover more from Blissful Cooking and Yoga with Leanne Brown
Want to Cook from your Cupboard More?
Let me show you how to read recipes to figure out what you can skip or swap
One of the number one complaints and longings I hear about cooking is “I want to be able to cook from what I already have in the house! I buy all the ingredients I need for this recipe, and even if it’s great I’m never going to use up all the little tubes and containers I bought for such a small amount!”
So let me show you a skill that can really help you on your way to cooking from the cupboard more often. Keep reading and I will show you how to dissect a recipe to understand what is a main ingredient central to the dish and what is not. If you understand that you can skip some things and swap things without fear of having something inedible.
Now if you liked this, make sure you sign up for the waitlist for my 5 week class because we will be learning this and much more together as we work through our worries together and finish with a class on baking for the holiday.
A Dissection of 4 Recipes for Swaps and Skips
Fun fact, these recipes are from my earliest cookbook, From Scratch that I wrote when I was a youngster of 25. Scroll down below this text to see each of the recipes I’m referring to here.
These are 4 quiche recipes with a similar general formula and basics, but different ways to flavor them. You will notice a lot of similarities between them in formula, but I have created different flavors for each one so they taste very different within the general structure of a quiche. So, let me break down the quiche formula for you so you know what you can swap, or skip!
THE CRUST (keep firm): This is the same in each recipe. In this case it’s an all-butter crust made from all-purpose flour. The only exception is the green chile cheese pie which uses whole wheat flour and cornmeal to create more crunch in the crust. This part of the recipe I would say no skips, but you make some small substitutions like I did with the Green Chile Cheese pie if you feel confident.
THE LIQUID/CUSTARD (swappable): In the first two recipes we have a little more eggs and dairy (which is the custard part) and less in the second two. So long as you stick with the ratio of eggs and dairy you can swap any other dairy or non-dairy. So you could do yogurt and sour cream of just milk or ricotta and cream. You can make that decision based on what you have around, or flavor and texture.
THE MAIN FLAVORS (swappable): Here we have the basic flavoring and also bulk of the recipe. The broccoli and cheddar, the asparagus, the mass of various vegetables in the veggie pie. You can absolutely swap these for something similar and it should not affect cooking time, but you will want to keep the same quantity generally. So you could do cauliflower instead of broccoli or cooked squash instead of asparagus, but you need it to be the same amount and you need it to cook at a similar pace to each other.
THE EXTRA FLAVORS (usually skippable): So in these recipes this means the small amounts of ingredients that are for flavor. So in the broccoli cheddar quiche the extra flavor is the mustard and scallions, in the asparagus quiche it’s the herbs, onion and garlic. They are wonderful to have and will give the dish a particular flavor but you can safely skip these and you will still have a great meal, just one without that specific flavor. You can swap the flavors for different things you do have or keep it simple.
*This step is particularly for those who find it frustrating to have to buy a lot of special ingredients for a recipe. Learn to note which parts are these extra flavors and you can skip them when you want something simpler on a weeknight.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Lastly, take a particular look at the veggie pie recipe. It’s kind of just one big lesson in what can be swapped or skipped and what is essential. I have written it so that the crust and the amounts of everything are clear, but within each category (dairy, vegetables and extra flavors) you can make choices that will make this a different pie.
I hope that was clear and is a start in helping you understand the art of how to substitute, swap or skip!
If this is of interest to you, I will be teaching this skill during the 5-week course I am offering this October. More details to come. Join the waitlist here!
And hey, give these recipes a try. They are vintage baby Leanne Brown and if I do say so, they hold up pretty well!