October 16, 2014

Recipes on the Brain

As a food blogger and cooking enthusiast, I often get asked how I 'come up with' my recipes. This is sort of like asking a writer where their ideas come from. There is just no good answer.

But an awesome friend of mine (you know who you are!) mentioned that her husband had asked her this same question about me… just how do I come up with these recipes?? So I actually sat down and thought about it. And today you're going to get a peak into my twisted, recipe-creating brain.

Remember, I warned you.

The picture above is what my K├╝rbiscremesuppe recipe looked like before I blogged it for you. There are even more scribbles on the back of the page, but you get the idea. This is the God's honest truth:

I am a messy recipe creator.

Sometimes I cross out so many items, and add new ones in, that I have to re-write the recipe just to read my own handwriting. I begin by picking out what new taste I really want to try. Sometimes I choose a dish because it's a favorite of the Hubs, like Zuppa Toscana. I'm also into learning how to make things from scratch so I don't need to buy convenience items anymore, like my taco seasoning. Pumpkin cream soup came about because I've eaten it here in Bavaria at so many restaurants, and I totally fell in love with it.

DIY taco seasoning

I understand the basic mechanics of cooking. I've followed enough recipes, and watched enough YouTube. I've even taken a few classes. If there is a technique I don't understand, then I look it up. Makes sense, yes? Google is my friend. So I start by picking out what main ingredients I think should go in the recipe. For pumpkin soup? Um, hello… it's gotta have pumpkin in it. Probably some onion too, maybe some carrot. Definitely need broth of some type to make it soup. Could use water too. Maybe a combination??

What kind of seasonings do I feel like? Do I want to mix the cream in, or whip it and serve on top? I like the melty goodness of the cream on top, and I've seen several restaurants serve it that way as well. Yep, definitely need cream on top. And pumpkin oil. Gotta have the pumpkin oil.

This is seriously the type of stuff that goes through my brain. And I write it all down. The 'recipe' starts out all neat and tidy, a list of basic ingredients and a quick directional guide.

Somehow, from that comes this:

As I start cooking, I'm scratching out amounts. Sometimes I scratch out whole ingredients that I decide not to use. I'm drawing arrows between various steps, re-arranging as I go. I search through my spice cabinet and pull out new things.

I'm a mad scientist. Love it!

By the time it's all said and done, I still don't have a recipe. What I have is a tangled mess of scribbles that I then have to translate into a working recipe. If the flavor is off, even just a little, I start over again. I re-write the 'recipe' so I can actually read it. And then I get to work again making changes, taking out things that didn't work, and adding in things I think will.

I'm really lucky when I get it right the first time. Heck, when I get it right the second time! Sometimes it takes 5 or 6 tries before I'm really happy with the final product. Even with my tried and true recipes I make changes over the years as I learn more. This is an addiction, and a never-ending process.


Did you survive your walk through my recipe-crazed brain?? I hope so! There are several new recipes on the horizon, including one to make your own caramel sauce at home. I've already tested it twice, and I think the third time will be the charm! It makes a great Christmas gift…

Until next time my friends, happy cooking!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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1 comment:

  1. Watching you in the mad science is a gift, and being privileged to sample an experiment is VIP treatment!