Inspiration/Experimentation - From The Witch's Kitchen Blog at - 221956

From The Witch's Kitchen

Feb. 9, 2011 8:11 am 
Updated: Mar. 6, 2011 5:25 pm
  Inspired by Healthy banana cookies
I have a problem following recipes; there I said

it. I'm always adding a little of this or omitting

that and making substitutions, sometimes to the

point where the finished dish doesn't even

resemble the original recipe. I like to think of

this and playing in the kitchen, its fun! Some

would say it's terrible to not follow a recipe

exactly on the first go through but I like to

experiment. If I fail in my experiment I blame it

on myself and not the original recipe that I

modified. When I succeed I feel like I've made

a great new discovery. I try really hard to

follow recipes when I make things like candy

and other things that I am afraid of. I'm tackling

souffles this month and I'm crossing my fingers

in hopes that I can force my self to stick to that


     Red thai seafood curry                        Spinach seafood casserale                     Mango coconut deer ribs
        inspired by:                                          inspired by:                                                inspired by:
 Shrimp red thai curry                   Christmas seafood casserole            Island Jump up Ribs     

I often use recipes from this site as inspiration

only. I find a recipe that inspires me and then

tweak it beyond all reason to make my own

creation. I never review the recipe or post

pictures when I do this as I think it is unfair to

the recipe and to the people viewing the photos

thinking that their creation will come out

looking like mine.  I've made wonderful things

like mango coconut deer ribs, red thai seafood

curry, spinach seafood casserole, slow cooker

vegan red beans and rice,  sushi inspired

pollock and many more.  Now that I have a

supporting membership here I sometimes write

my new creations up as personal or custom

recipes, depending on how different the

resulting dish is from the original recipe and

how well it turns out. 

   coconutty cereal bars                     Sushi Inspired Pollock             vegan red beans and rice
red thai seafood curry
Photo Detail
spinach seafood casserole
Photo Detail
mango coconut deer ribs
Photo Detail
Feb. 9, 2011 9:04 am
my name is Redneck Gramma and I too am a tweaker, welcome Sarah May. It's so hard not to play with a recipe. I try to stay on track with the group recipe, but I look at a recipe like my sister (the artiist) looks at a blank canvas. The ideas ooze out of me, and I rarely pick a bad recipe unless I am on the hunt for somthing with low reviews and trying to tweak it up a bit. Some days I find bad ratings but really enjoy the recipe myself-different tastes are good. Glad you posted the cereal, coocnut bars-I make the same thing but never thought of coconut-good call. I also drizzle a little chocolate over the top for the special day lunches. You know I will make it, review it and probably add a tweak :P I also follow candy as is, but after making it a few times (if a candy thermometer is not involved) I even tweak candy, chocolates and fillings.
Feb. 9, 2011 9:32 am
Thanks RnG, I've been a recipe tweaker for as long as I've been a cook. I do play with candy after I've made it successfully a couple times but not the first time ;).
Feb. 9, 2011 10:02 am
Oh, I'm a tweaker, I'm a tweaker! I can't even force myself to follow a recipe when I really really mean to, and since I never measure unless baking, even my own recipes are guesstimates. I really do believe that any recipe is simply a jumping off point, and welcome people to raid my recipe box for ideas and then tweak to their hearts content! I too, though, refrain from leaving a review if I've fundamentally changed the recipe...if I add something though I'll make the suggestion. :)
Feb. 9, 2011 10:08 am
Oh, my only regret is when I make something that turns out absolutely fabulous....then cannot replicate it! I can remember what I used, but although it might be similar, the former perfection eludes me! Woe!
Feb. 9, 2011 10:22 am
I'm a tweaker out of necessity and convenience... when I first started out cooking I would run to the store every day to get exactly the right ingredients. It was expensive and I was upset when it didn't turn out. Then I started figuring out what I could use instead and started to make more subsitutions to fit what I have in my fridge and pantry. Far less frustrating when it didn't turn it, it's more like "oh well, it needed to be used up!!!"
Feb. 9, 2011 10:27 am
Yes Sarah-May I am a tweaker too. I have yet to meet a recipe I haven't tweaked. I read cookbooks and watch food shows for inspiration. I always have to change something to suit my or my family's tastes. I have a dear friend that always follows the recipe to the letter, to the point of being anal about it. She once wanted to make a recipe that called for fresh parsley but could not find it at the store so she refused to make the dish. I asked her why she didn't just add a little bit of ground parsley. She said "Because the recipe did not call for that" and gave the DUH! look. LOL.
Feb. 9, 2011 10:38 am
i am a total tweaker! this is so funny because i have actually been trying to think of a better term for the last few days. "tweaker" makes me think of a different type of person with a different type of problem, but i will admit to never following a recipe! my dh has asked me to write down recipes, but i can't really. whenever i try to measure things out, they don't seem to turn out as well. i taste and sniff and go with my gut, and that works best. :) someone on the buzz (maybe skoo) said they liked to tinker with recipes. maybe we can go with "tinkerers"? :)
Feb. 9, 2011 11:02 am
Sarah, that happens to me all of the time! I make something awesome and then can never get it just right again. Especially with soup :D.
Feb. 9, 2011 11:04 am
Minnesota_Girl, one of the side benefits of tweaking is it's cost effectiveness. Sometimes you have something that needs to be used up and come up with something amazing that you may have never made from a recipe. Thanks for commenting.
Feb. 9, 2011 11:05 am
Melie D, lol I've yet to meet someone that crazy about sticking to a recipe!
Feb. 9, 2011 11:06 am
lol zeebee, my hubby gave me a funny look when I said I was a tweaker! How about if we call ourselves creative cooks?
Feb. 9, 2011 1:04 pm
i try and give a recipe it's due...but yup i tweak 'em, either from lack of ingredients or knowing i will not like that item in the dish. i explain my changes but will not give a low rating to something i changed. that's goofed. i love the unexpected simple recipes that need nothing...the 5-8 ingredient ones...great ez stuff. you never know where you will find inspiration.
Feb. 9, 2011 1:05 pm
Its okay Sarah, I *cough* do it to! I have the hardest time following a recipe exactly, I always feel it could use a little of somthing else. Although my changes arent durastic, I still review them and state my changes, but if I dont care for it then I just dont review it because I figure its what I But the Red thai seafood curry sounds and looks sooo good!
Feb. 9, 2011 1:23 pm
gderr, I sometimes rate/review when I've changed something. Let's face it I usually change something, it's when I use a recipe as a base to make something completely different that I refrain from rating or reviewing or when my changes are major. Thanks for commenting. :D
Feb. 9, 2011 1:25 pm
Thanks SB! The curry was spectacular and sooo pretty. Vegetables are great to take pictures of. I altered the recipe by: stirfrying onion, garlic, ginger, red and green peppers and carrot strips upping the amount of curry paste called for and using frozen mixed seafood (cooked shrimp, cooked mussels, raw cuttlefish and raw squid) that I simmered in the sauce for about 5 minutes and serving with a squeeze of lime and cilantro over vermicelli. Great stuff!
Feb. 9, 2011 1:34 pm
Raised hand over here. But yet, I can't seem to start without a recipe for most things. I am always adding some kind of vegetable to things if at all possible, both for color and for health. And I have also created a few fabulous concoctions that will never be tasted again. I've started printing recipes and then crossing off or correcting amounts that I change as I go in hopes that if I make a winner it wont be a one shot wonder :)
Feb. 9, 2011 1:54 pm
linda2d, that's a really good idea! Now I need more counter space for a binder to keep track of what I've done :D.
Feb. 9, 2011 2:35 pm
I just had a thought-I do my best thinking when I clean. If you no longer want to call it tweaking-how about we change the name to .....follow with me now....clooneying? In my thread on the buzz it seems many women sorta like George Clooney- Clooney is close to cloning-cloning is making another (maybe better, maybe not) -so you could ask, did you clooney that recipe? Oh I so clooneyed that recipe. I want to try this recipe but it would need some clooneying. Are you a clooney, yes I love to clooney.....NO? OK maybe I am breathing in too many cleaning fumes-just a thought LOL
Feb. 9, 2011 3:05 pm
I tweak (and/or Clooney) and I am proud of it. My grandmother was the most amazing cook and I can so clearly remember her telling me when I was still a child that a good cook doesn't need a recipe to produce good food. I think I asked her how she could cook without a cookbook I honestly believe my nose is my most valuable kitchen tool. My kids joke that they starve when I have a cold. Cooking, to me, is an art not a science. It should be an expression of the cook as a painting or sculpture is of the artist. And most of all - it should be fun!!
Feb. 9, 2011 4:24 pm
RnG does that mean that trying to reserect "dead" (one to two star recipes) is called Morrisoning?
Feb. 9, 2011 4:48 pm
BigShotsMom, I agree completely! Cooking is a creative outlet for me and is the only one I have time to do every day!
Feb. 9, 2011 7:01 pm
Well, y'all know I'm an unrepentant clooney-er :) Can't help it. There are some ingredients I'm not overly fond of and others I AM overly fond of. I've NEVER taken stars away from any recipe, ever. Whatever the recipe was, it was a great place for me to start, at any rate, that was then. . .I no longer review because of this nasty habit. But I DO still cook :) Love it!
Feb. 9, 2011 7:09 pm
Well then I'm a tweaker. a cloonyer, a creative cook, a morrisoner, etc. and PROUD OF IT!!! Like many of you said, for whatever reason? If I have items that need to be used up or personal likes and/or dislikes will prompt me to transform a recipe. I guess that means we are "Transformers" too ;) Food is art, food is love and food is from the heart. Make it your own!
Feb. 9, 2011 7:38 pm
LadySparkle you clooney-er you! lol I think I'm at least as guilty as you and I do have mixed feelings about reviewing with changes. I have an imaginary line and only I can tell when I've crossed it ;P.
Feb. 9, 2011 7:39 pm
Grams, way to go, be proud! I am too, sometimes I bemoan my inability to follow a recipe but really I would never give up my creativity to gain it.
Feb. 9, 2011 9:01 pm
I Tweak! I find the recipes to be a source of inspiration and I run with it. Unless its totally unfamiliar to me, or a meat recipe that I will not be eating. In those cases I'll follow the recipes....but wait...usually I read through the reviews and see how other tweakers have tweaked and I sometimes tweak those as well.
Feb. 10, 2011 3:39 am
I too tweak! I used to look at reviews and ask myself "How can someone say they don't like a recipe when they've changed it beyond recognition?". I thought I was a purist to the extent that family members couldn't believe how I measured so exactly when using a printed (posted) recipe. Then I started writing reviews and OMG, I discovered I was tweaking without even realizing it!! For health reasons, I always substitute ground veal for hamburger;because I keep kosher, I always use non-dairy margarine instead of butter in anything I might be serving with a meat dinner; I only use lite soy sauce and 2 percent milk and think nothing of it; and I admit it I use dried cilantro,ginger,parsley etc. rather than fresh because of the convenience factor. So, while I am not not really creative enough to think of my self as a tweaker, I have discovered that I actually am LOL!
Feb. 10, 2011 5:29 am
Justus&Dane's Mom, lol "see how other tweakers have tweaked" gave me a giggle, thanks for commenting :D.
Feb. 10, 2011 5:32 am
Andee, that's how the tweaking gets started, you sub things then you learn what will and will not work, then once you've got all of those things covered you start throwing other things in there and pretty soon you're tweaking with the worst (best?) of them (us?). ;)
Feb. 10, 2011 7:45 am
I have to say that I can't help myself - last night I set out to make Chicken Picatta - what we ate was something entirely different - but delicious and NO I probably could not make it again exactly the same way. That's me - it is also the reason I have trouble writing recipes - I don't measure. It is both a curse and a gift - I can look in the freezer - see a chunk of meat and create a meal with what I have on hand. Mind you - if it is REALLY good - enjoy it now as you may never taste it again. :) Thanks for a great blog.
Feb. 10, 2011 8:54 am
lol Baking Nana I think we need someone to record every move we make in the kitchen so that we can remember exactly what we did ;).
Feb. 10, 2011 1:48 pm
Nope, not a tweaker, not unless something is wrong with the original recipe!
Feb. 10, 2011 1:58 pm
Wow CookieWeasel, I admire your ability to follow a recipe :D. Something I'm really lacking in.
Feb. 10, 2011 7:06 pm
I tweak a LOT!!! Not so much in baking, but definitely sauces, soups, marinades, anything with spices, anything that the flavors require balance.
Feb. 10, 2011 7:52 pm
I am such a bad Clooney-er/tweaker when it comes to cooking, my friends will ask for a recipe and I tell them that they will just need to come over and watch me make it and they can write down whatever they want, AND there are no guarantees that it will be the same 'cuz things rarely come out the same way twice in my kitchen. I have a 17 year old son that is learning to love the kitchen (he is baking cookies as I write this), and I have been trying to teach him that cooking is an art and baking is a science. When he cooks he should use a recipe as a suggestion and use his taste buds and common sense to guide him. When he is baking he will need to follow a recipe more closely as proper combinations of sugars, fats, liquids and rising agents, temperatures and humidity will all affewct the outcome of a recipe.
Feb. 11, 2011 4:51 am
Thanks for dropping by Good EatNZ
Feb. 11, 2011 4:53 am
MammaC, I think it's so wonderful that your 17 year old SON loves to cook! That's so cool, and kudos to you for seeing his interest and teaching him. :D
Feb. 11, 2011 5:59 pm
Sometimes I tweak, and sometimes I don't. Following a recipe isn't a "problem," and if I bake, I almost always follow the recipe (for obvious reasons.) But even with cooking I will follow a recipe, sometimes merely as a way of disciplining myself! But I do tweak, either as food-substitution, or making something to our taste.
Feb. 11, 2011 6:30 pm
I confess, I am a tweaker! I usually follow a recipe the first time but after that it is fair game! I nearly always change something. Soups and chili and such are never by a recipe. Once several years my daughter wanted to know how to make chile so I wrote down the ingredients I used and gave it to her. She and her boy friend looked at it and the bf started to laugh. He said now what are we supposed to do with these ingredients? Do they just know what to do if we set them out on the cabinet?
Feb. 11, 2011 6:45 pm
Me too....tweaker all the way. My comment is on your statement of reviewing a recipe. If you tweak a recipe to the point it is totally different from the original recipe, one should not comment. It's now different. I love to take a recipe and thing oh what about this or that, makes it a whole new recipe. One should not rate or comment if not following the original recipe to a "T". Do love to tweak though...I, like you, love to look for recipes to tweak to what I have in the pantry or fridge. Thanks for validating our addiction.
Feb. 11, 2011 10:49 pm
addiction?? welcome to RTA: recipe tweakers anonymous. :D i have to say, "recipe tweaker" definitely sounds better to me. we should start a RTA group and discuss which recipes we tweak!
Feb. 12, 2011 5:09 am
i don't recipe tweak a darn THING! i am a Hopeless Case. how do i become a more adventurous cook?? i'm getting so bored with my food. -e
Feb. 12, 2011 5:26 am
Thanks for stopping by Diana :D Even when I set out to follow a recipe I am tempted to tweak, even baking I'll sub some of the flour with oats, some of the sugar with honey or add spices...I just can't help myslef.
Feb. 12, 2011 5:27 am
Granny Gigi, that hilarious! lol just set them out, sometimes I wish cooking could be like that!
Feb. 12, 2011 5:29 am
Dianna, I said that I do not review a recipe when it is used for inspiration. If my tweaking is minor and doesn't effect what the recipe is AND it turns out well then I review, if I tweak and get a bad result or tweak beyond reason I don't :D, thanks for stopping in.
Feb. 12, 2011 5:34 am
Zeebee, lol Run it right alongside the recipe group, everybody vote on a recipe and then no one follow it exactly ;)
Feb. 12, 2011 5:42 am
Eribell, I started out with spices. I'd make a recipe but use more spice or add different ones. I sort of learned what flavors worked together that way, then I learned about substitutions, like applesauce instead of oil in baking, or plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Another good place to start is in salads, add different veggies, or bacon :D. Tweaking is a learning process and you will have some failure with it but you'll remember that for next time!
Feb. 12, 2011 7:02 am
Hi, I'm llive24. I am addicted to tweaking recipes. I rarely follow a recipe exactly, for some reason I just can't make myself. I have had a few failures, but lots of success. I tend to want to master a genre (for lack of a better word) of food. I have done souffles, breads, cookies, homemade pasta, creme brulee, cakes, and more. My current one is pastries. My husband thinks I am crazy because I still can't follow a recipe even when it is something new and he eats a specific type of food for about a month before I move on. I add my favorite recipes to my cookbook and come back to them often.
Feb. 12, 2011 8:50 am
Whenever I use a recipe it usually doesnt go back in the cupboard untweaked.....guilty. lol
Feb. 13, 2011 10:03 pm
I love to tweak a recipe, and usually do. Unless it is something that I have never heard of, for instance my husband is Dutch. He will want me to make something Dutch and I will follow exactly, since I have no idea how to pronounce it, let alone how it is supposed to turn out. Other than that, I will us the recipe as a guide. Dianna, I really like to read "tweaked" reviews. It helps me with stuff like substitutions, and ideas. If every reviewer followed to a tee, it would be quite dull, imho.
Feb. 14, 2011 9:03 am
live24, I've been on a pastry kick lately too! Not so good for the waistline :D. Thanks for commenting.
Feb. 14, 2011 9:03 am
lol cookin mama, caught you!
Feb. 14, 2011 9:14 am
Choppie, I like tweaked reviews too, as long as they are not blaming the recipe for turning out badly when it's been tweaked :).
Feb. 14, 2011 9:19 am
I agree with Choppie. I don't tweak that often but I like to read tweaked reviews for subs. I have a picky DH and it is easier to find things that he might like by searching the reviews. I like to read about things that other have has success with.
Feb. 14, 2011 9:47 am
Oh gosh, its so nice to hear about some confessed tweakers, lol! I only tweak b/c I have a big family & some of them are picky. I know what they like & don't like. So I replace, add or remove ingredients when I need too. Or like Minnesota_Girl, if I don't have an ingredient & need to substitue, then I will. If I make minor changes, then I will add it in a review. I appreciate it when other people do the same. I like to know what works for other people. But I would never rate the recipe low after I made changes. This is a great, relatable blog!
Feb. 15, 2011 7:45 am
Thanks for stopping in Hot Coco
Feb. 15, 2011 7:45 am
Thank-you Holly :)
Feb. 15, 2011 1:25 pm
I hate to measure everything and if I really like an ingredient I add more than the recipe calls for. Sometimes it works great but once in awhile it backfires, however making a recipe your own is my idea of successful cooking.
Feb. 16, 2011 5:20 am
Judy, I'm bad for not measuring too, unless it's baking and even then I tend to be a little less than precise :D.
Feb. 16, 2011 12:03 pm
I am a recipe tweaker, and one who gives reviews as well. I agree that you shouldn't give something a bad review if you didn't follow the recipe. However, I love reading how other people have slightly modified a recipe for ingreadients, taste or for health reasons. It saves me from a potential failure if I know that someone else has already tried something different and it works (ex: whole wheat flour instead of all purpose), or a trip to the store if I don't have one ingredient and someone says something else will work instead (ex: crushed tomatoes instead of salsa). I love cooking, but I guess I can see how someone who followed every recipe to a T or ran to the store if they didn't have fresh oregano would not enjoy it as much. My husband use to get on my case about not measuring, but I've turned him to the dark side. He's started throwing things in the pot to taste instead of measuring! Thanks for the post. It's good to know there are others out there!
Feb. 16, 2011 12:31 pm
NeverMeasureChef lol, I might have guessed you were a tweaker by your name ;). I agree, I like to hear about subs that work in a recipe or intersting twists on a recipe. Thanks for commenting.
Mar. 1, 2011 3:22 am
I am now addicted to reading these food blogs. I tweak all the time. Sometimes it might come out salty or sour or something but to me it still taste good. What my daughter yells about the most is the weird color a dish turns after cooking. If I substitute a flour in baking I read about it then make the change. i.e. I was going to make some brownies that called for self-rising flour but when I opened the bag I discovered it was sugar. I grabbed the box of cake flour added the necessary amount of baking powder and they turned out wonderful. My daughter follows a recipe to the letter. It does mean that she has to get her boyfriend to take her to the store to pick up ingredients. Since I don't drive and the bus doesn't run when I have to cook I happily substitute. I keep my recipes on my computer. I write down comments at the bottom of the recipe. Sorry if this was too long. Have a blessed day.
Mar. 6, 2011 5:25 pm
Not too long at all Gail, thanks for dropping in :).
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About Me
I'm a self/family taught cook. I love to try new recipes and experiment with exotic ingredients and spices. I have 4 young children and I've been married for 6 years.
My favorite things to cook
I love curries, yeast breads, (any kind of baking actually) and anything different.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The pre-Christmas appetizer party that I've started throwing for just my mom and step-dad, my family and my little brother and his family. Chinese Christmas eve at Grandma's, The Harvest feast we throw in September.
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