Sunday, March 7, 2010

How to Choose a Recipe

As many of you know, I enjoy both cooking and baking; however, I am no Martha Stewart. When deciding to take on a new recipe, there are several factors I take into consideration:

Taste: Will this recipe taste good? If yes, it is still in the running, but must pass a few more hurtles before it gets made.
Health: How healthy is it? If it is a dessert, this gets less consideration because desserts aren’t meant to be healthy. But main dishes need to be, unless it is for special holiday (i.e Thanksgiving). For example, one of my magazines has a recipe for baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. It looks so good! But with the butter, cheese, and whole milk it comes to be 636 calories and a whopping 26.2 grams of fat per serving. This has kept me from making it, as tasty as it may be, it isn’t worth getting hooked on a dish that is bad for me.
Ease: How easy is this dish to make? To determine this, I look at the time it takes to complete and the amount of steps it takes. I also check to see how many pans and bowls do I need to use. Do I have to do something special to each part of the ingredient? Do I need to use special tools that I don’t even have? Sometimes a recipe is not worth it, these are the dishes and desserts that might be better ordered when going to a restaurant if you don’t think you have the skill, tools, or patience to pull it off.
Acquisition: Do I need special ingredients that will either be hard to find or expensive to buy? You don’t want to make any ingredient replacements if it will change the integrity of the dish, but sometimes you can get around some of the specialty ingredients if they don’t play a large role in the dish. Acquisition can definitely be a deal-breaker because I am not in a position to shell out $15 for a special spice of which I will use only teaspoon or drive around town looking for fresh lemon grass.
Do keep these four factors in mind whenever I’m recommending a recipe: nothing will ever be too hard to make, ingredients won’t be too hard to find, it should defiantly taste good, and should be reasonably healthy!

Note about photo: This what is called a croquembouche. This is tower of handmade creme puffs that is decorated with hand spun caramel. Needless to say, this would not pass the Rachel Recipe Test....although I would not be opposed to taking a bite if offered.


Nancy said...

I still laugh every time I remember Julia Child guest starring on Martha Stewart's show. They each made a croquembush (sp??) Martha's was perfect, of course, and Julia's was a sad, sorry heap of dough balls! I figure if Julia Child can't manage it, I certainly don't want to try it! Julia's may have tasted better though, who knows?

Kathy said...

I love your guidelines! A few years ago I had a subscription to Cooking Light. It would take at least 40 steps and 1 1/2 hours later to put just one dish together. Ease is soooo important!