Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cleaning Up Part 1

First things first. My son (have I mentioned he is a chef?) came over and demonstrated for me what would reasonably constitute a "sprig". Turns out I was pretty solid with my guesstimate, using the stems provided for sale at my grocer's as a general measure.

Chef/son tells me that when it calls for a "sprig" in a recipe, that generally indicates a precise amount will not be necessary for the dish's success. I am intimidated by such a cavalier approach to ingredient amounts, but in some cases, it is allowable to be vague.

I am further speculating "sprig" would generally be used in cases where there are are a variety of flavors expected to combine and when said sprigginess is neither intended to dominate, nor must be managed by amount in some way to prevent overwhelming the dish.

I share this information just to be democratic. I myself am not so much a recipe developer as a recipe tweaker type. After I have prepared something once or twice I might be inspired to either swap out an ingredient (necessity and a pantry lack often providing that impetus) or to pump up the profile of something or other.

As a for instance, my husband professes a food allergy to bell peppers, coconuts and liver. This is a long standing joke in my family, as he is specifically allergic to none of those items. He just really, REALLY doesn't like to eat them.

Whenever I am stubbornly trying a recipe that calls for major inclusions of any of the above, I either swap the culprit out for something less offensive, or find some way to leave it out of the dish altogether. It doesn't always work, but time and practice have taught me how far I can reasonably take certain substitutions.

For more on substitutions...stay tuned....

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