I was asked a question recently and it really got my thinking. It was something along the lines of, “How do you come up with your recipes?”. It’s a very valid question for a reader to ask a food blogger how they do their recipe creation. It sparked me to want to share a little more on this topic.
After thinking long and hard on how I actually derive my recipes I realized I usually follow four paths to the end result. I’ll lay them out here and then dive a little deeper into each.
- I tweek an already existing recipe to make it my own
- I try to recreate something I have tried and loved
- I get an idea for a recipe through a picture (via Pinterest, Instagram, yummly, magazines, etc) and decide to make it myself without the help of the source’s recipe.
- I come up with an idea completely off the top of my head
One thing that you all should know is that I am not a formally trained cook or chef. I did go to school for Hospitality but aside from one basic kitchen class (as an elective) there was no cooking training. I have simply always loved food and as I have gotten older found a passion in cooking. With that said, I have plenty of complete recipe fails. There are many dishes that don’t make it to the blog because they simply aren’t good enough for my readers. Today’s post photo happens to be a recent one. I made a turkey and butternut squash chili and while the flavors were great, the consistency of both the squash and chili were off. I will need to perfect that before I can truly feel comfortable sharing out to all of you!
To that point, I am always learning and growing. My food knowledge and kitchen skills have grown tenfold along this blogging journey. Cooking is definitely a skill and the more you do it, the more intuitive you’ll become with flavors, ingredient pairings, cooking techniques etc.
Here’s a little more on how I create the recipes that do make it to the blog. Hopefully, this will help direct and inspire you all to start some of your own creations.
Tweek an already existing recipe to make it my own
A lot of times I’ll see a recipe and think, “this looks delicious but I don’t like 2 or 3 of the ingredients.” Or “Oooh I wonder what this would taste like if I added this ingredient or that one”. Typically, this type of recipe design take some trial and error. I want to make sure it has really become my own adaptation AND that it meets my taste standards before I share. But this is probably the easiest form of recipe creation for those of you looking for a starting point. Start to play around with cooking times, ingredients, spices, etc and you will start to development your own conceptions.
Try to recreate something I have tried and loved
This is another very easy way to start forming recipes. Did you try an awesome dish at a restaurant and would love to try and make it at home? You’ll need to have a decent knowledge of ingredients and fairly good sense of taste to make some educated guesses on how a dish was made. I started doing this with simple dishes that my family made and worked to recreate those on my own. Now I love the challenge of trying to recreate an enjoyed meal out or even making my own spin of a dish I tried.
Get an idea for a recipe through a picture, etc (via Pinterest, Instagram, yummly, magazines, etc) and decide to make it myself without the help of the source’s recipe.
This is pretty similar to the last concept except I don’t rely on past taste to make the dish. I simply see a great idea for a recipe and then make it myself. This is something I have started to incorporate as my skills have gotten better. I sometimes need to look at a cooking temperature or a cooking time here or there. But, I typically try to only take the concept and make the ingredients and directions all my own. This is where I challenge myself to get better in the kitchen. It’s also where I have more failures. But, the more I learn, the quicker I know how to fix the failure for the next go-around!
Come up with an idea completely off the top of my head
I commute nearly three hours a day for my job and believe me, you have a lot of time to brainstorm. Sometimes I come up with a not so-original ideas to try and cook. Other times I dream up a completely off the wall recipe I want to create. Recipes like my BBQ Peach and Blue Cheese Burgers, Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, and Thanksgiving Crescent Roll Bars (all can be found in the recipe box) all came from these light bulb moments while driving. I had no guide, no pictures, and no past taste tests to get me to the end result. They truly were my total creation. I have missed the mark pleanty of times in this category as well. But, that’s what makes it exciting. When you find something that works it’s a great new discovery and you get to celebrate it a little bit.
I hope that sharing how I found my way around the kitchen the past few years will help to inspire all of you to keep cooking. It can be bumpy and even frustrating at times but the more you do it, the better you become. That’s when the fun begins!
…all for the love of the dish