Friday, April 29, 2011


Somewhere in the midst of most fine cook books sits a place where the cooking stops and the crunching begins.
While this blog isn't a "cook book" per se, it does function in a similar way...sharing more than recipes and offering helpful hints.

When I ventured into this world on my own, I learned adaptability.  It's how I survived.  Actually it's how we all survive; whether on the streets, in a boxcar or a in penthouse up in the clouds. 

The knack of making due is as fine an art as painting.  Depending on circumstances, that painting could be a mess....but it could also be a masterpiece.  When it comes to cooking, making adjustments tends to be more the rule than the exception. There are many things to consider when planning to cook -  you forgot to get eggs and the store is closed, or the store ran out of the ingredient(s) to name just two of many well-known conundrums..

Here are some well tested substitutions that should help.

1 Tbsp. corn starch - for thickening                               
   Substitution: 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour - for thickening

1 cup sifted cake flour                             
   Substitution: 7/8 cup sifted all-purpose flour (7/8 cups = 1 cup less 2 Tbsp.)

1 tsp. baking powder                             
    Substitution: 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar + 1/4 tsp baking soda  (this will constitute "single acting" baking powder, so your batter should be used very soon after adding this substitute! The powder's single action is that it reacts to the addition of liquid only so you need to get it cooking a.s.a.p.  "Double acting" baking powder has two activation points:  first when liquid is added and second when heat is applied)

1 whole egg                                            
    Substitution: 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp. water

2 whole eggs
    Substitution: 1/4 cup mayonnaise (there will be some minor flavor adjustment needed - taste often!)

1 cup egg whites
    Substitution: 6 or 7 large eggs

1 cup egg yolks
    Substitution: 11 or 12 large eggs
 1 cup whole homogenized milk
     Substitution: 1 cup skim milk plus 2 Tbsp butter/margarine   OR 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water

1 cup dairy sour cream
     Substitution: 1 Tbsp lemon juice plus evaporated milk to make 1 cup  (measure evaporated milk first then add lemon juice...whisk)

1 cup soured milk or buttermilk
     Substitution: 1 Tbsp white vinegar plus sweet milk equal to 1 cup  (measure milk into cup first, then add vinegar...whisk)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
      Substitution: 7 Tbsp vegetable shortening - will not have same flavor as butter  (unless you have butter flavored shortening....then read packaging for directions of use)

1 clove fresh garlic
      Substitution: 1/8 tsp. garlic powder OR 1 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp minced onion
      Substitution: 1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried leaf herbs
      Substitution: 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs

2 Tbsp lemon juice
     Substitution: 1 medium lemon  

For the following substitutions remember that adding extra liquid to a recipe will alter the outcome.  So be judicious...adjust the other liquids if need be to allow for this difference.  Trial and error is the only way to get it right.

1 tsp grated lemon rind
     Substitution: 1 medium lemon

4 tsp. grated orange rind
     Substitution: 1 medium orange

I'm sure there are many other alternatives out there!  Feel free to submit your findings!






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