Altering Recipes at Our Little House



A Sunday afternoon in the city would most likely find us at our favorite Mexican restaurant in the city, but a Sunday afternoon at Our Little House is much more fun.

Dale gets the Sunday supper cooking duties in the summer, which typically means grilled fare, or if it is cool enough, Dutch Oven Cooking.

Although Sunday wasn’t a cool day, we combined grilling pork chops with a couple of recipes he has wanted to try Dutch Oven style.

The first is a dish we’ve tried before, Dutch Oven Potatoes in a 12” Dutch Oven, which comes from the book, “Camp Dutch Oven Cooking.”

The recipe calls for 1 – 1 ½ pounds of bacon and Dale put about 6 slices in it. He loaded it up with onions though, thinking that would compensate for the reduced bacon.

I was in charge of mixing the “Charley Bread,” a recipe my hubby wanted to try because it contains creamed corn, a favorite of his. I intentionally left out the 2 tbs. Of sugar and 1 tsp. of salt. Sugar is not good for us here and salt isn’t either, and since most things have too much salt, we didn’t think these omissions would matter.

The results were pretty dishes, but they lacked in flavor. We forgot when we are leaving some ingredients out, we should put something else in to compensate.

They were edible, but both of them needed something.

Since Sunday, I’ve come across these posts on foodie blogs I enjoy. The first one from My Kids Eat Squid, about flower pepper. I wondered if that could have brightened our potatoes up a bit.

The other one is a completely delicious looking recipe at No Pot Cooking combining plums, chicken and couscous I think we will try next week. Although I think we’ll stick to the recipe this time.

Do you alter recipes? Do they turn out well for the most part?



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37 Responses

  1. Danny says:

    Don’t want to be a gloomy Gus, but according to the bag of charcoal, it is dangerous to cook with charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisioning! Beyond that you can download a Dutch oven cookbook at macscouter.com. It is a Boy Scouting website. Lots of great stuff even for non scouters

  2. Hope Henry says:

    When baking with yeast, salt is necessary. Too much salt and the bread (or whatever) will not rise enough. Too little salt and the bread will rise too much and the loaf will deflate. If reducing salt in a yeast recipe, reduce it slightly each time you bake, until you achieve an acceptably risen loaf.

  3. mouse says:

    Often.

    I quite like to stamp my own ‘thing’ on what I make. – It can occasionally be hit and miss, but usually more hit than miss.

    We also like a lot of foods that normally need Ginger. – I’m allergic and partner hates Cinnamon, which I would normally substitute, so we often have some interesting flavours going on – for example, my Tagine, has no ginger or cinnamon, but does have three sorts of pepper (minimum) and generally a hefty dose of garlic, with some sage, thyme and either oregano or marjoram.

    One of the best things I’ve found for thinking about substitutions and less than obvious combinations of foods that are nonetheless yum, is the Forme of Currie, which you can now access online, free and in modern English thanks to project Gutenberg.

  4. Sylvia says:

    Salt is required for the Chemistry of cooking. Natural Sea Salt has less of the detrimental effects of salt that most people have to be concerned with and is easy to find these days. Try using Sea Salt and just use a little less each time until you get a feel for just how much is needed to bring out the flavor. Often, if you’re not baking, you can use half the salt in a recipe and just add lemon, Mrs. Dash, or other herbs. Fresh ground pepper goes a long way as well.

  5. Alice says:

    MRS. DASH is a good salt substitute (I have to watch my sodium intake) and it flavors many dishes and now MRS. DASH comes in several (well at least 2 or 3 more than regular) flavors of MRS. DASH. Invest in some LEMON PEPPER, too. That stuff is positively wonderful! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the shout out. With pork, lately I’ve been marinating it overnight before cooking it. With the leftovers I cut ’em up and then saute them in olive oil to use in other meals. Too of my favorite flavor enchancers are simply–garlic powder and onion powder. They work wonders.

  7. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I alter things all the time. Right now, I’m trying to use more fresh herbs.

  8. Mary Brown says:

    I look several receipes for the same item and then take the parts of those recipes to come up with my own. I also use thyme in place of salt many time, even on corn on the cob I use thyme and pepper because the butter has enough salt in it.

  9. Jane Boursaw says:

    I can practically smell the lovely aroma coming through those photos. Awesome creative cooking there.

    Hubby does most of the cooking here, but he does get fairly inventive and does most things from scratch.

    As for me … uh, let’s see. Replace cheddar cheese with colby cheese in a sandwich. That’s about as creative as I get these days.

  10. Merr says:

    Indeed, your food photos are splendid! Those are great blogs you refer to, as well.

  11. mat says:

    I alter recipes all the time. My wife…somewhat. She’s scared of adding a little too much herbs and I would rather have overwhelming flavor than none. That said, she just recently made the most amazing meatballs I’ve ever eaten…pretty much by just adding some good parmesan cheese to lean burger and cooking them in pasta sauce for about 3 hours.

    Salt is one of those things…you just need it. Salt makes food delicious by enhancing the natural flavors of it but also juicy by allowing food to pack on more water. I like salt. I use Kosher salt for cooking and conventional for baking…well to be fair, my wife does the baking.

    • Kerri says:

      I’m with you, Mat, I would rather have too much flavor than have it bland. Salt is ok, I just feel most foods have too much added already.

      • mat says:

        Totally agree when it comes to what my dad calls “brown and tan foods” aka, processed foods. I don’t buy that stuff in general, but it’s hard call it healthy eating when there’s so much junk in pasta sauce, salad dressing, lunchmeat, canned vegetables, etc. What’s the calorie count on a McDonalds salad? I heard it’s horrifying.
        So I’m sure that’s one of the core reasons so many people like working with fresh meat and fresh veggies–you control exactly how much of what goes in. You can give yourself an extra pinch of salt on that pork chop or some extra olive oil in the pan, knowing that it’s not nearly as bad as if you’d stuck it in a commercial marinade.

  12. sarah henry says:

    Well, those dishes look good, sorry to hear they tasted so-so. I’m all about seasoning, found my way back to salt after years of not using it. But that time taught me you can do a lot to enhance flavor with aromatics (onions, garlic, ginger), spices and herbs. Plus it’s fun to play.

  13. As you’d expect, I’m an inveterate recipe tweaker. I can never leave well enough alone!

  14. Heather L. says:

    I’m with you, Susan. We’d have cubed steak and boxed macaroni and cheese every night if my husband cooked.

    I alter some recipes, but others not so much. I made up my own lemon marinade for chicken breasts last night and it was good.

  15. Olivia says:

    I am the type who will start out with a recipe for tomato soup and end up with blueberry muffins so, yes, I almost invariably alter recipes – maybe because I don’t have the necessary ingredients, someone doesn’t like one of the ingredients or, being celiac, I have to avoid or substitute certain ingredients. I have always been a very experimental cook and fortunately things usually turn out well. The baking was a little tricky when I was first diagnosed celiac as I experimented with substituting my flours for wheat flour but once I understood the chemistry involved it became a snap. (I come from a long line of great cooks and chemists so it wasn’t too hard). Nothing ventured, nothing gained – right?

    • Kerri says:

      That’s exactly right, Olivia. I think experimenting can be adventurous and fun. I just like it when it comes out well a little more. 🙂

  16. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to alter a recipe. I’m glad you want to try mine!

  17. Kerri says:

    Hi, Susan. Yep. The Charley bread was made from scratch. You know, we both thought of jalapenos too. Great minds think alike. He did carmelize the onions as well as putting in already fried bacon. It was just kind of bland. Could be that we make so many things with a hint of spicy and this was not. Yes, I am lucky, Susan. He does dishes (sometimes) and cleans the bathroom too! 🙂

  18. Susan says:

    Was the Charley bread made with boxed cornbread or from scratch. Jalapenos would have been good in it. You also might want to just cut the sugar and salt amounts instead of cutting out completely.
    Did Dale carmelize the onions first. I like to make extra bake potatoes that I use to make pan fries with. I cube the potatoes. Carmelize the onions then throw in the potatoes and brown. Salt and Pepper to taste. You could put bacon in that.

    Love my cast iron and use one or more pieces everyday.

    PS you are lucky Dale will cook, we would starve if I waited for my hubby to cook. 😉