What I've Learned So Far
One of the early vegetarian recipes I made was for an Adzuki bean soup. The recipe called for what seemed like a lot of pepper – and I don’t like pepper very much. But, I figured, it’s a recipe, and what I do I know about cooking? I followed the directions and ended up hating the dish. It was way too peppery for me. And that’s when I realized there’s nothing sacred about a recipe, and if there’s an ingredient you don’t like you don’t have to use it!
If you’re new to cooking, it’s easy to feel intimidated, or think you’ve got to follow a recipe to the letter. Unless you’re baking, or trying to make something with eggs (like a soufflé or quiche), you don’t need to worry so much.
There are times a recipe is going to call for something you just don’t really like. Maybe it’s pepper or garlic, onions or dill. And that’s o.k. You don’t have to use it when you’re cooking. Or, you can decrease the amount. I do it all the time with pepper and garlic. The thing to keep in mind is that spices are giving the meal flavor, so if you leave too much out, your dish might be fairly bland. You can usually tell by looking at the ingredients, and as you get more familiar with cooking and more comfortable experimenting, you’ll be able to tell by looking at a recipe if it’s going to be bland or spicy, and if you need to cut back or leave anything out.
• This would be easy to make vegan – use a butter substitute like Earth Balance instead of the butter.
• While this is technically a side dish, I love it so much I’ve used it as a main part of the meal, and paired it with a bowl of soup (lentil is particularly good)!
• You can eat these hot out of the oven, or even just warm – they’re delicious both ways. They also reheat well if you have leftovers.
• Once you’ve made this the first time, play with the amounts of spices to get a flavor you really like. Be sure to have the oven at 500 – the secret is to make sure the butter and sugar are at a high enough heat they caramelize – which is DELICIOUS!