Inspired by last night’s bolognese sauce recipe, which required ‘half a cup of white wine’. Having everything else to hand, I decided I could easily substitute some other alcoholic liquid - but the only bottle on my ‘top shelf’ which remotely fitted the bill was a blended Scotch whisky.
Slightly more than a ‘generous’ half- cup later, I had ‘the best bolognese you ever made’, according to my wife. I may have to add Scotch to more recipes in future…
Less successful bolognese: a flatmate (years ago) decided tinned salmon was as good as ground beef.
We couldn’t finish it. And that was a time when we’d eat just about anything.
So what are your triumphs and disasters regarding ingredient swaps? When you decided that “X was just as good as Y”?
Not me but my wife, and certainly not intentional, but one Thanksgiving while she was making the gravy she accidentally grabbed the cinnamon off the spice rack instead of the black pepper. Definitely not something you can swap one for the other!
Once when I was still learning to cook, I tried my hand at meatloaf. My mother, for some reason, always put a couple of spoonfuls of syrup in hers. I didn’t have any syrup, but figured honey was the same thing. Result: sweetloaf. Even the dog didn’t want it.
The Horror event: Making fresh crab cakes from crabs I’d personally caught, steamed and picked the da before, I used baking soda in the recipe instead of baking powder. Every crabcake tasted like an alka-seltzer tablet. I had to toss it all.
I swap seasoning packs like that all the time, and I’ve definitely used chicken fajita mix for ground beef. It’s fine. The flavors are largely the same, but that’s going to depend on brand. I’m not even sure why they given them different names – the main thing I remember is the chicken fajita is light on the cumin, but that won’t make it taste terrible and, well, you can just add cumin if you want it more cumin-y.
Are you sure you put the Scotch in the bolognese and didn’t just give it to your wife?
I must say, that is a brave substitution, but I guess it depends on the blended scotch. I mean, there’s vodka sauces, and alcohol carries some tomato flavors but, wow, I would not have had enough confidence in the residual scotch flavor working with the sauce. Kudos it worked out! In those situations, I just routinely skip the wine part of the bolognese.
I once attempted to make gravy (ie the brown stuff you put on a roast dinner) while on holiday with no stock and no flour. It had a good deal of red wine, hot water, various seasonings like garlic powder and herbs, and bread ground up in a pestle and mortar in an attempt to thicken it. Wouldn’t do it again, but it was surprisingly palatable.
I used a crab cake recipe I’d used a few times, always to great success, but substituting Krab for Crab. I actually prefer Krab over Crab for salads and such. Turns out it totally ruined the Crab Cake recipe.