flexible substitution

As we wind up this season of frantic baking and cooking I’m curious about you my few readers, what are your favourite emergency substitutions for when you run out and can’t quite make the recipe as you thought you might. Or what is the one ingredient that when it isn’t on your shelves brings your work to a grinding halt and sends you rushing to the store?

For me this changes based on what I’m cooking. We’re a vegetarian and mostly gluten-free family. I substitute without thinking most days. I actually can’t think of one substitute that rules over all others though I rarely have cream so I do constantly switch butter and milk for it.

I find that if there is no canned tomato of any sort in the pantry life here gets difficult. I’m not sure why this one item dominates my cooking, but it does.

I don’t bake often as I don’t own an electronic mixer of any sort or a food processor. I do mix by hand but I don’t enjoy doing this so I avoid it when I can.

The other day I made crock pot whatever and was happy that on my way home I picked up a can of diced tomato. Crock pot whatever consisted of random things from the cupboard, and reminded me to CHECK first for little things that don’t belong there before I dump them in. It was originally going to be with rice, but I had to dump the contents after I found a few things in there that shouldn’t have been. The rice was quite old and not sealed well, so I’m not surprised but it upset me as I wasted not just the bad rice but the good rice as well. It ended up being some TVP, onion, garlic, oil, can of diced tomato, can of cream of celery soup, some vege broth israeli couscous (the big ones, for those of you who haven’t experienced them), spices, and uhm.. I forget what else. I kept dumping in things that would meld well together. It was a really yummy meal on a cold wintry day.

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7 Replies to “flexible substitution”

  1. Rice. If I don’t have rice, I’m incapable of thinking of anything at all. (My husband would say “chicken,” but I’m a vegetarian, so chicken is irrelevant to me…)

    melanie recently wrote: Friday fill-ins

  2. I’m with you on the canned tomatoes. They feature heavily in most of our food, and I find myself almost at a standstill if we’re out of tomatoes (“But then what will we EAT??”).

    And pasta. I love pasta so much.

    KathyMarie recently wrote: Happy Happy

  3. Lucky for me, the grocery store is literally in the back yard, less than a block away. If I EVER run out of something, I have Mark go fetch it for me. Or, we go without if it’s a bother or late. I’m just glad the holidays are almost over. :)

    Dave Daniels recently wrote: Merry Christmas!

  4. Like Dave, my grocery store is about two blocks away. I do love to have white beans, garlic, and spinach hanging around for when I need comfort food.

    beverly recently wrote: Good Morning!

  5. My husband bought a 50-pound bag of rice a few weeks ago…so I won’t be in danger of running out of rice anytime soon. Though storing it once we open it will be a challenge…

    There’s not a whole lot that would send me running out to the store, mostly because we always seem to have other options. I’d usually only do that if there was something I’d set my taste buds for.

    We do, however, find it difficult to function without garlic in some form…so we keep it in various forms (fresh cloves, powdered, sometimes chopped). In addition to the rice, we also keep pasta around, and I try to keep boneless chicken in the freezer.

    Susan (Plum Texan) recently wrote: Sparkly

  6. Hmm … one, I don’t cook and two, I have kids. Guess who runs to the store when Mike runs out of something. ;-)

    Devorah recently wrote: Catch Up

  7. I’d have to agree with you and say some sort of canned tomato product. Usually diced or chopped.
    As far as veggies, we must not be without mushrooms, onions and brocolli.

    Kata recently wrote: Pen Review: Uni-ball Signo bit 0.18

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