Failed Experiments and the Law of Substitutions

Today, I will share with you some of my past mistakes in an effort to educate and hopefully prevent others from doing the same. I’ve said it before that I don’t like buying obscure ingredients like couscous that I won’t use more than once. But there are some ingredients in recipes that probably are there for a reason…

Black Bean Cakes:

Supposed to look like this,

Turned out like this:

I got this recipe from a yahoo article: Black Bean Cake Recipe

As you can see, my “cakes” turned out to be black bean mush..I tried to make them look pretty by sprinkling some leftover crispy fried onions on top. However, and I hate to say it, they still looked like poo. The white powdery stuff on it is the flour and it turns out just putting flour on something doesn’t automatically make it crispy.

What went wrong, you ask? The recipe was fairly simple..however, it called for 5 large eggs. And when I looked in my fridge, all I had was basically everything else. So I googled cooking without eggs and I found something about using baking powder as a substitute on some random website. It didn’t work..at least not for this but I made some box red velvet cupcakes without eggs and they turned out pretty good but they tasted more like brownies.

The black bean things didn’t taste too bad, just tasted like refried beans..with flour on it. The recipe also called for panko which I’m still not exactly sure what it is or where I could get it. Now is a good time to introduce the law.

The Law of Substitutions states that if you do not have a specific ingredient required for your meal, it is completely acceptable to substitute using similar or, if necessary, multiple ingredients to complete the meal. That doesn’t sound as eloquent as I was trying to make it but you get the idea. However, in the case of major ingredients such as eggs, the Law of Substitutions does not apply. It does apply for seasonings like instead of mustard powder I use a combination of onion and garlic powder. And of course since I’m vegetarian, I substitute meat with either Morningstar “meat” or leave it out all together. I also don’t like the sound of heavy cream so if a recipe asks for it, I just use the half and half that’s in my fridge.

I have another failed experiment to share but it wasn’t because of substituting, it was just a lack-of-common-sense type of mistake. I love potatoes..mashed, fried, sweet, scalloped. So I decided to try this au gratin recipe I found online:   Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe

Turned out like this:

<—This is the complete meal with the spinach tart from my last post, MorningStar Patties, and Texas Toast.

It looks decent right? Let me tell ya, the potatoes were hard as rocks! The recipe calls for you to cut the potatoes raw and put them with the rest of the ingredients in the oven for a total of 50 min. I don’t know if it was the type of potatoes that I bought or what but after heating and re-heating, the potatoes were not as soft as I would have liked them to be. The sauce was good but now I know that next time I will boil the potatoes for a little bit so that they are softer before I cut them.

As I said before, this is a learning experience and I am learning a lot on this journey. Soon I will be a masterful culinary artist! *wishful thinking*

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