Smart Substitutions When Cooking

Since it’s a little bit more complicated these days just to run out every time we are missing an ingredient, why not challenge your culinary skills and learn about making smart substitutions when cooking? With all of us cooking more at home and having a better stocked pantry, more than likely, you might have something in your kitchen that’ll work when you are missing an ingredient.

Here are some guidelines or suggestions to keep in mind when you need to swap out an ingredient. As you’re making your substitutions, there are a couple of important things to always keep in mind no matter what the ingredient is—flavor and texture. Cooking tends to be way more forgiving than baking does when you need to substitute an ingredient or two. But just like in life, learning to adapt and rise to the challenge can make life only more delicious. Enjoy and have fun in the kitchen with these smart substitutions when cooking by your side. Also, be sure to keep your pantry fully stocked with our guide to the prepared pantry!

 

Smart Substitutions When Cooking

Herbs and Spices

A good rule of thumb to follow is that for every 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, substitute 1 teaspoon of dried. Remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so use sparingly. Herbs tend to fall into 2 categories, tender or sturdy. Tender includes bright, light floral herbs that are typically used fresh, like basil, chives, and cilantro to name a few.  Sturdy herbs tend to be more savory and are commonly found dried because of their oil content. These herbs include bay leaf, oregano, and thyme. For better substitute choices, stay within the same group or try similar flavors. For example, try subbing mint for basil or dried thyme for marjoram. Or try similar flavors, like onion or garlic powder with a little parsley as a replacement for chives.

Spices tend to fall into categories with similar or shared flavors. Here are a couple groupings: baking, like allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, fragrant spices, like fennel, saffron, cardamom, and coriander, warm or peppery varieties,  like chili powders, cumin, ginger, and mustard powder, and earthy types, like onion, garlic, and turmeric. The spices in each of those categories complement one another and can easily be swapped for one another.

Oils and Fats

Oils and fats are categorized by cooking properties based on either low smoke points or high smoke points. The low smoke point fats burn quickly and tend to be more solid, meaning that they perform best when using low-heat cooking methods, like sautéing. These fats include butter, bacon fat, margarine, and vegetable shortening. High smoke point fats, like canola oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, and vegetable oil are best suited for high-heat cooking, such as frying. Pick one that will perform the way you want it to.

Dairy

Think about grouping dairy items based on texture. Sour cream, crème fraîche, and yogurt have similar textures and would make a good substitutes for one another. Buttermilk is easy to replicate with lemon juice or vinegar and milk. (1 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar for every cup of milk.)

No butter left? Try using oil for pan frying or sautéing instead. If you’re looking to add richness to a finished dish, try drizzling in a little cream.  

When subbing cheeses, be sure to look for varieties with similar textures. A good example of this would be switching out a Cheddar with a Gouda or Jarlsberg, all of which have similar textures.

 

Stock or Broth

Both help add flavor, but more importantly they add liquid. Of course you can substitute water, but in doing so you may also be diluting the flavor. I like using Better than Bouillon, a jar of reassurance that once opened lives quite contently in your fridge. It comes in a variety of flavors like beef, chicken and vegetable. White wine can also be handy for this, or try seasoning water with a little soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, or vinegar.

 

Produce

Different types of produce can be substituted based on the flavor and texture. Many root vegetables can be switched around with one another and will work well in almost any recipe. Greens can be divided into 2 categories, tender or firm. Some good examples of firm are escarole, kale, and turnip greens. Tender greens include mesclun, mâche, and spinach.

 

Meat

When substituting beef, I focus on the firmness of the meat—either tough or tender. Common substitutions are using brisket instead of chuck roast, New York strip in place of rib-eye, and vice versa.

Boneless chicken breasts and boneless chicken thighs can easily be swapped for one another. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary as you make this substitution.

Subbing for ground beef? Ground chicken, pork, turkey, and even sausage can work. You may just have to adjust for seasoning and fat content.

DIY Flower Arranging at Home

Take a break from the stresses of the present and rest your mind on the splendor of a sunset, that sip of coffee, or—perhaps—the relaxation of arranging fresh flowers. Here are some steps to keep in mind.

1. Start with flowers and colors that make you feel good. Our local ranunculus, Canadian tulips, and peonies are a great place to begin. They’re colorful, seasonal, and can’t help but cheer you up.

2. Give them a fresh cut right when you get home and get them in water. Flowers don’t like sitting out of water, whether they sit in your car or on the kitchen counter. A clean, sharp cut is best and allows the stems to take up water. Dull cuts and mashed stems will shorten the life of your flowers.

3. Narrow-mouth jars and vases will hold your flowers more upright. Wide-mouth containers will require more stems and will generally give a more relaxed presentation.

Tip: Cutting thin strips of clear tape and taping a grid pattern over the mouth of the vase helps hold stems upright.

4. Always use flower food. It greatly extends the life of flowers.

5. Work towards an overall balanced appearance, not exacting symmetry.

6. Start with larger flowers first.

7. Relax and enjoy what you’re doing.

8. Re-cut the stems every few days to make your flowers last even longer.

9. Enjoy your flowers!

Demystify How to Roast a Whole Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a skill that I think everyone should have in their cooking tool belt. It has the power to pleases almost everyone. The added bonus is that it makes your kitchen smell so darn good and is the ultimate comfort food. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, it can be used for all sorts of quick meals throughout the week. Check out these 5 ideas!

I like to say that a perfectly whole roasted chicken is the true sign of a good cook. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to master this skill—just a DLM Whole Chicken and a couple of cooking rules of thumb.

Whole Roasted Chicken
The time is now to master the skill of a whole roasted chicken.

 

How to Roast a Whole Chicken: What You Need to Know

Prep. Whatever you do, don’t roast a cold, wet bird. Let the chicken come to room temp (at least 30 minutes or more). This will help the bird cook more evenly and efficiently. Make sure the skin is dry. There’s no need to rinse the chicken you buy here at DLM. Dry skin yields a crisper and more crackly roasted surface.

Seasoning. You all have heard me say this before—do not be shy with the salt and pepper! Don’t forget to add it under the wings, the back, and even inside the cavity. Other goodies can be added inside the cavity, too, like chopped herbs, garlic, onion, and even a cut lemon, but there’s something so good about a simple salt and peppered roasted chicken.

What to roast it in. There are many pans out there. My answer is to use what you have. Different pans can give you different results, but all are delicious. For example, a roasting pan with a rack allows air to circulate under the bird, which helps brown the chicken all over and is brilliant if you want to carve it tableside for that “Norman Rockwell” presentation. Using a roasting pan without a rack will yield more pan juice and is an excellent way to roast veggies simultaneously, like  onions, carrots and potatoes, for a one-pan meal. My mom used to “roast” chicken in a deep-sided, covered Dutch oven, which technically wasn’t roasting, but delicious.

Temperature. You have two choices here—low and slow or hot and fast. Low and slow will yield a very tender, fall-off-the-bone type of meat with soft and sticky skin. Roast at 300°F to 350°F for anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours.  The hot and fast method will yield a more crisp and dark golden brown exterior and a firmer, chewier meat inside. Roast at 375° to 500°F, 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the weight of the chicken.

Is it done? Use a meat thermometer. It’s the easiest and most foolproof way to be sure. You are looking for it to read 165°F when you insert it into the thickest part of thigh.

Carving. Let it rest and hang out for at least 15 minutes before cutting. I know it can be torture waiting to dig in, but don’t blow it! You want those juices to redistribute or else you’ll end up with them all over your cutting board.

Lastly, don’t be intimidated. You will quickly master this and be on a journey of good cooking for years to come. Now, what to do with the leftovers? We’ve got 5 ideas to fuel your meal planning.

Recipes to Savor From Our Family to Yours

Here we are, hunkered down at home, making the best of things. We all need to eat, so why not eat well?! Imagine a platter of steaming hot pasta. Or the aroma of a large pot of Beef Bourguignon wafting through the house. Here in this issue of TABLE, we wanted to give you a few ideas to share good food and good feelings in your home. Few pleasures in life compare to eating together, so let’s savor it—with the people we love. We wish your family happiness and good health.

Swordfish Involtini with Sicilian Tomato Salad

 

Classic Potato Gnocchi with Parmigiano Cream Sauce

 

Spaghetti with Lemon-Parmigiano Sauce

 

Prosciutto di Parma Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

 

Savor more of our favorite recipes and meal ideas here!

5 Epic Gourmet Grilled Cheese Ideas

A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese, right? As if! If you’re anything like me, then a grilled cheese sandwich was probably the first thing you learned to cook by yourself using the pre-wrapped cheese slices that shall remain unnamed. The time is now to elevate this classic, cheesy, comforting goodness to gourmet status.

To start, you can take that old tried-and-true grilled cheese sandwich up a notch (or ten) by exploring a world of cheeses. The possibilities are endless! From the spicy, tangy flavors of goat cheeses, like Humboldt Fog, to the smooth, velvety flavors of the Comté Saint-Antoine Gruyère, we’ve got five sure-fire ways to elevate you to grilled cheese gourmand status:

FOGGY BOTTOM

Raisin Walnut Bread meets Humboldt Fog goat cheese and a few slices of Prosciutto di Parma for a delightfully salty-creamy bite.

CAPRESE

This layered favorite is a take on the caprese salad: DLM Handmade Mozzarella, thinly sliced Roma tomato, fresh basil leaves, and Ciabatta Bread.

THE RETRO

The retro flavor of DLM Pimento Cheese Dip pairs perfectly with DLM Uncured Bacon. Pile between buttered slices of Farmhouse Bread.

DELISH

Sweet yet savory, this sandwich calls for slices of Deer Creek’s The Doe stacked between slices of Sesame Seed Bread that is slathered with apricot preserves.

THE ULTIMATE

Comté St. Antoine Gruyère and Barber’s 1833 Vintage Cheddar piled onto our classic Unbleached White Sandwich Bread. So simple and so delicious!

Enjoy Spring with These 5 Recipes

Nothing says spring like beautiful bundles of asparagus! What we love most is that asparagus is incredibly versatile as its spears can be enjoyed raw, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or mixed with vegetables, beans, poultry, or seafood. Another way to devour these delicious stalks is to steam and serve with citrus hollandaise sauce, melted butter, Pecorino Romano, or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. From crunchy and satisfying Asparagus Fries to a Hot Asparagus Crab Dip and Spring Asparagus Sauté, DLM’s Chef Carrie has you covered with these 5 recipes to help you Aspire to Asparagus in your kitchen!

1. Asparagus Fries + Garlic Aioli

2. Spring Asparagus Sauté

3. Spring Pea, Asparagus, & Pecorino Salad

4. Shaved Asparagus Salad

5. Cold Asparagus with Hot Crab Dip

Flower Arrangements in 5 Easy Steps!

Step #1 – Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

Step #2 – Sprinkle flower food in a wide-mouthed vase and fill vase two-thirds full with lukewarm water. Stir and set aside.

Step #3 – Lay out your flowers. Choose a stem that will be the centerpiece. Begin building the arrangement in your hand. Greenery near the center adds interest. Build each layer a bit lower than the last layer. Rotate the bunch as you go to make each side beautiful. Finish the arrangement with more greenery.

Step #4 – Measure your preferred height of the bunch against the vase. Cut excess length off of stems. Helpful hint: any cutting utensil will work as long as you are able to get a nice clean cut).

Step #5 – Drop flowers into vase and enjoy! Share your own arrangements on social media! #myDLMflowers