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The Recipe Lab: A new blog series

For the past couple of years, I have been playing in my ‘Recipe Lab’ – also known as my kitchen.  I love playing with food.  I am not terribly fond of recipes.  In fact, I really don’t like measuring things.  My grandmother never measured anything and was a fantastic cook.  I really enjoy creating my own experiments (recipes). Sometimes, magic happens and the result of the experiment is a great recipe to share with you!  Sometimes…that’s not the case 🙂 Stunning success or less than stellar, it’s always a lot of fun.  So it is with a sense of adventure and a bit of mad scientist that I look forward to another session in the Recipe Lab.  In sharing my adventures in the Lab, I hope to inspire you to get cozy with your ingredients, get bold with your experiments and enjoy every moment in your kitchen!

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The next session will be dealing with a new-to-me ingredient: Agar or Agar-Agar.  This ingredient is used as a plant-based gelatin.  It is derived from Red Algae. To read more about Agar click here.  I had heard of Agar for years but had never tried using it in a recipe.  This week I saw a video making an oil-free, nut-free plant-based cheese that you could slice or even grate.  Oh my! Grateable Plant-Strong cheese??? It is with much excitement that I set out to find Agar at my local Whole Foods Market.

Any time I head to Whole Foods, I always wear a Plant-Strong t-shirt or hoodie.  It is the best defense against succumbing to Vegan junk food I might spot in the aisles amongst the Plant-Strong goods.   I am on a mission.  A Recipe Lab supply excursion!  I find the ingredients that I am looking for in the aisles.  I spot Agar flakes with the Nori wraps and other sea vegetables.  I also spot the Engine 2 Plant-Strong Pasta Sauces that happens to be on sale. So I grab a few jars and start heading to the check out lanes when someone spots my green Plant-Strong hoodie.  We have a short conversation about E2, new merchandise in the E2 Store and how great the new food line is doing.  It’s always fun talking with other folks about what we do here at Engine 2.

Back at home,  I plan my Recipe Lab session for a couple of days later.  I pick a day when I know I will have time to experiment.  I set out all of the ingredients I will be using and all of the equipment I will need to make some magic happen in the Lab.  I get my camera set up and put some music on too.  I like the Neil Young station on Pandora, great tunes for cooking! No expectations, possible mishaps, sometimes a miserable failure and yet… the hope of an extraordinarily successful experiment fit for prime time!  I like complex flavors found in simple dishes.  I prefer minimal ingredients to achieve this goal.  With that being said, I waste little – even in failure.  An unfussy palate combined with a practical sense of thriftiness pairs well.  Besides, there is not much in this world that cannot be fixed with a little sriracha sauce!

Tune in next time when the Agar Recipe Lab session begins!

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