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Food For Thought: Be a recipe renegade!

Some notes I've made on one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite authors -- Molly Stevens' All About Braising.

Run wild!  Sure, if you've never made something before, it's a good idea to follow the instructions. But remember that recipes come from all-too-fallible humans, not infallible food deities.

I speak from bitter experience.Once, I made a coffee cake recipe that I thought called for an insane amount of oil. I put it all in anyway. Why?  Because the recipe said to. The result might have been a Martian's idea of a coffee cake but not mine.  I can't tell you how it tasted.  I didn't have the nerve to try it. 

If something looks way out of whack, there's a good chance that it is.  Not always, but often enough.  And if there's an ingredient in the recipe you don't like, then use something else.  The jackbooted thugs of the recipe police will not break down your door. 

In this week's Food for Thought, NancyLeson and I mention Molly Stevens' recipe for Moroccan chickenin her book, "All About Braising." Molly specifies a whole chicken for this dish but Nancy likes to use just thighs. I like thighs and wings. And more garlic and different olives. Try it — and feel free to improvise.

If you don't own her "All About Braising" and"All About Roasting," you should.  And that right soon.

"I had these recipes that said do this, do that. Who MAKES these rules?"

– Emeril Lagasse

Originally aired March 20, 2013

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.