I’m talking to all the guys in the room for this one.
I know there have been -and still are- times when you decide to go all out and make yourself something relatively good to eat. You break out the dusty knife set your parents bought for your new apartment and tie on your mental apron, ready to get started.
The problem arises when you open your pantry to gather the right ingredients only to find that you’re missing a few things here and there like peanut butter but no jelly, or cereal but no milk. Fret not, good sir, for there are ways you can skirt around a missing ingredient or two simply by substituting it with something that plays a similar role.
Here are some examples:
– Can’t seem to find a slab of bacon in the fridge box?1 A half cup of your favorite artificial bacon topping is equivalent to about eight slices of the real stuff, crumbled or chopped. It contains the same amount of salt that you’re looking for. If you’d like a more authentic look, sauté the “bacon bits” in a tablespoon of olive oil for a couple of minutes to get a charred look.
– We all love salad dressing; ranch, Italian, Thousand Island, etc., they all have a special place in our hearts and if left to our own devices, we’d put it on everything. In the event that you find yourself without, just whip up a homemade version with Dijon mustard, lemon juice or vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Just remember the perfect vinaigrette ratio is 3 parts olive oil for every part lemon juice or vinegar, the mustard acts as the binder. Combine and whisk in a bowl for the perfect compliment to a salad, fish or other seafood.
– Can’t seem to scare up any lemons or limes for a dish? Just substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar for every teaspoon of juice you would have used. Since two medium lemons yield about 1/4 cup of juice; you’d use about 7 teaspoons of vinegar. Don’t like the bite of vinegar? Use a very dry white wine in lieu.
-Only have cheddar, but the recipe calls for Monterey Jack? Swap away. When cheeses are used as a topping -on baked potatoes- or crumbled -into a salad-it’s almost always ok to swap for another variety as long as the new flavor isn’t crazy -taste before adding the whole block. If you’re trying to make a cheese sauce be aware some cheeses like mozzarella and provolone get stringy when heated; others like ricotta and some fresh Mexican cheeses don’t melt at all.
In the future, I’ll be sure to bless you with many more equivalents and substitutions as I find them.
Remember: this is a learning experience for the both of us. If you have any substitutions that you’d like to broadcast, feel free to leave a comment or two.
I can also be reached at Brian@Home-Ec101.com.
1 This should never be an issue under any circumstances, but I do realize that people make mistakes at times.
Send household questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.