Quick Recipes and Easy

Equivalents or Emergency Substitutions – Mom helps Cooks with Creamy Sauces and Thickeners

When it is crunch time in the kitchen, running out of a crucial ingredient is no picnic. Neither is running out to the store at midnight. If you are missing an ingredient knowing its “equivalent” or substitution can save the day. Adapting recipes from antique cookbooks can also cause confusion. What is arrowroot and must I consult a wizard? Today, Mom helps cooks with tips on milk, cream and other sauce thickeners.

Milk: If you do not have one cup of fresh milk substitute 1/2 cup of evaporated mile plus 1/2 cup of water. Or follow the directions on a box of powdered milk. It’s a excellent thought to have a can of evaporated milk handy for emergencies. If you don’t use it during holiday baking, keep it for your other emergency kit.

Buttermilk: Also called sour milk, is used to give recipes a small zip. Substitute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5 minutes before using), OR use 1 cup whole milk plus 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar OR use 1 cup of plain yogurt.

Whipping Cream: Whipped cream from scratch is worth the work. If time is not on your side, just use frozen dessert topping. 1 cup whipping cream equals 2 cups dessert topping.

Light Cream: if you do not have 1 cup of light cream use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of milk plus 2 tablespoons of butter.

Cornstarch: Fantastic for thickening sauces; if you do not have 1 tablespoon of cornstarch use 2 tablespoons of flour. Always dissolve it in a small water, broth or juice before you add it to your sauce to avoid lumps.

Arrowroot: Not a mystical ingredient but another thickening agent for sauces and soups. Substitute 2 tablespoons of regular flour or 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Dissolve in water or broth for simpler mixing.

As a general rule if you are baking in the oven, you must follow the recipe as closely as possible. Not only do your ingredients add flavor, they also serve a specific function like making your bread rise, or binding ingredients together. If you are using milk or cream in a sauce, you have more flexibility. For example, if you are making gravy, a splash of milk instead of cream is fine. The stout content should only effect the flavor of your sauce, not the final product. For more of Mom’s kitchen tips and humor visit her on the web at www.MomsRetro.com. Pleased cooking!

Laura Zinkan is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles, California. She puts the Mom in MomsRetro with kitchen tips and humor on her website for busy cooks MomsRetro.com www.MomsRetro.com. She also cultivates a gardening website at theGardenPages.com www.theGardenPages.com with plant profiles, growing tips and lore about succulents and California native plants. Copyright © 2005 by Laura Zinkan. This article may be reprinted as long as author credit is given with website. All rights reserved.

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