What inspired you to write your book?
I’m a creative person. I create at my computer, and I create in my kitchen. This book was a natural outgrowth of the combination of my culinary and verbal creativity. In it, I help other home cooks learn to be creative in the kitchen and not rely solely on other people’s recipes but learn to develop their own. For me, developing new recipes is some of the most fun I can have in the kitchen, and I want others to have that fun too.
About your Book:
On beyond learning to be a good cook, how about taking it to the next level and learning how to create your own recipes? When you serve a dish that’s delicious, you share the credit with whoever first developed (created) the recipe. But what if you yourself develop the recipe as well as cooking it to perfection? Really, cooking is a creative process, and for me, much of the fun is in “whomping up” new recipes. Did you ever wonder where new recipes come from? They come from cooks like me…and possibly like you, too. Yes, YOU can create new recipes, whether they’re twists on existing recipes or totally new concepts. Can you think of two ingredients that go together? How about a third? You’re on your way to creating a new recipe. This book demystifies the process. You, too, can be a culinary creator!
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
guide to how to create recipes
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
I cannot list here every happy marriage of flavors, but sometimes two bases combine surprisingly — and surprisingly well — to make a sauce come out tastier than you would have expected. For example, I have developed a couple of dishes that combine organic peanut butter and prepared black beans, with sautéed garlic added for zing, and the results are astounding. By “prepared” black beans I mean ready-to-eat Hispanic-style black beans. I prefer the Goya brand. The ready-to-eat black beans say just that—only in Spanish—on one side of the can, while the label on the other side, in English, identifies the can’s contents somewhat erroneously as “black bean soup.” Soup it is not, by any means, but what it is is delicious… and what else it is is a good base for certain dishes. I use the ready-to-eat black beans as the base of several dishes I developed, including my Twilight Pork. The base of that is, as I said a minute ago, ready-to-eat black beans combined with organic peanut butter and flavored with sautéed garlic.
Peanut butter also marries well with chicken stock (or the less-common pork stock, if you happen to have some on hand). And prepared black beans also blend nicely with either chicken stock or pork stock, as well. Use a small proportion of stock in combination with the beans.
Flavorful cheeses stand up nicely to tomato-based sauces. Parmesan, cheddar, and even swiss cheese are but three of your choices… don’t limit yourself to these, though. Try Colby. Try Monterey Jack. Try others.
In some dishes, a dollop or two of sour cream does wonders for not just improving the texture but the flavor of the sauce. Remember not to freeze a dish with sour cream in it. (You won’t get sick, but the texture and flavor of the dish will be compromised.) And keep this in mind: In most cases, you can successfully substitute plain yogurt for sour cream.
Tomatoes and bleu cheese marry wonderfully, though bleu cheese does not create the same wonderful combination with tomato sauce that it does with tomatoes themselves.
We talked about garlic a minute ago: remember that garlic confers quite a different taste depending on whether you utilize it raw, or sautéed just till it is soft, or browned. (But don’t let it burn — the taste will be bitter.) The same is true of onions: Their flavor, and what they do to the sauce you use them in, will vary according to whether you add them in a raw state, or cooked till they are soft and translucent, or browned. And while we’re talking about garlic and onions, don’t forget the other, related memers of the lily family: shallots (whose flavor is a cross between garlic and onions, and which are more expensive than either of their two just-mentioned “cousins”), and leeks, generally even more expensive, and scallions, also known as green onions or spring onions.
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
You have to have a love of cooking–and I do.
What advice would you give to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
The market is crowded, and most print publishers are publishing only “name” chefs and restaurateurs, food critics and columnists, and the like. I lucked out in getting my first cookbook (THE COOK-AHEAD COOKBOOK) accepted by a print publisher (the “Nitty-Gritty Cookbooks” imprint of Bristol Publishing) despite not being in any of the above categories, but since then, I have learned that e-publishers are far more receptive to non-“name” cookbook authors, and I have had several cookbooks published as e-books by XoXo Publishing. So if you’re not a food critic, columnist, restaurateur, or well-known chef, try an e-publisher for your book.
Full-time freelance writer/editor Cynthia MacGregor has over 100 published books to her credit, roughly half of them published as print books and the remainder as e-books. She lives in South Florida with her Significant Other, works seven days a week, and loves what she does. She’s available for writing, editing, or ghostwriting assignments (contact her at Cynthia@cynthiamacgregor.com), and besides books has written articles, ads, plays, song lyrics, business materials, web copy, and more. She also edits books, magazines, websites, and other materials, and she has hosted a TV show (not a cooking show) and hopes to be back in front of the camera in the near future. She calls herself “prolific” but won’t argue if you say she’s “driven.” Cynthia says, “There’s no one in the world I’d want to trade lives with.”