Loaves and Dishes

Wendi Spraker

One thing growing up in the country teaches you is how to make due. We can’t run to the store every time we are short on an ingredient, can we? There’s no 24 hour super center around the corner housing every dinner fixin’ ever known to man, and frankly, we like it that way, right?

In the big scheme of things, it is pretty awesome to live where other people come to vacation. This means we don’t eat at Outback Steak House or sip hot coffee from Starbucks very often. We find a way to manage without big night clubs or fancy department stores because we have what others don’t, the Dan River and the Sauratown Mountains.

One way we manage is to use some good ol’ country ingenuity. We do this in the kitchen too, because not every ingredient we need is available at the local grocery. Sometimes we don’t have what we need at home and it is just too far to go back out looking for just the right thing.

On that note, I thought I would share some terrific substitutions for ingredients we might need, but don’t have right now. In a recipe, you can safely make substitutions with the following (you might even find you like the substitution better than the original!):

Allspice, substitute 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cloves + pinch of ground nutmeg

Almond extract, substitute Vanilla extract

Apple Juice, substitute apple cider or white grape juice

Asparagus, substitute broccoli or fresh green beans

Bacon, substitute lunch meat ham or smoked sausage

Barbecue sauce, substitute 1 cup ketchup + 1/2 to 1 tsp liquid smoke seasoning

Blue Cheese, substitute feta cheese or goat cheese

Dry breadcrumbs, substitute crushed potato chips, crushed pretzels, stuffing mix, crushed cornflakes or rice krispies, crushed tortilla chips.

Buttermilk, substitute 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar + enough milk to equal 1 cup (for baking, let stand for a few minutes before using), plain yogurt, sour cream

Cardamom, substitute 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cloves

Celery seed, substitute Old Bay Seasoning

Corn Syrup, substitute honey, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water (or liquid from recipe); molasses

Mayonnaise, substitute sour cream or plain yogurt

Cheddar Cheese, substitute colby or any of the other yellow/orange cheeses

Raspberries, substitute strawberries, blackberries or blueberries

Raisins, substitute other dried fruit – simply chop up to raisin size (ex. dried cherries, apricots).

Chicken, Beef or Vegetable Stock, substitute 1 cup of boiling water and the appropriate bouillon cube or stock concentrate.

Tomato Sauce, substitute 1/2 cup tomato paste + 1/2 cup water, 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes, blended until smooth.

Have you made a substitution that worked out really well? I would love to hear about it. Catch me on the street or in line at the grocery and let me know.

If you want to try something really fun, The Danbury Song Writers are playing at The Arts Place in Danbury through the end of this month on Thursdays at 7 p.m. and yours truly is providing a home baked door prize each week! Come on by, I’ll probably be there!

If you’ve got a bone to pick or some fat to chew, I would love to hear from you. You can always reach me by email at wendi(at sign)loavesanddishes(dot)net or you can check out my website to find some comfort food recipes that are guaranteed tasty at www.loavesanddishes.net


Wendi Spraker