During holiday season cooks are more likely to make recipes that have been in the family for ages. But this can also mean needing an ingredient you haven't stocked in your kitchen for ages! Knowing an ingredients "equivalent" or substitution can save the day. The ingredients Mom talks about today are mainly used as flavoring in casseroles, sauces and hot dips, so you have more flexibility in making substitutions.
Horseradish: Horseradish gives recipes a kick. It is the secret ingredient in my grandmother's crab dip. The taste is strong, sometimes described as tangy and hot. Sort of like very strong radishes. Fresh horseradish root is twice as strong as bottled. Prepared, or bottled horseradish is mixed with vinegar and other flavors. 1 tablespoon fresh horseradish equals 2 tablespoons of bottled. Horseradish is also served alongside Prime Rib and other meats. You can also substitute 1 teaspoon of wasabe, or Japanese horseradish or a few drops of hot sauce. Keep in mind these substitutions are much hotter than horseradish so start with small amounts and adjust to taste.
Mustard: Mustard is another ingredient used in casseroles and dips to give recipes a kick. 1 teaspoon of dry mustard equals 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard. You can also start with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and add more, adjusting to taste. Before chilies and peppers arrived from the New World, Europeans used mustard and horseradish to spice up dishes. Try adding a few drops of hot sauce or a dash of chili pepper if you don't have any mustard.
Paprika: Paprika is made from sweet, mild red peppers and has a light, delicate taste. Its bright red color is also makes it a popular garnish. If your recipe calls for a dash of paprika on top, it is probably there more for coloring than for flavor. My grandmother's hot dip calls for a sprinkle of paprika after baking. You can substitute a dash of chili powder for color instead. Chili powder has a smokier taste and is stronger so use sparingly. Cayenne pepper is also red, but it is even hotter, so beware. Another option is to decorate the top of your creation with something else, like minced parsley.
Lemon Zest or Lemon Juice: If your cottage garden is out of lemons at the moment, all is not lost. 1 teaspoon shredded lemon peel (zest) equals 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract or 2 tablespoons lemon juice. The juice of one lemon equals about 2-3 tablespoons. You can also substitute 3/4 cup lime juice for one cup of lemon juice. Or Substitute 1/2 cup vinegar for every cup of lemon juice.
Because these ingredients are mainly used as flavoring, feel free to experiment with different spicy ingredients. Happy cooking!
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For more of Mom's cooking tips and apron humor visit her on the web at http://www.MomsRetro.com. She also cultivates a gardening website at http://www.theGardenPages.com with plant profiles, growing tips and lore about succulents and California native plants. Copyright 2007 by Laura Zinkan. This article may be reprinted as long as author credit is given with a website. All rights reserved.