Many people ask me “what is a recipe developer” and “how did I get become one”? Obviously it means that I create/develop new recipes, but it differentiates me from the term chef, which I am not. I never formally studied cooking and I never worked in a restaurant, so I don’t consider myself and wouldn’t call myself a chef. I do develop recipes as a career and I have done so for cookbooks, for promotional material (Tnuva) and for large food companies who would like recipes for the home use, using their ingredients.
When you start developing a recipe, the first and most important thing is that the outcome will taste good. When you develop a recipe for a magazine or cook book, you also have to keep in mind that it needs to look good and appetizing. It’s a doctrine in itself (food that looks good), and if you peep through food magazines you’ll begin to realize that there are certain dishes that photograph better than others, just like people (Bar Rafaeli will always take a better photo than plain ol’ jane).
Recipe Developing can be broken down into two categories: developing a recipe for a specific product, such as lentils, chocolate or meat, etc. or developing a recipe for a specific concept, such as desserts, breakfasts, etc.
So what do you need to develop a recipe?
1. Knowledge of food:
Cooking is not rocket science, and you can always improvise, but knowledge of food through cook books and cooking magazines will help.
2. Use of quality ingredients:
It doesn’t mean you have to buy the nicest filet mignon to make a steak or to use imported oysters from Normandy, but you should use quality, seasonal ingredients, such as fresh meat and chicken (not frozen), chocolate with at least 60% cacao, etc.
3. Trial and Error:
Did you try a dish at a restaurant that you loved? Try to make it at home. Buy all the ingredients that went into the dish and try to come to a similar outcome. Try finding a recipe from a cook book or the internet that looks similar to use as your guide. It may come out even tastier than the original, and if not, just keep trying.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, to bring together ingredients you didn’t think would go together, to add your favorite ingredient ( a particular spice perhaps), etc. It’s very difficult to reinvent the wheel, but there are times where just the slightest innovation can be genius in the culinary world.
To be continued….
In the meantime, here is a recipe for a Potato and Kabanos (sausage) frittata from our weekly column in the “Style” magazine of Ma’ariv newspaper.
I took a basic recipe for a frittata and added some of my favorite ingredients. You can make this according to your own personal liking and add to eggs: cheese (Feta, Roquefort, Brie, Kashkaval), vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant), herbs (chives, basil, parsley). Anything you desire basically can go in that omelet (anything edible that is)-the sky is the limit.
Potato and Kabanos Frittata
The Spanish frittata is type of oven baked omelet.
Ingredients for 4-6 servings:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut to ¾-inch cubes
1 Kabanos (or sausage of your choice), sliced to ¼-inch
6 eggs, beaten
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat a medium skillet (oven proof) on medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and potato and sauté for 7 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until golden. Add the Kabanos and sauté for another minute.
3. Pour the eggs into the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes, until the edges begin to stabilize.
4. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.