Interpreting Our Recipes
- Abreviations: - ar=As Required,
tt=To Taste, lrg=Large, sml=Small, med=Medium,
t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart,
oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch
- Measures &
All measures are U.S. measure unless stated in metric units (rare).
- Capitalization Ingredients requiring significant
preparation are shown in ALL CAPS at the point where that effort is needed.
- Schedule: is how long the recipe takes -
not how long you have to work on it - check "Effort" for hints there.
** and 3 hrs would mean moderate prep work and long cooking with little
attention. Schedule times tend to be tight so don't think you can beat
- * - just do some cutting and toss it together.
- ** - pretty modest, probably mostly cutting.
- *** - average difficulty, needs a fair amount of tending.
- **** - complex and a bit demanding.
- ***** - heroic effort needed
- Serves: Our portions tend to be quite
generous (2 = one man and one woman, both of whom are "good eaters")
and presumes there will be little else served except a starch (if not
included in the recipe) and maybe a salad. Common starches are rice
or some other grain, noodles or pasta, and potatoes.
- Structure: Most of our recipes are divided
into Prep and Run sections. Those that are not so divided
are most conveniently done "on the fly".
We very much believe in "mise en place", having everything completely
prepared, measured and ready at hand before starting to cook. This is
particularly critical with Asian recipes where the cooking may last only
a minute or few and you won't have time to do anything else at all.
In general the Prep section can be be done well in advance, even the
previous day. In most cases the Run section must be carried through from
start to finish all at once.
- Diet codes: v=Vegetarian strict,
ov=Ovo Lacto Vegetarian (contains eggs and/or dairy),
mv=Modifiable to Vegetarian, x=Pagan / Christian - definitely
not kosher or halal. We don't have a vegan designation because moral
hair-splitting as to exactly what qualifies as vegan is beyond the scope of
this site. In general v items can be made vegan. Similarly we don't
designate what is kosher or halal, just what we know for sure isn't.
- Chili codes: 0=none, 1=very mild,
2=mild, 3=spicy, 4=very spicy, 5=incindiary,
+=feel free to make it hotter. All hotness levels based on
Southern California practice - northerners us caution.
In some cases (mostly Southeast Asian) the spiciness comes from black
pepper and ginger rather than chilis but we rate it the same.
Chili tolerance comes from exposure. Chili hotness is not real but
exploits a specific nerve receptor (birds lack this receptor so don't
find chilis hot). With exposure this receptor is partially deactivated so
persons accustomed to chilis can enjoy lots of them without sufferng - and
the "after burn" effect goes away entirely.
For these reasons you must use your own judgement as to how
sensitive you and those you cook for are. For mixed groups go light and
serve fiery sauces and condiments on the side.
- Service: Recipes reflect current Euro/American
practice of relatively few dishes served in separate courses. Two services
- Russian Service: The courses are brought to the table
already portioned onto plates or in bowls.
- European Service: (U.S. "Family Style") The courses are
brought to the table on platters or in tureens or casseroles and
portioned to plates and bowls at the table.
- Buffet Service: Everything is out on the side board
for guests to partake of as they please. Note that if there are many
dishes available, portions taken will tend to be smaller, so a
recipe will serve more people.
- Asian Dishes Throughout Asia, the main
dish is rice, bread or noodles (depending on region). Everything else
is a side dish to these. There will be several sides and everything is
served at once - no courses. We presume readers of this site will use
the recipes in a more Euro/American style, with larger portions and
fewer dihes, and with the rice, noodles or bread as a side.