The Topic: Sneaky Substitutions
The Dish: Right after I used up all of my corn meal and it seemed like hot water cornbread would have to take a vacation (since I had sworn off the store for as long as possible), I was left with nothing to eat on a leisurely Saturday morning. Well, not nothing. There was an old box of matzoh ball soup, a pound of dried beans, some quinoa, and tomato paste. Certainly not breakfast foods. And then—kablam! I remembered the secret stash of expired pancake mix.
I came into quite a bit of slightly out-of-date buckwheat pancake mixes last December and stuck them in a sad cabinet to be forgotten—until now, that is. I started getting super pumped that I could eat a proper weekend breakfast, when I realized I had no almond milk, and my roommate's applesauce I thought I'd use for egg replacer had a nice layer of mold growing on it. Did I give up? Um, no. There were pancakes at stake.
I learned something miraculous that morning: Water works just fine instead of non-dairy milk. I was really skeptical, but substituting water instead of throwing down $3 took care of that hurdle, and I miraculously discovered a canister of ground flax hidden in the back of the fridge and realized I could whip up an "egg" with that. In no time, my buckwheat flapjacks were hot off the skillet, and I was chowing down. I was fortunate to have just a teeny bit of maple syrup left from my cornbread streak!
I know having the ground flax was a lucky shot though, so I did what I do when I have a problem to solve: I ran it by Mom. In case you're ever out of the obvious choices and need to whip up a baking binder, stat, she passed along her favorite, easy, egg-replacer recipe to share with you. Thanks, Mom!
Mom's Radical Egg Replacer
Replaces 1 egg
What You Need:
1-1/2 teaspoons oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons flour
What You Do:
In a small bowl, add oil and water and whisk thoroughly. Sift in baking powder and flour, and whisk for 2 minutes, until light and frothy.
The Final Word: The next time you're dying to have a dish but are missing a few of the ingredients, just try substituting what you have on hand, and see what happens! Sure, it could be a total mess (in which case, just cover it in ketchup and have at it), but you could also pick up some savvy new cooking skills of your own. You better believe that the rest of the pancake mix isn't going to last long at my apartment. Do you have a favorite sneaky substitution? Don't keep it a secret any longer!