How do we take an idea or inspiration for a recipe and turn it into something that’s easy to read, easy to follow, and tastes great? Recipe development is a skill that requires patience and an eye for detail to ensure our recipes are good enough to make on repeat.
Accessibility, Ease, & Flavor
Accessibility: We want our readers to be able to pull most ingredients from either the pantry or a local Target or other national chain grocery store. We try not to use anything obscure, very expensive, or difficult to locate in your neighborhood.
Creating nourishing and flavorful meals doesn’t require pricey specialty ingredients or a haul to the closest health food store.
Ease: Mealtime is stressful! For years I dreaded the question, ‘What’s for dinner?’. We don’t consciously process just how much effort goes into answering that question for a household, for a given week!
Whether it’s a lack of inspiration, a family getting crabby as 5pm rolls around, or plain overwhelm on how to combine what’s in the fridge into a healthy and delicious meal, we hope to bring more ease to your day and lighten your mealtime routine!
Flavor: Everyone CAN make flavorful meals! This is a fact. You likely have all the elements in your kitchen already– fresh citrus, fresh herbs, dried spices and seasonings, and the desire to put it all together.
Drafting A Recipe
All of the recipes published on Willamette Transplant keep the above 3 values (Accessibility, ease, and flavor) in mind throughout the development process. We heavily invest in research, reviewing ingredients and common cooking methods for a given recipe via cookbooks, online cooking resources, and cooking shows.
Reader surveys & feedback can help us gain insights into what recipes you’d like to see, what your struggles are in the kitchen, and why certain recipes are hard to veganize.
Each one of our recipes is tweaked and iterated until it meets our high standards of taste and nutrition.
Once a recipe has been fully developed and decided to be as delicious as possible, we’ll test the final version of each recipe at least 5 times. We may have different people read and make the recipe and sometimes in different kitchens.
We may update recipe posts over the course of time as popularity and availability or ingredients change, based on recipe ratings and reader feedback, or upon further research and testing of the recipes.
For the majority of recipes, we will test the following:
- Different pots or pans: is cast iron or stainless steel a better bet? Can I use an 8×8 OR a 9×9 to make this? How does that change the cooking time and texture? Does the cook time change in a 2qt vs 4qt pot?
- Various methods: This recipe works on the stovetop, could we also make this as a sheet pan dinner? Or could we cook this in the instant pot?
- Storage: How does this recipe keep best? Does this recipe work well with freezing?
- Common substitutions: Oil for butter, coconut milk vs. almond milk, cornstarch or tapioca flour, AP flour vs. GF flours– the list of substitutions can be long! Based on the recipe, we guesstimate the most likely swaps people will ask about and see how the recipe turns out!
Why didn’t a recipe turn out right?
We understand that it is incredibly frustrating when a recipe doesn’t turn out as intended and there can be many factors at play. Here’s what we recommend double checking:
- First, re-read the recipe: Did you miss a step or an ingredient?
- Double check the cook temperature and recommended pan size as these make a HUGE difference in cook time and texture.
- Did you make any substitutions or alterations to the recipe as written? Swaps that seem perfectly ok could be causing issues. A common one we see is as simple as this: Spreadable butter (aka margarine) has a higher water content than butter sticks, which can lead to baked goods not turning out correctly!
Every kitchen is different! Different ovens and stovetops run at different temperatures, kitchens have differing levels of humidity, elevation, and ambient temperature, the freshness of ingredients, and consistency in size of ingredients (whether chopped or whole) are all factors that can change the outcome of a recipe!