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DIVAS ON A DIME: Learning to substitute ingredients in your favorite recipes

Lately, I’ve heard funny stories about people wanting to make recipes but not having all the ingredients. Of course, they’re joking about recipes needing a single feather from a dodo bird or the broom of the Wicked Witch.

Now that we can’t easily dash to the store if we’re missing an ingredient, the best thing we can do is learn to make substitutions.

I’m using this opportunity to illustrate that we can make the recipe below without having all the actual ingredients. The substitutions are below. Will it be like the original? No. Will we feel rock stars for making it work? Yes.

The recipe I’m sharing today has been around forever. It’s melt-in-your-mouth juicy pork, enrobed in a sweet and tangy glaze. It’s all about the glaze. You could put this glaze on a flip-flop, and I would eat it.

CROCK-POT BROWN SUGAR &BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK

What You’ll Need:

4 pounds pork sirloin roast

2 teaspoons ground sage

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup water

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Here’s How:

Season the pork roast on both sides with sage, salt, and pepper. Place pork, fat cap side up, in the slow cooker and sprinkle the garlic evenly over the top. Carefully add water into the slow cooker so you don’t wash off the seasoning. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or until it shreds easily with a fork. Carefully pull the roast from the slow cooker and place on an aluminum lined sheet pan, let rest.

While the roast is resting, in a small saucepan mix the ingredients for the glaze: brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, and soy sauce. Heat over medium, stirring until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.

Heat your oven broiler. Pour about half the glaze into a gravy boat and set aside. Brush about half of the remaining glaze onto the pork and set under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat 2 to 3 more times until desired crust is achieved. Shred or slice pork against the grain into individual portions. Serve with reserved glaze on the side.

Substitutions:

Pork loin: boneless pork butt or pork shoulder, (cook on high for 4 – 6 hours), pork tenderloin, (cook on low for 4 hours or to 145°F) boneless skinless chicken thighs, (cook for on high for 3 hours) chicken breast, (cook on low for 4–6 hours)

Kosher salt: use half the quantity of table salt

Ground sage: Fresh sage (double the quantity), poultry seasoning, thyme, marjoram, savory, or rosemary, (use half the quantity).

Garlic: garlic powder or onion powder (one teaspoon), minced dried garlic, or a larger quantity of a milder allium, like green onion, scallion, or shallot.

Brown sugar: white sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses.

Balsamic vinegar: red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, sherry vinegar. Add ½ teaspoon brown sugar (or white sugar or honey) for each tablespoon of vinegar.

Soy sauce: miso, liquid aminos, tamari.

Corn starch: arrowroot, or tapioca powder. You can use flour to thicken sauces, but you’ll need to use three times the amount and cook for a longer time.

Crock-pot – bake covered in the oven at 200°F for low and 300°F for high, the same amount of time.

Please note, when you make substitutions in a recipe, you’re making a variation and it may not taste exactly as the original recipe would. But what you’re doing is creating your own original recipe. You may like your new version even better and that’s wonderful!

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

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