THE flour is measured, the butter softened, the pan greased and the oven heated. And there's not a drop of buttermilk to be found.
Just about every cook has experienced the sinking feeling of discovering that the cupboard is one ingredient shy of a complete recipe or that the market doesn't stock some offbeat item that's called for.
Here's a list of acceptable substitutes for those times when you're in a pinch. They'll work in almost all instances. Remember, though, if the ingredient is a major player in the recipe, integral to the flavor or the composition, it's best to wait until you have all the right stuff on hand.| Allspice, 1 teaspoon ground: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon EACH nutmeg and ground cloves.| Arrowroot, 1 1/2 teaspoons: 1 tablespoon flour.| Baking powder, 1 teaspoon: 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar.| Butter, 1 cup: 1 cup margarine or 7/8 cup solid vegetable shortening.| Buttermilk: plain yogurt; 1 tablespoon lemon
Red pepper.| Cornstarch for thickening, 1 tablespoon: 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.| Creme frai^che, 1 cup: 1 cup whipping cream with 2 tablespoons buttermilk, mixed in a glass container and allowed to stand at room temperature until thick, 8 to 24 hours. Stir and refrigerate up to 10 days.| Half-and-half: 7/8 cup whole milk plus 1 1/2 tablespoons butter.| Sour cream: plain yogurt.| Farmers cheese: dry curd cottage cheese or queso fresco.| Fish stock: equal parts clam juice and water.| Dried currants: chopped dark raisins.| Sifted cake flour, 1 cup: 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon