I constantly adapt recipes in order to use what I have on hand. Certain ingredients may not be available in Columbus, and some produce may not be locally in season. Recipe adaptation can be tricky, but it will become easier as your cooking instinct grows.
Some cooking manuals carry very useful substitution information. In other instances, you will need to use common sense. Here is a recent example from my kitchen.
I wanted to make a Sicilian Onion Soup, but the recipe called for things I did not have: white onions, grueyere, and ciabatta bread. Instead, I used sweeter vidalia onions. Parmesan cheese balanced the sweetness and was in keeping with the Italian flavor. I toasted some hearty whole wheat bread under the broiler to replace the ciabatta croutons.
The soup was a hit. Good luck and trust your instincts!