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I don't think you'll be able to write in a file using only Flex. You'd have to use AIR to do it.
Flex, when run in the Flash Player in a browser, cannot access ANY client resources, including the file system.
In your example, recipes.xml is loaded into your app at compile time, from the server.
In order to write that file back to the server, you must have some server-side functionality. This functionality can be implemented in JSP, ASP, CF, PHP, Java, etc.
Here is an example, that loads an xml file from the server, edits it, and saves it back. The example shows both JSP and ASP.Net back-end code. Note: the xml editor part makes if much more complex than is needed just to load/and save a file. You will be able to pull that portion our of the rest if you want.
Yes, with AIR, you can access local resources.