"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Flavor Enhancing Cooking Techniques: Healthy Eating



http://www.thekitchn.com/is-bone-marrow-considered-offa-140644

From years of watching very technique oriented cooking shows: Alton Brown, Tyler Florence and Sarah Moulton, along with diligently reading our monthly Cooks Illustrated magazine (They have a show: America’s Test Kitchen) I have really improved my cooking skills.
Let's face it, the difference between a good meal and a great meal is determined by two things: quality ingredients and good preparation. 

So, the more you can learn about cooking techniques the better your cooking will become.
A lot of recipes I see from both blogs and magazines have really good ingredients in them, but the directions for preparation are either non-existent or lacking in precision. The person who wrote the recipe may have intuitively used good technique, but forgot or didn’t even think of, relaying it to you.
So beside the chefs and magazines I recommend above here are some cooking techniques that I have found very helpful for improving the flavor in most recipes.
Salt each part of a dish: as you add an item salt it. Then you can be sure that every ingredient in a dish has benefited from the enhancing and blending ability of salt. Most home cooks do not put enough salt in their cooking. You really do need to put a substantial amount in many dishes... especially stews and soups. Dishes that have ingredients that already contain salt don’t need as much, such as, meals made with soy sauce or any type of cheese. Don’t worry... if you are working with fresh unsalted ingredients you are not going to come close to adding the amount salt that is unhealthy like the vast quantities that are in fast foods or processed foods. 
Layer as you cook. Often, especially in a soup recipe, it will basically say to throw everything into the pot and boil it. If you really want to bring out flavors and experience an initial taste, followed by an interesting after note,... you need to cook in layers. Say for instance, you are making a beef stew. I would first braze the meat and then deglaze the pan. Afterward cook the vegetables in that foundation sauce. Add broth to it, and top the stew off with aromatic fresh herbs added just before serving, so their delicate flavors are not destroyed. For Example: Puree Root Vegetable Soup (Could be topped with some fresh parsley.)

Deglaze the pan. If you brown anything: meat or fish, add a little wine or vinegar to the pan after. Turn up the heat and scrap the bottom of the pan reducing your liquid into an incredibly flavorful sauce...that you can pour right over what you just cooked. For Example: Half Crocked Beef Stew,  Steak Pizzaiola


Look for recipes with glutamate rich foods in them or add these items to a recipe to improve it’s flavor. Foods and seasoning like: mushrooms, tomatoes, anchovy, Worcestershire sauce contain a natural version of MSG in them. These ingredients almost guarantee that the dish will have knock out flavor to it. Check out my post on this topic: The Height of Flavor: Glutamate Cooking For Example: Sicilian Tuna Pasta


WEEKLY MEAL PLAN:

Sunday: Spicy Beef Kebabs with Onions, Peppers, and Mushrooms on Pita Bread with Tahini yogurt sauce.

Meatless Monday: Chickpea Patties on brown rice with cucumber radish and dill salad.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Clam Sauce and baby green salad

Wednesday: Pan Fried Cod with Mustard Caper Sauce, Roasted Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Thursday: Freezer night: Smorgasbord of frozen appetizers that have been in the freezer too long. All served with a side salad. 

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Grilled Chicken with a Paul Newman's Marinade, Corn on the cob with a Red Onion Tomato Salad

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6 comments:

  1. These are great tips! I know the basics of cooking, but there is so much more out there I can learn!

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  2. Frugal Living is living better using less financial resources.EfrugalLiving teaches you how to create a budget, save money, reduceyour debt, earn extra cash and live simply.

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  3. Great tips and wonderful reminders....though no Top Chef will ever get me to add more salt to my food....lucky for me I don't miss the flavor! :-)

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  4. The spicy beef kabobs sound fun!

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    Replies
    1. It is a really good marinade that works well on pork too.

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  5. You've shared some good tips here, and your menu sounds delicious!

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