Improve Your Cooking in 5 Ways
Categories: Helpful Info
Now that the shell shock of the festive frenzy has well and truly worn off and we’re headed towards Autumn, you may feel your daily menu is missing something. If you are haunted by a sense of lacklustre repetition and flavours that somehow fail to appeal to your palate, not to worry. There are five ways in which you can pep up your cuisine. They’re easy to enact, require no training, and will probably make all the difference. The best part is that you only need to learn new recipes if you want to; these improvements can be put in play on the dishes you already know well how to create.
Get Smart With Salt
While many chefs may insist that people don’t use enough salt, it may not be entirely true. In fact, some would assert that people consume too much sodium in their daily fare. The key here is how it’s included in your food and what sort of salt of which you make use. Table salt is boring. Sure, it has its place—on the table and in some limited culinary applications. Investigate coarse sea salts, kosher salt, and a variety of artisan salts, like smoked, volcanic clay, pink Himalayan, and others from around the world. They add flavour and bring other minerals and distinctive aspects of origin along to the party as well. Don’t be afraid to salt your cooking water or use it judiciously to season—that’s what salt is great for, after all.
Tart it Up a Bit
If you’re on a reduced sodium diet for medical reasons or just at a loss for what’s missing from your dish, a bit of something acidic may do the trick. Lemon or lime juice, wine, and vinegar all have the acidic component that brings out the subtle flavours of food. This is why pickles, chutneys, and other fermented treatments are popular in many cultural cuisines. While salt blocks bitter agents in foods and accentuates sweet or spicy tastes, acid can have a similar impact on your taste buds.
Get Saucy with Your Cooking Liquids
In place of plain water for many dishes, substitute stock. Even vegetable stock can provide powerful backing for the finished taste of a dish. While water lacks any noticeable flavours of its own, wine, stock, or broth of any variety carries far more clout. Use it for braising, steaming, and cooking foods such as rice, quinoa, barley, amaranth, polenta, potatoes, and beans. Vegetable, fresh fish, meat, or chicken-based broths and stocks add a subtle depth to cooked foods and wine has an acidity that will bring out flavours more fully than water, as discussed above.
Contrasts are Complimentary
Texture contrasts also add an element of interest to many foods. Consider the use of Japanese Panko breadcrumbs in Tempura cuisine. The meat within is tender, juicy and full of flavour. The outer crust is crisp with crunchy accents. These two textures compliment each other because of their extreme difference. You can incorporate this idea into many of your everyday dishes. Try breadcrumbs on top of your baked macaroni and cheese, crisp fried onions topping your potatoes au gratin, or adding bacon bits, and finely diced capsicum or even celery as a garnish to your favourite pasta dish. The element of texture is as important as that of flavour, and changing up your approach in either of these areas is a good thing.
Butter Gets a Bad Rap
The secret to living richly is butter—butter and gratitude. Many people have bought into the WWII era hype that margarine is better for you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Unaugmented butter offers a creamy texture, an incomparable flavour, and can be used with relative moderation, thus negating its negative press. No chef worth their salt would be caught dead using margarine, because it’s got a whole host of rather unsettling additives, preservatives, and chemical emulsifiers. Plus, it has just as much fat as butter. If you want to use mono and polyunsaturated fats in your cooking, stick to the pure oils—safflower, sunflower, walnut, grape seed, canola, and olive. There can be no substitute for real butter. Margarine is the result of rationing and the myths about it are a result of convincing ration-restricted populations to accept it in butter’s stead.
By putting these five concepts into regular circulation, your recipes will get a second life. Flavours and aspects of your food that you never full realised will leap to the fore and snag the palate spotlight. The best part of these measures is that they don’t require a great deal of thought, expertise, or an expansive budget – with meat online at great prices. Anyone can implement them, as they deem appropriate, and improve their fare to the surprise and delight of the entire household.