Friday, September 3, 2010

A Note About Amounts and Seasoning

I rarely measure or follow real recipes, *unless* I'm baking - then exact amounts are a must because baking is really one big chemistry lab.  If I look at a recipe, it's usually for inspiration, and then I wing it, so I'll do my best to approximate amounts in the recipes I post.

My salt of choice
With that said, you should always cook things to taste, and season as you go. Never wait until the very end of your cooking process to add the salt and pepper (S&P).  Do a little bit at each stage.  If you're creating a marinade, always do the finger dip test before you put the raw meat in.  It will always taste strong, and usually overly salty, but make sure that your flavor profile is right.

If you're cooking something like a burger or meatball and want to check your seasoning, follow this trick - make a teeny tiny meatball, pop it on a saucer, and microwave it for 30 seconds or so. cut it in half to make sure it's cooked through, and then taste for seasoning.  It will likely be tough and dry from being nuked, but  again, you can make sure your flavor profile is right. If you do these things, you'll probably never need to have the salt & pepper shaker on your table.

In regards to seasonings, I ONLY use coarse kosher salt, or freshly ground salt crystals.  Table salt is, in my opinion, terrible tasting and a very easy way to make your food taste too salty.  As for black pepper, always use freshly ground. For oil, I try to always use Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or as Rachel Ray would say, EVOO).  If you need an oil without such a dominant flavor, I use canola.

Everyone has room for fresh herbs!
A word about spices/herbs.  If you have a spices or dried herbs that have been sitting around for years, do yourself a favor, throw them out!!  Spices and herbs DO have a shelf life, and over time they can lose their flavor.  If you can use fresh herbs, definitely do!  A home herb garden is amazingly easy to take care of, wether its in your windowsill, a pot on your balcony, or in the ground in your garden.  Just note that you usually need to use slightly more fresh herbs than dried herbs, because the drying process concentrates the flavor.

No comments:

Post a Comment