Hard-nosed Chef Gordon Ramsey has enthralled many in his repeated seasons of TV’s reality show “Hell’s Kitchen”. Although his language is somewhat colourful, to say the least; the “F” word we should focus on in the kitchen is “Flavour”.
Countless consumers have frequented restaurants and fallen in love with tastes that they desire to duplicate in their home kitchens. The attempts to do so can often be disappointing. This is most likely due to short cuts that people take when choosing ingredients that fit their lifestyles and time limitations.
For example, I have come across a number of homes that have the large container of peeled, pre-chopped, brine-soaked garlic in their refrigerators. The attractive price and convenience are the catalysts for allowing products like these to enter our homes, but in reality we are sacrificing flavour. Complimenting garlic flavour in a recipe is best achieved by using fresh garlic that has been peeled and prepared at the time the meal is created.
Lemon juice is another common short cut. Lemon juice comes from lemons, not from a bottle. The taste difference in freshness is incredible. Also by utilizing fresh citrus fruits in recipes, one can take advantage of the essential oils in the outer zest of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit.
Bouillon cubes/powders are another ingredient that I find in homes that baffle me. Beef or chicken broth comes from, you guessed it, beef or chicken – not artificial ingredients. Upon examination of these cubes or powders you will notice that the first ingredient isn’t even meat derived. There are convenient flavour bases available in better forms at your local supermarket, such as tetra-packs, canned condensed broths or, better yet, jarred pastes.
There are many ways of creating flavour in recipes, like marinating meats for example, but the best way is to make a conscious decision to make sure every ingredient in a recipe is the most flavourful choice possible. Speaking of marinating meats – you guessed it – you should not be using powdered meat marinades. A fantastic and quick meat marinade recipe made from “real” ingredients is in my book The Best In Your Kitchen available for purchase on my website or from Amazon worldwide – you will never go back to powder.
Until next time... keep it real, ...and of course Happy Cooking!
Photo Credit: Food Network Canada/Chopped Canada