Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Tips to Season and Flavor Foods

Are you afraid to salt your food while preparing it? The only time you should eliminate salt is when you have hypertension or a heart disease, otherwise a healthy individual can season his food with a modest amount of salt without it being a heath concern.

It is best to season your food before you cook it not after. Just remember a lot of seasonings will fall off the food if you are searing or putting it on the grill. The same with pasta. You should salt the water heavily because only a small amount will stick. A rule of thumb for seasoning, and I think Gordon Ramsay agrees, you do it three times; once before cooking, once while cooking and finally once right before you serve it. Your guests, friends or family should not have to season or salt their food.

The best way to know if you’ve seasoned it enough is to TASTE it! Periodically check to see if it needs more and adjust accordingly.  Keep in mind if you are adding cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes or anything spicy the longer you cook your food the spicier they will get. For example, if you’ve made some chili and it’s at a perfect level of spicy, but it still has two hours to slow cook, it’s probably going to be too spicy once it’s done. If you reheat it the next day it will be spicier yet. WOW!

Another tip regarding spices make sure they are fresh, don’t use cheap spice mixes and throw away any ground spice that’s over 6 months old, 12 months tops.  Salt is fine to keep longer so long as you keep it in a cool, dark place. Whole spices can be kept longer than ground spices, so it’s not a bad idea to buy whole and grind them as you need them.

This goes for meat as well. Find a good butcher to get your meat from, if possible. You’ll end up saving money and get a better product. Speaking of meat, one of the biggest mistakes a home cook makes is being impatient. Home cooks flip their meat too often. I just did the post Gordon Ramsay Perfect Burger and he only flipped it 4 times. If you are searing the meat make sure the skillet is hot and sufficiently oiled and if your grilling make sure the grill is hot and rub oil on the meat or marinate it at least 15-20 minutes. And then LEAVE IT ALONE! Let it cook a good 2-3 minutes so the Maillard Reaction can do its thing. A good crust on the meat improves the flavor immensely. If your not sure if it’s ready just try to move it a little if it sticks, its not ready. Don’t force it.

If you start with good ingredients, season them appropriately and take your time to let them cook properly it’s hard not to end up with something enjoyable, even if it’s not perfect. Yum Yum!

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