Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Playing with Flavor

Don't think this is turning into a strictly food blog, but I write when I'm inspired, and currently I'm thinking of a great dinner for tomorrow night to celebrate finishing my DAT.  When I'm cooking I typically like to keep things simple.  For starters, I'm in college (aka broke as hell) and I simply cannot afford to keep a pantry/fridge fully stocked at all times.  Also, when too many different flavors are combined together, I typically tend to get overwhelmed (reason why I am not partial to Ethiopian food).  Therefore, I like to keep some basic essential ingredients on hand, as well as a good rotation of new fruits and veggies to try.  Some things I almost always have at home are: feta cheese, black beans, canned corn, tomatoes, live sprouted bread, worchestershire sauce, and white wine.  With these staple ingredients, I find I can usually bring a few new ingredients to the table (no pun intended) and come up with something edible, if not surprisingly fantastic.  I'm a huge fan of vegetables, and they're the main part of most of my dishes, so I love walking into a farmers market or store and picking out things that catch my eye.  One rule of mine: Never be intimidated.  If you don't know how to cook something, or how to work it in with other flavors, google it.  You're bound to learn and 9 times out of 10 it's not as scary as it seems.

This brings me to my next topic:  mixing flavors!  Like I said before, I like to keep it simple.  Also very important is using what YOU have.  If I'm following a recipe and it calls for a lemon garnish and I happen to have a lime in the fridge, I'll try it.  Start with a little and you can always stop of you don't like where the flavor is going.  So when I'm putting together a meal, I try to have a veggie/fruit with a carb/protein.  I also like to mix sweet and salty or spicy.  So if I'm making an arugula salad, the spicy peppery flavor is a little intense for say, an italian dressing..or at least for me.  Instead, I might use just a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and garnish with fresh raspberries, walnuts, and a mild goat cheese.  Yum!

What are your favorite combos?  I love trying new ideas!

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