How would you rate your culinary skills? Do you wield a Chef’s knife like a Samurai or are reservations the best thing you make?
You don’t need to be a Top Chef to enjoy delicious food, but boosting kitchen confidence helps because when you cook, you are in control of what goes into your food and what goes in to your body. I can’t think of a better way to be master of your universe!
Taste is the number one reason why we choose a food. Yet, lack of flavor is often cited as a common frustration for people trying to make changes to their diets.
Rather than thinking of cooking as a spectator sport, jump in. Get your hands dirty. But start with freshly washed hands, please. Read through the recipe before starting, follow the directions, and taste as you cook so you can adjust seasonings.
Flavor Boosting Tips
Here are some simple strategies help you make food taste even better.
1. Maximize the flavor of meat, fish, and poultry with pan-searing, grilling, or broiling. You don’t want burnt food, but a crusty edge means the proteins and sugars have caramelized, which adds rich flavor. So heat the pan before you add the meat to sizzle and sear like in Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl.
2. Pep it up with peppers. Use red, green, and yellow peppers of all varieties or add a dash of hot pepper sauce. Sriracha®, a chile garlic sauce, can be drizzled over eggs, brushed over fish, or stirred in a dip. Try Quinoa and black bean stuffed poblanos.
3. Roast veggies in a hot (425°F) oven for a toasty flavor. Heat the pan while the oven heats to reduce the cooking time and get a nice browning on the food. Before roasting, toss them lightly with oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
4. Roasting fruit satisfies a sweet tooth. Roast pineapple, pears, grapes, or strawberries at 400°F until softened. Broil grapefruit or oranges.
5. Caramelize sliced onions to bring out their natural sugar. Cook them low and slow in a skillet with a small amount of oil. They can be used in fajitas, on a burger or grilled cheese sandwich, in a frittata, or try them on a pizza.
6. Whole-grains add texture and flavor. Try brown rice, farro, spelt, quinoa, or bulgur. Cooked grains are great in salads such as Layered Spelt Salad.
7. Enhance dishes with bold flavors, such as pomegranate seeds in a salad, fresh ginger in fruit dishes, or chipotle pepper in tacos. Fresh herbs such as basil or parsley punch up flavor in about any food.
8. Add a bright tang with lemon, lime, or orange juice or grated citrus peel. A splash of balsamic or rice vinegar works too. Acidic foods lift flavors and enhance sauces, soups, and salads. Orange juice brightens Carrot Coconut Ginger Soup
9. Give a flavor burst with horseradish, curry powder, freshly ground pepper, mustard, olives, salsas, and dried fruit. A dab may just do ya. Brussels Sprouts Salad has upfront dried cranberries, red onion and blue cheese.
Most Americans agree that the best meal — the healthiest, tastiest and most emotionally satisfying — is a freshly cooked homemade meal, yet more than 60 percent want an answer to “what’s for dinner?”
I’ve got a solution. Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema that are filled with super good-for-you flavorful ingredients.
• Cabbage is a fish taco stable, but red cabbage has six times more antioxidants than green, and green cabbage is still one of our most nutritious vegetables.
• Yogurt chipotle sauce adds a creamy, spicy kick.
• Pickled onions add tangy crunch.
Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema
1 pound white fish, such as Artic Char, Barramundi, Mahi Mahi
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white or red vinegar
1 lime, quartered
6 small corn tortillas
Heat oven to 350°F.
Pickle the onions: In a small glass or stainless steel bowl, combine red onion and vinegar in a small glass or stainless steel bowl. Set aside, but stir them occasionally, for the 20-30 minutes you are preparing dinner. Store leftovers in refrigerator, covered for a couple of weeks.
Make the crema: In a separate bowl, combine yogurt and chipotle. Set aside.
Place fish on baking sheet. Rub olive oil and herbs over fish. Bake until just cooked through and fish turns opaque, about 10 minutes per inch.
Assemble tacos with fish pieces, cabbage, pickled onion and chipotle crema. Squeeze lime juice over top.
Recipe source: Judy Barbe, www.LiveBest.info
Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker, and author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being. Visit her website http://www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions. What are you waiting for?