The best way to be a good cook is not to worry about being a perfect cook. Give up on perfection, or at least any ideas you may have that perfection is a fixed thing against which you must measure everything you do. Nothing we cook will look will look exactly the same as a picture in a magazine or taste the way our friend’s dish did. Even a familiar recipe will not offer the same result from one day to the next time we make it.
We at Tiny New York Kitchen like to experiment with flavors. Often we reach into our well-stocked pantry and use the essential flavor builders to take a dish to the next level.
Essential Flavor Builders To Keep On Hand:
Vinegars: Vinegar’s complex tang is the secret ingredient in many recipes. We shake a bit of sherry vinegar into bean soup, and add rice vinegar to coleslaw dressings. If you had to choose just one vinegar, we would recommend the mild rice vinegar, but we also keep balsamic, sherry, malt, and cider vinegars on hand.
Anchovies: A filet of anchovy blended into a marinade or dressing adds savory flavor without being too overtly fishy.
Chili Paste: We keep chili paste or bottled Sriracha for drizzling over rice and adding to meat marinades.
Red Pepper Flakes: Many dishes get better with a little kick from red pepper flakes.
Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is a way to add umami flavor and a little salt to dressing and soups.
“Work With What You Got!”
©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved
Umami is considered the fifth flavor (after sweet, sour, salty, and bitter). Umami is difficult to define, but is “something” that makes a meal memorable. Often used by chefs, umami is a rich, savory taste imparted by the amino acid glutamate and ribonucleotides-molecules containing the sugar ribose that are components of RNA – that occur naturally in many foods. You can take your meals to the next level with ingredients rich in umami like anchovies, beef, fish sauce, miso paste, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, or sun-dried tomatoes.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved
Season With Worcestershire Sauce
Think of Worcestershire sauce as the “Fish Sauce” of American cooking. Worcestershire sauce is probably one of the most underused condiments. The sauce is a fermented mix of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, and other seasonings that adds great flavor to a dish without adding many calories. I often add a splash to salad dressings, marinades, and sauces, or use it to season ground meat for meatloaf or burgers. Just go easy because it’s high in sodium.
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen