Cookbook authors, chefs, recipe developers and home cooks are always sharing new tips for success in the kitchen.
Cookbook authors, chefs, recipe developers and home cooks are always sharing new tips for success in the kitchen. Here are some I found recently for enhancing flavor in soups, sauces, stews and braises:
Instead of adding ground spices to soups, stews or braises after adding the cooking liquid as many recipes instruct, Jack Bishop, Cooks Illustrated, suggests adding the chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, etc. to the pot as you sauté the onions in oil. Because spices contain fat-soluble flavor compounds, cooking them in oil rather than water-based ingredients brings out their full flavor. This is a particularly good way to get every last bit of flavor from ground spices that may be past their prime.
The first time I tasted anchovies I thought my aunt, whose cat had the run of the house including the kitchen, had accidentally put cat food on my pizza. Being a label reader, I have since discovered that traces of anchovy or anchovy paste can be found in other foods, such as Worcestershire sauce and Caesar salad dressing.
According to a Lifehacker.com article by Alan Henry, Bishop keeps anchovy “umami bombs” on hand to add savory flavor to dishes. Used sparingly, anchovies or anchovy paste add meaty flavor to beef stews, chili and braises without adding fishiness.
Kenji Lopez-Alt, seriouseats.com, uses anchovies, but also uses marmite (a pungent brown spread made from yeast, spice and vegetable extracts) and and soy sauce in marinades, salad dressings, soup and meatloaf.
In his cookbook “5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food, “ Jamie Oliver recommends keeping these five non-perishable flavor boosters on hand to allow you to easily amp up the taste of any dish by adding tang, umami or spice: olive oil (for cooking), extra virgin olive oil (for dressing), red-wine vinegar, sea salt and black pepper.
One of chef Daniel Boulud’s best tips is finishing with a splash of acid, such as lemon juice, wine or vinegar to help flavors shine, and cut through rich sauces and fatty dishes.
And according to chef Fabio Viviani, although you might not be able to pick the flavor out, the little pop of brininess from a splash of clam juice will take your seafood dishes to a whole new level.
More chocolate flavor
Cocoa powder is an excellent way to add chocolate flavor to baked goods – much better than melting or grating chocolate into them, according to Bishop. Cocoa powder’s chocolate flavor is more intense than other forms of chocolate because it is 100 percent chocolate with most of the tasteless cocoa butter removed leaving the cocoa solids that provide the flavor we associate with chocolate. One ounce of cocoa powder has the same flavor impact as 1.6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate or 3.8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.
Not everyone prefers crispy cookies. For folks who like them chewy, Bishop suggests creaming melted butter instead of creaming softened butter with sugar at the beginning of the recipe.
Butter, he explains is about 18 percent water and if you melt it, that water will mix with the proteins in the flour to form gluten, which is what makes bread or cookies chewy.
“We seem to all think we have very little power over whipped cream,” writes Kristen Miglore at food52.com, when in reality, “whipped cream can handle a lot more chaos than we think.”
Even when it gets a little bit too stiff, it can be smoothed out by folding in a few tablespoons of heavy cream – as long as it not started to turn to butter
Even more impressive (to me, anyway) is the fact that whipped cream can be lightened and its flavor enhanced by the addition of yogurt. Miglore whips a cup of heavy cream with ½ cup of yogurt (plain, Greek, full-fat or not). Not only does this make it lighter in texture and give it a slightly tangy or cultured flavor, it makes it nearly impossible to over whip and turn to butter.
Those proportions are just guidelines, she says. You could make it more yogurt-heavy to serve with granola or waffles or use even more yogurt and put it on asparagus, steak, risotto or soup.
Margaret Eby, food52.com, says that using part yogurt offsets the sugar you are adding. And, the yogurt-added whipped cream doesn’t break down as quickly when stored in the refrigerator.
No churn required
I am always on the lookout for recipes that don’t require specialized appliances that I don’t have space for. So I was happy to find two ice cream recipes that do not include the words “ice cream maker” and “manufacturer’s instructions.”
In the first one, Stacy Ballis, shares what she calls a “mashup of two heroes of summer” (ice cream and sweet corn) at myrecipes.com.
The second one, also from myrecipes.com, has a consistency and taste of soft serve ice cream according to contributors Adam Hickman and Nicole McLaughlin.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
2 cups cream
3 ears sweet corn, cooked
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark or amber rum
Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the kernels from 2 of the ears of cooked corn into a bowl. Set aside
Cut the kernels off the third ear into another bowl and break into separate kernels. Combine the grated and whole-kernel corns and stir in salt, vanilla and rum. Set aside.
In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip the cream to almost soft peaks. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whip to soft peaks. It should be fluffy and mousse-like. Gently fold in corn mixture.
Pour into an airtight container and freeze for 4 hours or up to overnight. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 or 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with caramel sauce and caramel popcorn or toasted chopped nuts.
Ice Cube Ice Cream
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Rainbow candy sprinkles
Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until well combined. Whisk in cream and milk until well combined. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, with a rubber spatula, until mixture reaches 170 F, 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. If any solids have formed, pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, and discard solids. Transfer cream mixture to a chilled bowl, and place that bowl into a larger bowl of ice and water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture is room temperature or cooler, about 20 minutes.
Pour into 24 ice-cube tray compartments. Freeze until solid, about 6 hours.
Transfer frozen ice cream cubes to a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately, or transfer to a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze until ready to use.
To serve, top with cherries and sprinkles.
Thanks to reader Sandy Jacobs for pointing out an incorrect ingredient amount in the recipe for Simple Crusty Bread in last week’s column. I’d love to blame it on a computer glitch somewhere along the line, but I can’t. Here are the correct ingredient amounts:
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough
Email Linda Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org