That sounds like a mouthful, and it is. A real mouthful of flavour. Any chef, cook, parent, friend, who tells you a list of twenty ingredients for their special sauce or recipe better go back to the stove and try again. I am not saying don’t flavour your food but that folks should put a lil thought into what to actually add to the food that you purchased with hard earned money from the hard working farmers who keep us fed.
When it’s the time of year for a specific seasonal product, then I say use it. Again and again. I ate mangos all day long during the hot season when I lived In Mali. Raw, juiced, dried, mixed with greens, cooked with peanut sauce, stewed, and chomped on like an apple!!! And they were dreamlike. Eating a wonderful piece of local Pabda fish here in Sylhet I find the slow cooked pile of sweet onions that have just come to market are amazing!!!! In Sylhet the winter crop of onions are worth savouring as the price has almost doubled in the last year for consumers along with rice, oil, and wheat, and at the same time the farmers are making half the amount of money...that is food for thought my well fed friends!!!!
Want to add cumin into a nice meal of roasted vegetables, with salmon and a sauce? Why not roast the vegetables with cumin seeds, crust the salmon with cumin and then make a puree like sauce of some of the roasted cumin flavoured beets. Now we have added flavour, doubled texture and simplified the number of ingredients.
Think carefully of what type of fat you may be cooking with: a strong olive oil, a dollop of butter, a bit of bacon...all can go along way if used correctly.
What are the one or two spices/herbs you want to flavour your dish? Got ‘em? Now don’t be afraid to use them in a few differently ways (roasted, toasted, powdered, fresh, etc)
Is the cooking technique you are using the best for the job? Maybe its worth firing up the grill even in winter, to get a great flavour on those root veggies or a steak as opposed to putting the magic combination of every spice in the cabinet on them!!!
What are the complimentary dishes? Can the tomatoes in the tomato sauce also have some roasted tomatoes as a garnish? Maybe the fennel puree can be served with pickled fennel and crushed fennel seeds on your roasted tofu?
Can you change your main dish with a new twist? How about a puree of your favourite black beans under your standard white rice and served with a center of plate attraction of grilled or roasted seasonal vegetables...
This is not rocket science...this is having fun in the kitchen and not burying flavours in the bottom of a shopping list of random acts of seasoning unkindness....
We all want to eat well. We all want to have fun. We should be able to achieve both in the kitchen each and every day.