Monday, March 16, 2009

Lists, Part 2

Not really a followup to my previous post, but a quick guide to go-to flavor boosters that I really found helpful, from the popular blog How to Cook Like Your Grandmother. On the list: Vanilla beans (interesting, because Cook's Illustrated just determined that even the most experienced tasters couldn't tell the difference between real vanilla extract and quality imitation, at least in baking), miso (a big umami booster that I never seem to think of) and flavored salts (which seem like they'd be best for finishing a dish, rather than flavoring it). To his 21 I'd add: dried mushrooms (the bacon of the vegetarian world); Dijon mustard (welcome just about everywhere--from salad dressings to tuna salad to pasta sauce to roasted vegetables); Sriracha (AKA rooster sauce--a blazing-hot condiment often found in Asian restaurants); and lemon juice and zest, which--although not strictly pantry staples--can punch up the flavor of just about anything.

Speaking of pantry staples: For about a year now, I've been slowly collecting the ingredients for this recipe, and this week, I'm going to make it. Even if it's the best thing I've ever eaten, I doubt I can eat it every week--which means I'm going to have to figure out a use for 12 ounces of shrimp paste.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Dijon as the secret-flavor ingredient. My penne and broccoli salad with creamy garlic dressing calls for 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.