Welcome to my little corner of culinary delights. How would you like to create your own recipes? It can be fun and certainly rewarding. Let us begin with what we have learned.
If you have faithfully read my culinary articles, by now you have what is needed. With a little guidance, it can be applied. You have learned how food acts and reacts chemically. You have learned methodology. You understand incidental cooking and how it is used in recipes.
You know about different cooking and baking techniques to achieve the best results. You know the various forms of tenderizing. You know the importance of pairing and adjusting, and much more. Hopefully and importantly, you know about herbs and seasonings. You now need to learn how to put order to all of this.
The first part of any orderly process for creating is to categorize your primary ingredients. Simply put, the primary ingredient for mashed potatoes is potatoes and for an apple pie are the apples. And you thought this would be difficult. Categorize these primary ingredients according to their most notable characteristics. A notable feature for such things as rhubarb, lemons and limes would be their acidity. They would go under the category of “strong” and sub-category of “sour”. Sour is usually associated with acidity. Now it is starting to get involved.
Onions and garlic are not sour but go under the category of “strong”. Other aromatic vegetables, such as carrots and celery, would be mildly strong. Strong foods carry their flavor well. Such vegetables as broccoli and cauliflower would go into the mild category. After you begin making your charts and lists for various food items, you will no doubt have different categories and sub-categories. Once this is done, you are ready to create.
I have coined two phrases to help better explain my methods: “taste lift” and “flavor lift”. What is meant by this is the need to help certain foods that are mild in flavor. For example, mashed potatoes, by nature, are bland. A little salt and pepper give them a taste lift. If then we wish to cut down on salt, the potato needs additional help from other directions.
Mixing in basil can give it that flavor lift or even sharp cheddar cheese and/or finely minced onions. We are pairing the foods in the strong category with those in the mild in order to achieve the balance we desire. Opposites often blend well for interesting results such as sweet and sour pork. When adding strong flavors to mild primary ingredients, be careful to not overpower.
Note that we are proceeding along the lines of logic and intentional analysis. I cannot stress enough that creating a wonderful dish is not well accomplished by blind endeavors. Although it is true that some discoveries come by accident, they are few and far between. One should tend to create along established guidelines. There is less chance of disappointment and waste.
Until next time, peace to all.