Tag Archives: seasoning

Recipe testing

3 Sep

So the best part of my job is recipe testing. I get to take ingredients that I have in the house, an idea I have in my head and create. Literally, I get to play with my food. This week I gave myself a challenge. Only go to the grocery store once. It doesn’t seem like that would be such a challenge, but trust me it is. I went to the store on Monday, it’s now Thursday and here’s what I’ve made so far:

Pasta with homemade red sauce

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Cheesesteak eggrolls with Pespi BBQ sauce

Pineapple Upside down cupcakes

Sweet and Sour jerk chicken with orange couscous

Bleu Cheese risotto with corn, zucchini, and turkey

And about six different breakfast burritos

What does all this testing give me? Well not only does it help me develop new and exciting things to eat, but it also helps me practice the techniques that I learned in school. I like taking recipes that I’ve found online, or in a cookbook and making them my own. The eggrolls we obviously inspired by normal Chinese eggroll, but were also inspired by some of the findings in frozen food aisle. Have you ever looked at what’s in those frozen appetizer bites? Well let me enlighten you. It’s salt. Salt is cheap and makes things taste good. By making them yourself you control the amount of salt and can actually eat more of them. Chicken Cheesesteak Eggrolls

The BBQ sauce that accompany them is my own recipe. Yes, you can make your own BBQ sauce. I mean the stuff in the bottle doesn’t just magically appear there. Again, by making it on your own you can control what’s going into it. Like it spicy? Add chili peppers. Like it sweet? Add brown sugar, honey, or onions. I used ketchup as a base for mine with the surprise ingredient of Pepsi. It wound up being very sweet up front and then finishing spicy in the back of your throat. Perfect for me.

The jerk chicken was something that I have been craving for a few days. I made my own jerk seasoning since I didn’t have any on the spice shelf. In general the jerk spice blends that I’ve gotten at the store have been pretty good. McCormick has a good one and it saves time and money to just buy the jar. But it you have a decent supply of spices already and you you can spare a few minutes you can make it at home. Here’s my recipe for jerk spice:

Jerk Spice:

IMG_07842 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

combine and store in airtight container for up to 2 months

I used the jerk seasoning on chicken, onions and pineapple. Sort of a Caribbean stir-fry. I added black beans and basil and then served it over orange couscous. Surprisingly, Ryan really liked it. It had a really nice sweet but spicy flavor and the extra bursts of sweetness from the pineapple really made the dish pop. This one is definitely a keeper. Next time I might add a little diced red pepper to add some color.

The other ventures were just as exciting. The Pineapple cakes were also a big hit. (In case you were wondering, I had a whole pineapple that I needed to use so that’s why there are so many recipes involving the fruit.) It’s making it really fun not being able to go out for more ingredients. Tonight’s menu holds tuna melts, and baked apple dumplings. I hope I have everything for the dumplings. The weather is turning and I think a little fall-ish dessert is in order.

Always thinking of the next meal

Katie

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Salt is salt… right?

22 Jul

Salt is not just salt. Salt is an enhancer, the key to unlocking the best flavors that food has to offer. So if salt is the enhancer, then is there a way to enhance salt? The answer… YES! By mixing herbs and other flavors into the salt you can make it even better. For lack of a better word, you can make a “compound salt.”

You can really add whatever you want to salt to give it extra flavor. Fresh herbs work great especially if you grill a lot. A herbed salt will not only make you meat sing, but will add a kick of flavor to otherwise one note grilling. Since I’ve previously made a compound salt with herbs, I thought I would try something else.

I am prepping a Greek Salad for my cousin’s bridal shower and as part of that is a marinated tomato. I had to peel the the skins off the tomatoes in order to maximize the marination and I was left with the skins of 7 tomatoes. Really I could have just thrown them out, but now I have a wonderful tomato salt that I can use on fish, steak or vegetables.

Here’s the recipe:

Tomato Compound Salt

Tomato Skins of 5-7 tomatoes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup salt

in a food processor combine the salt, pepper and tomato skins. Spread the salt on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 250 for 30 minutes or until the salt mixture is dried out but not brown.

IMG_0691IMG_0692

Give this one a try… it’s really easy way to jazz up the same old same old.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie