How to make things taste good – All you need is love

Aug 10, 2018 | Cooking Tips

If you are struggling with cooking, finding it difficult to make things taste good, maybe you’re trying too hard. If all you want is for things to be delicious, I’ve got you covered. There is no need to stress, no need to over think.  All you need, is love.

I’ve talked a lot about simplicity. About not over complicating food. The problem is that to do this takes a lot of skill. Simplicity, oddly enough, is one of the most difficult things to master. All too often we think that in order to make something better we need to add more and more and more. When in reality, the solution is almost always less. So today, I am going to do my best to teach you how to make almost anything taste good with as few ingredients as possible.

The idea behind what I’m talking about today is embracing the natural flavours of food. We’re not making curries or any big bold flavours. We don’t want to cover up the flavours of the food. We want to highlight the natural flavours of our ingredients using as few additional ingredients as possible. When you stop trying to add ingredients to make things taste good you become a better cook.

So what’s the secret? 

All you need is four or five ingredients. And these are likely things you already have on hand. It’s important that these ingredients be of the best quality you can afford. So what are they?

Salt –

When I talk about salt I am not talking about table salt. Table salt has iodine added to it and a harsh flavour which it can impart to your food. Invest in some coarse kosher salt, or sea salt. The flavours will be much cleaner.

Pepper –

When pepper is ground it starts to lose its flavour.  Don’t by ground black pepper. Invest in a pepper mill and peppercorns. Again, you will get a much cleaner flavour.

Olive Oil –

Not all olive oil is olive oil. There is no regulation about naming olive oil. Often times, and with a lot of name brands what you actually get is a cheap, bitter oil with a bit of olive oil in it. This bitter oil will mess up the flavour of your food. Good olive oil should taste slightly like olive and pretty much nothing else. There should be no bitterness. So do some research and find a brand that is actual olive oil. Once you taste the real stuff you will never use anything else. Yes, good olive oil costs more than shitty olive oil. But it is absolutely worth the price. Having said that, you do not need to spend $20 on a bottle there are good quality oils out there that cost only slightly more than the shitty big brand ones.

Fresh Herbs –

Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to easily impart flavour. The three that I most recommend always having around are parsley, thyme, and rosemary. These also happen to be the easiest to grow. Thyme and rosemary can be added to food while it’s cooking, where parsley should be added after food is cooked. Also, you don’t have to worry about chopping thyme or rosemary just throw a few whole sprigs into your food. You will still get the flavour through the release of the essential oils in the herbs.

Garlic –

The final item on the list is garlic. It should be self-explanatory. I use about three bulbs of garlic a week. It works with almost anything, it’s delicious, and it’s really good for you.

How does it all go together? 

Let’s talk vegetables first. You can take almost any vegetable from zucchini to tomatoes, potatoes to parsnips and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme or rosemary. Roast them in the oven at 400°F for 30-45 minutes. Done. roasted potaotes

How much do you use?

For an entire baking sheet of vegetables, you want to use between 2-4 tbsp of olive oil, 4-5 sprigs of thyme or rosemary, and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. You can always add more salt and pepper later as you need it.

Okay, let’s talk about meat.

You can take a whole chicken, rub it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs, roast it at 400°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or so. The same can be done with chicken legs, thighs, drumsticks, or wings just cook them for less time. roasted chicken

This same thechnique works really well for a pork or beef roast or even fish. The exact same process, exact same temperature. The only variable is time and they really depends on the size of the piece of meat and how you want it done.

Conclusion

Being a good cook is much more about knowing when you don’t need to add something rather than when you do. The techniques I described above are going to yield really good simple food. Cooking with such simplicity will help you develop as a cook and will you understand the flavours of the food.

The reason why this technique works with some many different things is that everything tastes different. Because everything tastes different the flavours interact with the few additional ingredients differently. This gives a wide variety of flavours with very little work.

 

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