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Step up your seasoning game

- Feb 01, 2018 -

Anything you’re adding to supplement or bring out the natural flavours in your cooking is called seasoning. It can be as simple as salt and pepper, but even more fun are fresh herbs, spices, even citrus juice. Creative cooks are finding new ways to add flavour to make a dish stand out, or turn a meal into a signature dish. There is no right or wrong way to season your food, its mostly personal preference, but there are some tips to note to help you know you’re on the right track. 

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When a recipe says “season to taste” that implies you should be able to taste the seasoning. Just a dash of this and a dash of that should do something to the food to change or accentuate its flavour. If you’ve had the same spice in your cupboard since you last stocked up a few years ago, that’s a sign that you either don’t use that spice ever, you don’t use enough spice, or its time to refresh your spice collection. Dried spices have lost a lot of their flavour before you’ve even brought them home from the store. A good option is to only buy what you need in bulk so the spice doesn’t sit and sit, or even better yet grind them yourself as you need them. Now not all of us need to be chefs, so pre-ground spices will do the trick, but one of the biggest surprises at the freezer meal workshops I teach, is how much of each spice is actually used to create each dish. If you can’t taste the spice then you haven’t got enough in it.  

Pay attention while you spice. You always see TV chef’s tasting their food while they’re cooking. As you toss in a little of this and a little of that, be sure to keep checking the flavour to see what you’ve accomplished. If you’ve added too much cayenne pepper, for example, there’s no turning back! It’s easier to add a bit more than to take a spice out. 

Salt is another one we tend to overdo. Cooking with salt isn’t as prevalent as it used to be but we still like to salt meats to bring out the flavour, and add salt to water when making pasta, potatoes or eggs. Be careful though, salt isn’t just in the salt shaker. Salt can be found as an ingredient in many other spices as well. So if you’re using salt (even kosher salt) and you’re also adding a blend of another favourite spice, be sure to know what ingredients are listed so you don’t salt and then re-salt. Too much salt, just like too much cayenne pepper, is hard to remedy. Your only real option to salvage the soup is to make a bigger batch. Add more liquid and likely you’ll need to add more of other ingredients as well to balance it out. 

My husband has trained me on the importance of pepper. And make no mistake, it's not the dusty dry pepper in a random salt and pepper duo shaker. It has to be fresh ground pepper/peppercorns in a pepper grinder. Adding pepper gives a bit of kick to your menu and grinding the pepper as you need it ensures the true flavour and edge that you were looking for. 

While we are on the fresh topic, let's chat herbs. I have noticed more people than ever are growing their own fresh herbs. How amazing to be able to cut off a fresh flavourful sprig of your favourite herbs and toss them in with your dish? Fresh herbs are always going to be more flavourful, more colourful and of course make the meal smell amazing. 

If you’re cooking with fresh versus dry herbs there is a secret to success. Fresh herbs can be added right at the end, they are flavourful already and don’t need a lot of cooking to pull the flavours out. Dried herbs need more time, so toss them in at the beginning. 

Lemon juice is a welcome addition to chicken in my repertoire, especially to add a bit of tang to sauces and a surprise to a meat dish. For seafood lovers (not me) it can help bring out the flavours in their favourite dish. Adding lemon to veggies also brings out their natural flavours especially in things like asparagus and surprisingly beets. Strong flavours ,and even subtle flavours, can get a boost with fresh squeezed lemon or citrus added.

My secret ingredient in many of my dishes is citrus zest. Add lemon or lime zest in a fresh salsa and it makes such a difference. It adds a strength and a freshness that can’t be matched by anything else.

I had a roommate in college who loved to experiment with food and she taught me to imagine the end result and then find creative ways to get there. More often than not it worked. If you aren’t sure what’ll work, experiment, but remember to taste as you go, so that if you’re seasoning is taking your dish in the wrong direction you can catch it quick and make the adjustments. 

YangQi Foods has focused on top quality seasoning seafood products for over 8 years in China. As a global supplier in the sushi seafood, seasoning seafood products, YangQi foods is to create added value for customers around the world., but now have become one of the leading suppliers in the seasoning seafood industry in China.

Besides our existing molded products, We also can produce OEM products according to the requirement from our customers. We control the product quality critically for every step during the manufacturing from raw materials procurement to finished product testing. We offer technical support that is second to none. …


 

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