While most employee dining spaces are not open, at Guckenheimer we still want to make sure you’re eating well. To help, we’ve put together a few tips for creating great food at home to support you in your cooking endeavors!
Balance Your Flavors
The first tip for creating great food is to build up your understanding of flavor. Start tuning into the different flavor elements in a dish - the most satisfying dishes are often described as balanced, meaning they have a depth of flavor in which all the ingredients come together without one overpowering the other.
Think about five basic tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami) - dishes that are truly memorable and stand the test of time often include an element of each. If you’re ever standing over a pot and thinking, “this is missing something,” take a quick inventory of flavors - are you hitting the five tastes? Maybe a squeeze of lemon or bit of miso would give you what you’re looking for.
If that seems complicated, Chef and flavor expert, Samin Nosrat, simplifies the concept of flavor balancing by advocating that just four components - salt, fat, acid, and heat are needed to elevate a dish.
To get a better sense of flavor balancing and how to either counteract or enhance certain flavors, here’s a helpful guide!
While learning how to flavor balance may not happen overnight, once you learn this skill, it will change your cooking forever, offering you total freedom and confidence to cook without a recipe!
Add Some Contrast
Here is your next tip! Foods that are all one color and/or all one texture tend to be underwhelming. Since digestion actually begins when we see food, meals that look particularly appetizing help to kickstart the process. In fact, many chefs know that how a meal is presented is almost as important as the meal itself. If we think something looks delicious, we’re also more likely to think it’s delicious! Incorporating a few different colors in a meal not only increases your exposure to different phytonutrients, but adds an interesting contrast to a dish that primes you to enjoy it before you even take a bite.
Another way to add contrast and interest is through texture. Can you include at least two different textures in your dish - something crunchy, chewy, or creamy? Maybe you sprinkle some sunflower seeds over a soup or include a mix of raw and roasted vegetables in a salad. A meal that includes multiple textures tends to make it more enjoyable and, it turns out, we may actually absorb more nutrients from a meal we enjoyed.
Mise en Place
The last tip for cooking great food at home (and one of the first things chefs learn) is to mise en place or “put everything in its place.” This means you prep and measure out all ingredients you’ll need before you begin cooking. It may take some getting used to but this means you’ll know you have everything you need and it helps to make the cooking process smooth from start to finish.
While making great food takes practice, we hope these tips help you rock cooking at home. Check out our social media accounts, @guckenheimerusa for more tips and recipes you can try!