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Fun With Flavors…

November 21, 2014

Hey All…

Hope you liked the knife skills blog post…  While I’m working on the follow up, I had a thought this morning in the shower…  Check it out…   (Keep your eyes peeled for the knife skills/mushroom soup post…  My wife and I took videos and pics to share showing correct knife usage, and demonstrating mise en place…   good soup we shared with a group of friends)

So, I brought up playing with flavors in the “A Bit About Me” post.  I think I’ve figured a good starting point that’s familiar to everyone.  I’ve been playing around with different profiles of herbs and spices on this one since I was a teenager…    What is it?

Thousand Island Dressing.

OK…  Here’s the way I see it…  Thousand Island is basically 2 parts mayonnaise to one part ketchup (catsup?) whisked together in a bowl with some sweet pickle relish to taste…  I mean this is the basic of the basics…  3 condiments we all have in the fridge stirred and served…  I dare you to try this…  It’s really good…

But where’s the fun in that you ask?   Think ADD-ONS…  Do you like your food tangy?  You could add lemon juice or your favorite vinegar…  Like spicy?  Add some of your favorite hot sauce…  Tobasco?  Tapatia?  Sriracha?  Tried ‘em all and they’re all tasty in their own way…  My partner and I at Wokstar actually made the dipping sauce for our pot-sticker appetizer with a 1000 Island base…  Asians didn’t go for it much, but the Hawaiian locals and Maui visitors raved about it…  Can you pick out the right one below?

 Try combining more than 1 addition… 

  • Lemon and dill? Really good with fish…
  • Southwest? Add salsa, cumin, & red vinegar…  (Taco Salad Dressing)
  • Southeast? Rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha (maybe 2 drops of sesame oil in a small batch)
  • East Indian? Add some curry powder and coriander…   maybe some chili powder too if you like it hot !!
  • Thai? How about ginger, garlic, chili powder, coriander powder  and fish sauce?  A dip for egg rolls !!

(if you guessed “Southeast”, you’re right…  also lime, Mae Ploy sauce – find it in the Asian section of your grocery store), sherry, fresh scallion, garlic, ginger…)

 Try combining substitutes…

  • Maybe use chili sauce (right next to ketchup at the store) instead of ketchup and add some horseradish with a bit of lemon juice…  a twist on shrimp cocktail sauce?
  • Health conscious? Low or non-fat mayo could be the ticket… (watch out though…  sugar replaces fat in these products)

 Try adding texture…

  • As a teenager, I loved Crab Louie Salad at different restaurants over on the coast of Half Moon Bay or up in The City (San Francisco)… fresh salad greens with  lots of Dungeness Crab, hardboiled egg, tomato wedges, some sprinkled black olives, maybe some bacon bits…  but my favorite part of all was the kicked up 1000 Island…  So I decided one day,  in my 16th year, to create a 1000 Island sauce spiked with hot sauce, lemon, and shredded boiled egg…     YES  SHREDDED BOILED EGG !!!  (like deviled egg salad)

My high school friends and I used to meet Fridays for poker night… They used to gobble my 1000 Island with  shredded hard boiled egg up by just dipping Ritz crackers in it…  (WOW…  my mouth is watering just remembering those days…  it went really good with beer)

Ok, so I hope you get the picture here…  Start with something really basic…  Then try adding flavor combinations you might like…  Shoot, try buying some herbs and spices you’ve never tried, taste them alone first, and then see what you think might work…   It’s a great way to develop a good palate for flavors, building on your ability to decipher foods while you eat them so you can try to recreate them at home later…

The main thing to remember…  always start by adding just a little bit…  then taste…  if it needs a bit more, fine… add a little bit more…  The thing is, once it’s in there, you can’t take it out…  …too much salt?  You can’t take it out…  …too much Tobasco?  You can’t take it out…  too much cumin?  You get the picture…

I know I have tried and tossed hundreds of combinations of kicked up 1000 Island…  but it’s all part of the fun…  you just start with three things in the fridge…   then make it your own…I think I’ve had more successes in more recent years just from practice…  All good lessons learned !!

Hope this helped!!

Keep an eye out for the knife demonstration blog post coming soon !!

Hope to hear from you with your results on your mushroom soup and/or the 1000 Island surprise projects !!

Happy Heating !

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