One thing I have learned since diving into the adventure of cooking is how to critique my food. This may sound snobbish, but let’s be honest- I don’t really know what I’m talking about… but there are a few things that make good sense.
Be it on TV, cooking demonstrations, or just learning from an excellent home cook--- the perfect food is always about balancing what I like to call “the Trifecta.”
Now there are several different combos- but the point is balance.
Take my Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce- looking for Salt/Heat/Sweet. Salting- a little bit on each item you add to the pot (“layering the flavor” as they say) should provide you with the perfect salty fix by the time it’s ready to serve. For heat, ½ and ½ hot/sweet sausages, or for my ground turkey I like sprinkling in red pepper flakes to taste. For sweet- I am reminded of Chris’ Aunt Pam who adds bell pepper, or recently inspired by Adrienne Sanvos’ Spaghetti Sauce with carrots. Bell pepper and carrots have a natural sugar that is released when cooked that provides that sweet/savory thing you go for when cooking dinner.
Side note about carrots: why in the world did I ever buy the little mini carrots?! I guess it started in college- looking for a quick grab health snack. But buying the large natural carrots in bulk, dirt from the ground still visible, a 2 lb pack mind you AND they taste better! AND that whole bag for 68 cents?! AND they last as long as potatoes! Chris asked me the other day “is it just me or have we been eating more carrots lately?” It is true- I’m putting them in everything. It’s my wife-way of sneaking extra Vitamin A into his diet to keep his eyes nice and strong for all the reading he is doing in Seminary.
Back to the Trifecta!
A deep wine- looking for a perfect balance in sweet/bitter/spice.
A fruity dessert: tart/sweet/cream.
I’m always thinking what’s missing? An ice-cream sundae needs some crunch on top. My fire spiced chicken burger with sheep’s milk cheese needed some caramelized onions the other night. An aged wine needs bitter chocolate or an after dinner cheese.
Of course- overall when serving your meal you want to assess TASTE/PRESENTATION/CREATIVITY… alright- I stole that from Chopped, but it crosses my mind all the time when I’m “plating."
Please share some of your Trifecta Tricks in the kitchen. I’d love to hear. And for dinner tonight, be your own critic.