A few days ago I was cooking some liver in a pan. My idea was to make some fried onions and fried apple halves to go with it. I wanted all of the flavors to combine, but alas the end result was that each ingredient did not inherit the flavors of the other.
What I did was start cooking the onions first, and then I took them off the stove and began the liver separately. I did this because I had a small pan and I didn't want the liver to over cook if I started cooking it with the onions since onions can take a while to become nice and brown. When the liver was almost cooked nicely, I put in the onions that were already mostly cooked and I put the apple in to add some flavor (in retrospect the apples should have been given more time since they did not soften up like I wanted).
My chef friend saw me doing this and after we tried my liver and onions he said that I should have used a non-stick pan because it keeps the flavor from going away. Also he said that I should have cooked the two items together from the start--instead of what I did, which was combining them for the last few minutes.
I had since done some experimenting and I have found that a non-stick pan definitely helps with keeping the flavor. Though, I also noticed that using cooking oil helps to transfer the flavor between ingredients and it seems to do this better than water.
That being said, I'd really like to know how flavor transfers. How can I ensure that when I'm cooking the flavors will mix instead of my first liver dish? Tidbits, tricks, and advice :).