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38

In general, it is a good idea to go light on spices when trying a new recipe, if you're not intimately familiar with the flavor and spice combinations in question. It's a great deal easier to add spice later than it is to mask it once you've added too much. Assuming you are reading this because you didn't do that, and have now ended up with a sauce that's ...


22

It has long been known that receptacles influence the taste and appreciation of beverages. Wine glasses, for example, are optimal for giving the nose an opportunity to experience the wine. They enclose a volume that allows you to swish the wine in the glass (without spilling it) to impart the aroma to air in the glass. The usually tapered opening keeps the ...


21

There are a variety of factors at work here: Freezing foods "improperly" (i.e. not flash-frozen, not vacuum-sealed) causes ice crystals to form within the food, damaging the molecular structures. This is what causes many frozen leftovers to become "mushy" or change in texture. Again due to the formation of ice and the movement of water when the food is ...


20

One thing that my mother suggested to me when I first started getting interested in learning to cook beyond blindly following a recipe was that I try making scrambled eggs with one single spice in them to see how that flavor affects the taste of something I know well. It's actually a pretty good way to train your tastebuds to understand what flavor a ...


20

I would assume that this depends highly on the exact source of the aroma/smell. One extreme is the highly volatile components of essential oils found in many fruits, berries, spices and herbs, which are the main source of their respective aromas or smells. It is easily observed that especially spices and dried herbs loose their aroma over time, which is ...


18

This is a really difficult topic to approach, and I think the only reliable way to identify flavours is through years and years of practice using those flavours in your cooking. To start with, I think the easiest thing to do would be to understand the different types of flavours. Those are: Sweet Everybody knows this one. Sweet is the taste of sugar, ...


18

Cooking causes certain chemical reactions within the food being cooked, many of which produce (and consume) compounds which have various flavours. I don't know the real specifics, but I can outline why your two cases are different, and you can verify it visually. If you take a potato, cut it up and boil it, it stays pale. The texture changes to become much ...


15

@Adam A is close -- it's not an issue of surface area on potency, it's an issue of damage to the garlic. The 'strong' taste of garlic comes from a reaction as chemicals are released so they can mix (alliin and alliinase) When you cook the garlic whole (as you would for roasted garlic), you will never get this reaction, as you'll break down the chemicals. ...


14

In the Good Eats episode "Stew Romance", Alton Brown says See, as gelatin cools, it moves from a suspended colloidal state to a gel state, which if concentrated, can be quite strong. [...] And that is why our meat gets pretty hard when it cools down. Now, what’s really interesting, though, is that once gelatin has reached the gel state, it ...


14

It sounds like most of those ingredients came out of metal cans, yes? Certainly the spinach and carrots, and I imagine the beans, tomato paste, and possibly the apple sauce? Canned foods do sometimes have a slight metallic taste, especially if you don't use them all at once and continue to store them in the can after opening it: (about.com) However, I ...


13

The Umami information Center has a list of Umami-rich foods along with natural concentrations of glutamate. I've copied some of their list below (included some meats for comparison) in case the link disappears (concentration number is mg glutamate/100g food). There's also some information at the above link about how to prepare the foods to maximize the ...


13

Green peppers are green because they are unripe. Unripe fruits and vegetables are naturally more bitter and less sweet than ripe ones. By far the easiest/laziest path is to just use a red pepper. It's essentially the same food, just ripe. Sugar won't really do anything to the bitterness other than mask it. Salt will. Khymos has written that in parts of ...


13

There is a difference between a full rolling boil and a slow boil, but it's not really what you're suggesting. At a rolling boil, the water is mixing well enough that effectively it's all at 100°C. At a slow boil, it's really only boiling at the bottom, with bubbles floating up from there, so most of the water is actually a bit below 100°C. This difference ...


13

Summary for the Quick Reader Only the shape and size of the grains really makes a difference. Otherwise, salt is salt. What makes a difference between salts? There are only two real differentiators between different types of salt (assuming the product is essentially just salt, and not a seasoning blend): The mineral or other impurities resulting from ...


12

I've noticed that salty food has somewhat of an addictive quality; people who eat a lot of it (i.e. fast food or other processed food) tend to bury their meals under a mountain of salt, whereas people such as myself who do a lot of home cooking hardly use (or want) any. "Season to taste" means pretty much what it sounds like; add however much salt (and ...


12

I don't know about brands, but there are six different types. Hot, Hungarian, Plain, Smoked, Spanish, Sweet. Paprika releases its flavor with heat, but burns easily. So mix it in with liquid, and make sure it gets hot. Sprinkled onto a cold dish (like deviled eggs), it remains quite bland. Add it to browned hamburger meat, and you're halfway to taco ...


12

You don't specify that you're looking for a natural source, so consider that Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is basically nothing but a concentrated dose of umami (which is defined by a relatively high level of L-Glutamates). It's not too difficult to find, especially if there's a bulk food store near you. You can also find it marketed as Accent seasoning (MSG ...


12

Fresh seafood shouldn't be overly "fishy". It's generally older seafood that will get a stronger "fishy" smell and flavour. That said, there are 3 approaches to a "less fishy" result: Absorb/reduce fishiness: you can always try something like soaking it in milk (which you can then save to use for a fishy bechamel when your sister isn't dining with you). ...


12

In this part of the world, around the rim of the mediterranean, olive oils is very definitely used to dress a salad. This is not usually done by emulsifying everything in a shaker though. Generally, the salad is seasoned with salt and pepper, then drizzled generously with olive oil and a little lemon juice or good wine/balsamic vinegar. This allows the ...


12

No, it's not true. It will not change the way they cook. Noodle cooking times vary by what they're made out of and by thickness, not by the length of the noodles. The kids and I seem to prefer eating shorter noodles and dodging the hassle of spinning the noodles, but when there's company over we tend to do it the classic "right" way. No difference in taste. ...


11

There are two components to flavor: aroma and taste. The wonderful smells you get are the volatiles of the ingredients you have been cooking, and while they add a lot to dishes, aromas are just part of what makes food enjoyable. One also needs to worry about taste, and that may be the missing part. When I decided to improve my cooking three years ago I was ...


11

Salting food has a predictable trajectory. Think of it like a roller-coaster. /\ At first it's not great, then it's great, then it's not great again. Food with no salt will taste one-dimensional and flat. The flavors will not "pop". Add a little salt and the taste of a dish will start to both integrate and become more complex. With the perfect ...


11

A flavoring extract is flavoring disolved in alcohol, while a flavoring emulsion is flavoring suspended in water with an emulsifier. Citrus oils like lemon have a stronger flavor when placed in an emulsion than an extract, and that is why they often come that way. (source) As far as uses go, bakery emulsions keep the incorporated flavors more stable while ...


11

Although the fat may add some flavor to the soup it also changes the mouthfeel. Instead of having a nice clear broth soup which is light and refreshing the fat in the soup with coat your mouth leaving a greasy feeling and taste. I cant be completely sure but if you were using the chicken thigh to just add flavor and not leave the meat in the soup you could ...


11

Many leafy and dark green vegetables have high tannic and dicarboxylic (including oxalic) acid levels. Though these are weak acids, they have a powerful astringent effect. Some of the main tricks to hiding and/or removing these are soaking in: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C, lemon juice) Fats Food grade lime Milk So if your smoothy is milk based you will be ...


10

MiracleWhip, of course... If it's just the taste of the oil that bothers you, you can easily make your own mayo using whatever oil you wish. A cheap extra-virgin olive oil makes a delicious mayonnaise, IMHO. Otherwise, use vinegar. It's a great general-purpose condiment, can be flavored easily, and there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Naturally, ...


10

The advantage would be cutting some sodium out of your diet. If you are like many in the western part of the world, you probably get more than your daily allotment of sodium regularly. By making sure to cut sodium where you can, you gain the health benefits of a well-balanced diet. Since salt is a flavor enhancer, a low-sodium diet can often seem bland. ...


10

You can cut the apple cider with some apple cider vinegar. Adding a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar to 1 cup of apple cider should do the trick. You can also add a bit of mustard seed, whole or ground to give it some heat that can help combat the sweetness. I wouldn't add more than a pinch of ground mustard or a half tsp of whole seeds. I use this ...


10

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think there is anything you can do to remove that flavor. It sounds like what is often described as "scorched" flavor. In restaurants, that is well known as the one flavor you can't mask, you just have to dump the whole batch and move on. You can feel free to take a shot at masking it with acid (lemon, ...


10

I've noticed that most of that lamb flavor comes from where the lamb is raised. I have the opposite taste, I look for the distinct lamb flavor. I avoid American lamb and go for imported (AU/NZ) lamb because of this. You should look for lamb raised in the USA or Canada, it is generally much milder. If you're already buying that type here are some things to ...



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