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39

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 ...


25

Determine correct ratio of food to salt. Add more food until proper ratio is achieved. Or just serve extra beer with it.


23

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 ...


21

I sometimes add a bit of lemon juice... works to a degree.


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 ...


19

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 ...


17

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 ...


16

For pastas at least, the noodles have a chance to absorb more flavor directly into the bland noodles. Same with potatoes in stews. If the dish cools and is then reheated, more water is lost into the air. This effectively reduces the dish and intensifies flavors.


15

Slice a raw potato and add it to the over-salted sauce. As it cooks it'll draw in the salty liquid. You may need to add more liquids to keep the sauce from drying out.


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. ...


15

Cream usually takes the edge off of spiciness, but it depends on the type of spice, and obviously on whether you can add anything creamy to the dish. For Thai food (for example) if you request that the curry be mild, they'll just dump in some more coconut milk.


15

Yes, it is different. Two things happen: the dissolved oxygen boils out, and whatever mineral solids are in there become concentrated as steam evaporates.


15

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 ...


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 ...


14

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 ...


14

It may not seem intuitive but adding salt is usually a better way to reduce bitterness than adding sugar. I would also suggest that you do not sauté your garlic until burnt as that will add a quite unpleasant bitterness. Sauté until fragrant.


13

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 ...


13

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). ...


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 ...


12

I personally like Greek-style yogurt as a salad dressing. YMMV.


12

Good practice is to under-season food when cooking and adjust the seasoning at the end if necessary. It's very difficult to fix over-seasoned food at the end of cooking, and excess salt is also bad for your health.


12

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, ...


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

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. ...



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