Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cheater's Way

Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten ("The Barefoot Contessa"), and Rachael Ray were cooking together on a talk show. Each of them topped their dishes with copious fistfuls of parmesan cheese.
http://media.mnn.com/sites/default/files/user-2855/gnocchi_cheese.jpg
Besides for my annoyance at this traifening of potentially kosher meat dishes, I consider parmesan cheese to be the cheater's way out of cooking. Let's be honest: Shredded cardboard would taste fabulous if flavored with that much cheese.

When watching true chefs, like Jacques Pépin (Fast Food My Way, Essential Pépin) and my newly discovered runner-up, Michael Smith (Chef at Home), parmesan rarely gets any screen time. They concoct supreme deliciousness without relying on—in my opinion—the cheater's way out by adding unnecessary sodium and calories.

I am equally unwelcoming to soy sauce, in which one tablespoon contains at least one-third of the daily value of sodium. The reduced version brings it down to one-quarter. 
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MGTR5poONHU/UMfvOA8c-MI/AAAAAAAAAUY/RtA3V8LyDQc/s1600/kikkoman+low+sodium+soy+sauce.jpg
Via guymeetswok.blogspot.com
Food does not have to be salty, fatty, or cheesy in order to dance upon the tip of the tongue. It does require a little technique, an awareness of what general flavors work well together, a willingness to learn, and a dash of patience. Sometimes one even discovers an easier, yet tastier, way of doing things.

Example: For years, Ma would mince onions before sautéing, which can be a hassle. But from Laura Calder (French Food at Home), not even one of her usual quotable television chefs, she learned that simply slicing the onions thinly—into half-moons—results in a different, yet heavenly result. 
http://ohmyveggies.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/thinly_sliced_onions_close.jpg
Via ohmyveggies.com
She also found out that by mixing a serious spoonful of paprika (regular and smoked) into the oil gives her staple paprikás fabulous flavor. 
https://www.eurofooddeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/SZEGED-HUNGARIAN-PAPRIKA-MILD.jpg
Ma is a fan of shortcuts; it could be said, even, that she often cheats. But her cheats results in succulent, yet nourishing, meals.   

2 comments:

Mr. Cohen said...

Considering how much Princess Lea knows about cooking and nutrition, she sounds like she could make a good wife.

Why has no man married her yet?

Princess Lea said...

Now THAT is the question . . .