SHORTER SHOPPING LISTS
All the recipes use the same ingredients and herbs and spices. You won’t load your spice cabinet with stuff you’ll never use again.
NO RESETTING OVEN TEMPERATURE
So many of these dishes are baked, so we keep the oven at the same temperature for them all. No turning it up and down for each new dish.
MAKE THEM DAYS AHEAD
Most of these recipes can be made 3-4 days in advance, leaving you plenty of time to decorate and set the table. Or focus on cooking the turkey.
MIES EN PLACE
French for “everything in place” is not just for cooking shows. Gather all your ingredients, then chop, mince and slice, putting everything in bowls ready to go. Always prep before you start cooking.
DRY OR FRESH HERBS
Use whichever you choose. Dry herbs have more intense flavor for winter meals. Fresh herbs are milder, often with a completely different flavor than their dry versions, with a brighter, fresh taste. Fresh are more expensive and it takes more to add the same flavor.
A RIOT OF FLAVORS
When you put everything in the pot at the same time, it all cooks together and tastes good. When you add ingredients at different stages in the cooking process you add layers of flavor that taste great.
SALT AND PEPPER
Fresh vegetables need salt. For flavor and to cook properly. A good general rule is to salt and pepper each ingredient as you add it. If your stock has salt in it, cut down the salt on your vegetables. As the stock reduces in cooking, its salt is more concentrated.
PEPPER AND NUTMEG
Sometimes it just has to be fresh ground. That’s the case with pepper and nutmeg. Ground black pepper has no flavor. Nutmeg in those tiny tins in the back of the cupboard tastes nasty. If you can’t grind these fresh, leave them out.
BIGGER POTS AND PANS
A small stove and oven restricts the size of the pots and pans you use. Big skillets allow enough space for meat or vegetables to cook with space between, so they brown better and don’t just steam. Large pots not only allow you to cook more, the larger surface area over the heat source makes food cook better, even taste better.
SAUTÉ HERBS WITH THE ONIONS
Mix your dried herbs and spices in a small bowl and add them all together for even distribution. Always sauté your onions until transparent, then stir the spices into the onion. It seems to intensify the flavor.
Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami, a taste sensation that is meaty or savory and is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides. Umami is found in fish, mushrooms, ketchup, Parmesan, vinegar, spinach, celery, etc. It makes every savory dish taste better.
COVERED OR UNCOVERED
Cooking with the lid on keeps the liquids in, recirculating the steam. Good for steamed dumplings, vegetables and poaching fish. Cooking with the lid off allows browning in the oven and on the stove because the liquid escapes. Reducing stock or wine intensifies the flavor.