Proposing to get even better at something you already love, is a great way to start off the new year! It also happens to be a goal that all those around you can benefit from. The following five tips are steps that I have taken throughout my culinary journey, and have helped me improve significantly!
1. Eat Out
Though this may seem counter-intuitive, eating out, reading blogs, and/or strolling through Pinterest, all provide nuggets of inspiration for recipes we’d like to try in our home kitchens. The benefit of eating out, however, is the participation of all the senses (mouth-watering aromas, vibrant colors, sizzling, frying, steaming…). This is what makes specific food experiences stick in our minds, plus you get to try another interpretation of things you love to eat. It seems boring now that I am writing it down, but every time I dine out for Mexican food, I order the same three things: a cheese enchilada, a chili relleno, and a tamale – no rice, no beans. I appreciate essentially the same ingredients, presented completely differently, no matter where you go, and the experience has inspired my own versions of these classic dishes.
2. Experiment Fearlessly
I remember very specific culinary experiences – not all, of course, but many. In my early years of food exploration, this was how I began crafting recipes. My goal was to mimic certain techniques, while swapping ingredients, to those that I preferred. For example, many of our guests have raved about our Season’s Benedict, and find the absence of a traditional English muffin, refreshing. I may be the only person who doesn’t care for English muffins, but somehow, we have come to a compromise on a creative element (our “crouton”) that most would argue, is better.
I have had, and enjoyed Eggs Benedict dishes for as long as I can remember, but in my kitchen, it’s my way, and I invite you to feel the same way about your kitchen!
3. Read a Recipe in Entirety Before Beginning
I am almost too impatient for this step, almost. If it weren’t so important to do this, I would just jump in, but nothing is more frustrating than delving into the process of a recipe, only to find that you are missing a key element (an ingredient, parchment paper, a blender, whatever)! It is also important to know how long a recipe will take. I hate it when those “refrigerate overnight” or “allow to rest” instructions sneak up on me.
Take a moment. read it through, and if you are still inspired to take on a new challenge, do it!
4. Mise En Place
This step goes hand in hand with reading the entirety of a recipe. “Mise En Place”, translated from French is “Putting In Place”. The goal is to not only have the tools, equipment and ingredients on the counter, but that they are measured, and plugged in and ready to use. Even reaching across the kitchen for an unexpected call for a whisk, could be detrimental to a recipe. Plus, having everything together makes the imaginative feel like they are the star of their own cooking show 😊
5. Shop in Season
You might think it strange to see someone walking though the grocery store, in August, in a ski jacket. The same oddities ring true in the culinary world. If you select ingredients that are out of season, you will be working against yourself in the kitchen.
A week or two ago, a guest inquired about ordering a peach pie from us. January peach produce offers two options: canned or frozen, neither of which would be worthy of the Sweetest Season name. I asked him to check back in July, when an abundance of irresistible, free-stone peaches will emerge in Arizona.
The bottom line is, using seasonal ingredients to inspire your next shopping trip or recipe search, is definitely the way to go. There are so many benefits to shopping seasonally, including: significantly lower prices, superior flavor, color and texture, and abundant supply. It takes a simple stroll through your local grocery store, and a google search to begin learning how to utilize the best ingredients available to you.
Use these tips to get the ball rolling on your new culinary goals.
In the mean time, check #1 off your list by planning your next visit to Sweetest Season Artisan Eatery. Click HERE to view our online menu.
Thanks for reading, and have a sweet day!