November 17, 2008

Taste and adjust without double dipping

I made Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard and meatballs for dinner tonight. The meatballs were frozen from a previous meal so it was quick. It tasted better than ever because I am becoming more of a taster than just following a recipe and relying on someone else’s taste buds. A couple of changes from the original recipe ---- rather than using ground cumin, I toasted maybe a tablespoon of cumin seeds in a skillet and then ground them up in using a mortar and pestle. I also added about 2 tablespoons of sumac to the soup and not just use a few sprinkles as a garnish. And I tasted frequently while I added the sumac and salt.

Now for double dipping. If you sneak a peek around the corner of your kitchen door, you will see cooks taste with a spoon and then surreptitiously put the same spoon back in to taste again. That’s like double dipping with the same tortilla chip into the salsa after you have eaten half of it. If the cooks know they are being watched, they are likely to use a clean spoon each time they taste which uses up all the silverware before dinner.

Try this method. Hold your tasting spoon in one hand and use the stirring spoon, spatula, or whatever to drop the portion to be tasted into the spoon. You can use the same spoon over and over without grossing out your family and friends. And you can add seasonings until you think it is just right.