Do you notice when your dishes are mild or spicy? Somedays more one that the other. I see the personality of people in the dishes they create. Generally, I prefer to cook a simple group of ingredients and focus on the technique of the cooking method to make them shine. But lately, especially when I am cooking for Mike Duhon (our pastry and gastronomy teacher in the Pro-course) I step out of my comfort zone of simple tastes.
Braising is my favorite method to add complexity. It is the perfect method for building long, slow, deep and complex flavors and tastes. The first step uses oil to seal the edges of the primary element. Once the metal has its way with fire and food, the intensification has begun. Now the choice of liquids, salts, herbs and spices provides the primary element’s road map. And the story begins to unfold over time, with or without a lid. Being a simple, zen-like cook most of the time, a braised dish punctuates my plate and palette.
Grinding my own masalas (spice mix) and having a myriad of cooking liquids on hands helps. These are the bold days. Usually its when I awake and stand straight first thing in the morning. Spanish guitar music helps too.