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Old 09-06-2006, 06:36 AM   #11
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Fresh herbs are a very good way to go. I think you are on the right track. My husband's german cousin, Lee, stayed with us for four months last year, she is 22 and had a very limited palate...but she did like salt and pepper. By the end of her stay she was ordering curry with the best of them and, joy, of joy, was learning to cook with me! Her mother loves me now!!

Flavour can be very gentle. Lee told me that the biggest culinary shock was her first meal with us, in fact in the salad that accompanied some very basic grilled (US broiled) chicken. It was a normal mixed salad, with a couple of nectarines chucked in, a huge bunch of flat leaf parsley and orange juice squeezed over it as dressing. She had never had fruit or big amounts of herb in a savary salad, and ate i only to be polite, but found herself loving it. I think if you serve one thing with a little more flavour than usual with something comfortingly bland, and separate...like meat with a sauce and mash, then the island of flavour might me dealt with more easily. And go for flavour rather than spice. Maybe pork stuffed with prunes and apples....no heat there but flavour, with a gentle flavoured meat. Does she have a sweet tooth? Maybe uop the flavour in puddings so that her "flavour" sense is woken ... so a very gently spiced apple pie rather than a plain one, or take the flavours in ways that she will like but not find frightening.
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by college_cook
C- As for cooking with wines and spirits, normally the beverage is reduced, and the actual alcohol it contains is cooked out of the dish, leaving the flavor of the alchol, but no actual alcohol.
Unfortunately, alcohol never cooks entirely out and a good deal of it remains in most cooked dishes. So if he is anti-alcohol, that may be a problem.

Here's a handy Alcohol Burn Off CHart

Brining chicken and pork will make it more savory, as well as jucier.

In addition to sweet, salty, sour and bitter, there is a fifth taste called "umami." It's our palate's detection of savory flavors. Umami is the sensation caused by the presence of free glutamate in food. By using ingredients that boost the "umami-factor," if you will, in your foods you can make them tastier and more interesting. Utilizing ingredients like soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, parmesan and other hard cheeses, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallops and cured ham will make your dishes more savory.

Add a few drops of soy sauce or worcestershire to sauces and dressings or your brine. Make a bechemel sauce with gruyere or other hard cheeses. Add tomato paste to a pan sauce. ETC ETC.

Also, adding a small amount of MSG to food achieves a similar result. IMO MSG gets an unecessarily bad rap. I use small amounts of it all the time, using Sazon Goya.

READ MORE ABOUT UMAMI HERE
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:14 PM   #13
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the flavors you are getting are salt and fat. What you are craving is aromatics (onion garlic celery various peppers) herbs (thyme, rosemary, taragon, sage, bay, parsley etc) spices (pepper, cumin, coriander, tumeric, curry of some type etc) and acids (citrus, wine, vinegars).

well, you can cook chicken in herbs and vinegar (balsamic) for yourself and in cream soup with mixed veggies over rice for the wife. share...see if little by little the menu can't be enlarged. Many dishes with flavor aren't hard to make: Pork chop rubbed with garlic and sage, broiled or sauteed. Lamb chop with rosemary and garlic. Also, chicken (for exmaple) cooked on the bone with skin is very moist and tasty, and no more fatty than in a sauce loaded with cream and starch maybe even less.

However, you may be "cursed" to making separate meals, or only getting satisfied when you eat out. So remember, the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce balsamic vinegar and hot sauce can be added to your own plate and help.
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
IMO MSG gets an unecessarily bad rap.
I could not agree more with this statement. MSG is great stuff when used properly. It can really add that needed umami sometimes.
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:37 PM   #15
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I understand completely, BD. Mr HB and his family are notorious for their bland and 'standard' food diet.

It used to be very difficult for me but gradually, I began to add marinades, fresh herbs and spices. I got so frustrated for awhile that I would just cook what I wanted and it he didn't want to eat it, he could make a pb&j. He started tasting more ( ...lazy) and finding out that he actually enjoyed it.

He's still not a hot pepper person but I can deal with with that. I plate his food and add spices to mine.

I still do adjust some meals for him...because I'm sweet!
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
I could not agree more with this statement. MSG is great stuff when used properly. It can really add that needed umami sometimes.
Like in your Vodka Martinis, GB?

And Big Dog, maybe try recipes that have more natural flavors? Things that are well seared or carmelized come to mind.

John
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjohn55
Like in your Vodka Martinis, GB?
Who says alcohol kills brain cells? ronjohns memory is sharp as ever
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:58 PM   #18
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I have never heard MSG promoted before...and you have intrigued me. How and when do you advocate its use? Don't you get the "dry horrors" after using it?
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Old 09-06-2006, 01:07 PM   #19
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I have found that most people have a psycosymatic response to MSG if they have one at all. I will group myself in with those people as well. For the longest time I only heard how MSG was bad for you and how it could cause all these symptoms. I was convinced that I was getting headaches from it anytime I ate Chinese food. I finally realized it was all in my head when I started finding out that most of the Chinese food I was eating was made without MSG.

I did some research at that point and found out that MSG really is safe and does not generally cause any of these negative things that the media has been telling us it does.

That is not to say that some people do not truely have an adverse reaction to it. Some people really are allergic to it, but the number of people who are is quite small compared to the number who think they do.

I buy it in the supermarket under the name "Accent". It is in the isle with the salt. I add it after cooking usually. For instance, last night I made chicken soup from a box (gasp). I was sick and couldnt think of eating anything else. I had a box (for occasions just like this) in the cupboard. I made the soup and poured myself a bowl. The soup tasted pretty flat so I sprinkled in so MSG. It gave it that lip smacking goodness that I was looking for.
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Old 09-06-2006, 01:15 PM   #20
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I agree with everything GB said.

I use Sazon Goya, a seasoning found in the Hispanic section of most large supermarkets. It comes in a number of varieties and has other things in it (achiote, saffron, cilantro, tomato, etc) but contains MSG. I use a very small pinch in a whole lot of things I cook and no one is the wiser for it and no one has reacted. To my palate there is a very definite flavor boost with even a very small amount of MSG. It has to do with the whole umami thing I posted about above.

I also mash up anchovies and add them to things in small quantities as well.

I am sure that if I didn't use Sazon Goya or anchovies in dishes that I ordinarily use them in, people would say that it's missing something.

But I also think that if I told them that I used MSG or anchovies that they might .

So shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It's my secret.
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