Ok, I know this thread is supposed to be about gourmet top notch food but I have a different type of challenge for you, that I'm hoping you'll give a go...
...Taco Bell is the one and only fast food place I go to whenever I get the chance. the closest one to me is 30 minutes away but I go because I love it that much lol. I've made tacos and burritos at home often but I just can NOT seem to recreate the flavor. I've even bought the little taco bell season packs at the market and still not the same. So, my challenge for you is to recreate the seasoning blend used on the chicken at taco bell. after you've perfected your peking duck of course.
I haven't had time to recreate the seasoning blend yet. But I did order two chicken products from Taco Bell, the Chicken Burrito Supreme, and the Spicy Chicken Soft Taco. They had completely different flavor profiles. I ate each slowly, taking notes on the spices and herbs I could taste. The following is the result of my deconstruction.
Chjicken Burrito and Taco Filling (the same filling is used in both):
6 oz. tomato paste
2 tbs. mild chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
In the burrito, add shredded lettuce, diced tomato, 3 tbs refried beans, 1 tbs. sour cream, 3 tbs. shredded medium cheddar cheese, 2 tbs. diced yellow onion.
Spicey Chicken Filling
2 cups chicken dark meat, shredded
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. red pepper (cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp. hot chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
To the soft taco add: diced yellow onion, shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
shredded medium cheddar cheese, diced tomato.
As I said, these won't get you the exact flavor you are looking for, but they will get you close. You will simply need to play a bit with the amounts of the herbs and spices. The listed varieties should match what TB uses.
Goodweed's Burrito and Taco filling:
2 well done chicken breasts, cooked over flaming charcoal, diced ( Do not over cook as this chicken must be juicy).
2 splashes (about 2 tbs.) lime juice
1/4 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Cobine diced chicken and the remaining ingredients in a hot cast iron, or other heavy fryig pan. Heat until the onions are sweet, but not too tender. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, diced tomato, your favorite Mexican Cheese, and fresh corn tortillas that have been softened in hot oil, then drained on paper towels. Some salsa would be good with this also, and some slices of fresh avocado.
And jsut for the record, if done well, any style of food can be considered gourmet. I would certainly put these in that category. The secret that seperates gourmet from ordinary is the quality of the ingredients used, the attention to detail, making everthing the best it can be, and presentation.
At a campfire, in the middle of the woods, properly done s'mores, after a meal of brook trout, pan fried to perfection, seasoned with salt, and a bit of lemon, is as gourmet as anything you would find in a 5-star restaurant.
Gourmet isn't necessarily caviar and truffles. It can be hen of the woods and grouse just as easily, or shaggy meins with garlic flavored spaghetti noodles.
French fries, when paired properly, and presented appropriately is as gourmet as Potatoes Anna. It just depends on the situation.
Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North