The best of the best
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So /ck/, I've been cooking all my life with substandard tools and have never given much thought to how awful they were until I cooked at my rich friend's house the other day.
Well recently, I got a new job and can afford a few of the finer things.
I ask you, what brands or sets are considered to be the crème de la crème of knives, cookware, and other kitchen instruments? Or at least high tier/cost effective. I want to make sure I'm getting my money's worth and not overpaying just for branding.
Would you guys recommend any japanese knife sets?
Flavor Cheat Codes
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Cooking (at least cooking savory things that don't involve baking/leavening ingredients or food science techniques) as a whole is mostly a skill that doesn't rely on formulaic recipes but instead a feel for how something should taste, what it's lacking, and how to fix it.
The overall goal is to have a balance of flavors, but having something that ends up being too balanced is also not particularly delicious or memorable.. Therefore you need to have a single thing, or a combination of multiple things that form a coherent focal point, stick out.
You can accentuate the desired flavors by manipulating the basal taste sensations, which are sweetness/acid/salt/fat. "umami" is intentionally left out because i'll get to that later.
anyway, here are the flavor cheat codes:
pure maple syrup is easily the most versatile way to apply sweetness to anything.. everything from grits to pan sauces to marinades, salad dressings, glazes, whatever.
honey is a distant second but not really comparable.
sherry vinegar can be added to literally (L I T E R A L L Y) anything that tastes ok but not spectacular and it will make it taste spectacular; it's the thing you've always needed but never knew you weren't using.
salt, obviously. kosher salt.. kosher salt and also cured meats can work really well to achieve the same goal.
soy sauce/tamari is a close second, followed by miso as a slightly less versatile soy variation.
butter. butter is definitely the most superior form of fat. i mean, there are tons of great plant oils out there that have specific uses as well as tons of animal fats/tallow, but butter is hands down the most useful of them all.
discuss, and add to the list if you have any suggestions.