Welcome to my Talk-About-It-Tuesday! Today we’re keeping it light and talking about what we see in food (the good, the bad, the yummy!). Not the politics, controversies…or statistics. Just simply what may be appealing to us and why. I hope you’ll join in the conversation and share with us just what attracts you to certain foods (and perhaps what actually tastes great, but looks lousy or visa versa). And please feel free to share ideas you are cooking up.
LOOKS are important when it comes to food. We often eat with our eyes. And when choosing foods, we often do the same. Isn’t more pleasing to see a colorful dish, rather than bland. That is probably why chefs often garnish with splashes of color. And lucky for us, fruits and veggies can add in some great color, texture and appeal to our dishes. So join the healthified wagon and serve up some good looking food. Easier said than done, right?
Good looks can fade (so learn how to keep them bright or make ‘em rich in color)
It may be a good idea to add in the goodness of those colorful whole foods (leafy greens, red cherry tomatoes, orange, yellow and red bell peppers, green fluffy broccoli…); and all the better if you (select, prepare and) cook ‘em right. Overcooking causes color to fade and the otherwise bright, appealing look of lightly steamed broccoli can become more the color of a lima bean and wilted if overdone. However, roasting tomatoes with a little olive oil and some good seasoning at low heat for an hour can make them caramel-y and rich in TASTE and color.
Good Taste, Poor Look (flavor often comes in line with a great look, but this isn’t always the case)
Pairing can be fun, especially if you vary it up. I’ve paired many a vegetable with my proteins (fish, chicken, tofu) and have come up with delightful combinations like broccoli, roasted tomatoes and grilled fish with a light seasoned rice vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil – or – like yesterday, I combined broccoli, corn, fresh tomatoes and avocado with brown rice topped with a mixture of pomegranate and sweet mustard sauce and thinly sliced bell peppers*. It was surprisingly delish.
*I got the inspiration from a pork loin recipe calling for mustard and fruit preserves (like a strawberry jam). The gourmet brown mustard sauce and pomegranate sauce were the closest to those two ingredients and worked quite well. But the color of the sauce looked too “blaw brown” on camera. So I retook the pic without the rice dish (although I enjoyed the flavors of whole combo together).
Q: Have you ever had something that tasted absolutely divine, but looked awful? (That may be stretching it, but have you ever had something that tasted good, but it’s looks not so appealing?)
Cooking inspired (I get by with a little help from my friends)
Sometimes we need a little INSPIRATION from our friends with a passion for cooking, restaurant dishes and magazines to keep our dishes lively and tasteful. Because just piling on the food because it is good for you, doesn’t mean you’ll like it, or eat it. And every now and then its nice to get a fresh new idea like capers, olives and basil to season up roasted tomatoes, like a new favorite dish of mine. Or this healthified curried chicken salad that looks amazing!
And when we get a combo just right, it is amazing. I’ve been experimenting with a non-dairy cream sauce to top over pasta or chicken. So far the taste is good, sweetness from the caramelized onions and a nice little kick from the garlic with some savory thyme. The problem is photographing a light caramel sauce over the yellow/white of pasta leaves something of a bland look. So I’ve added in some thinly sliced, slightly grilled red bell peppers to the pot. While I remain unsettled with this recipe, I know I’m on the verge of something tasteful and delicious. So I will keep on experimenting.
Here’s my work in progress. (Don’t you just love the chicken man ceramic painting above my stove? When I start to get too serious in the kitchen, I look up and it makes me laugh.):
Q: What interesting ideas are you cooking up?