Ever watch your favorite cooking show and think “I could do that,” but you never actually get around to trying? Too often, our jam-packed, everyday schedules interfere with our desire to try new and exciting challenges in the kitchen.
Whether it’s whipping up a new weeknight dish for the family or testing your skills at creating a culinary masterpiece, it can sometimes seem too daunting and time consuming to realize your true potential for greatness in the kitchen.
According to Claire Robinson, host of Food Network series “5 Ingredient Fix” and “Food Network Challenge,” unleashing your inner chef might be easier than you think, as she routinely demonstrates how a straightforward approach and use of simple, flavorful ingredients can help you shine at dinnertime with ease.
Robinson says that by combining fresh and seasonal foods with strategically added spices and flavorful ingredients, you can create delicious, yet simple dishes. She offers the following cooking tips on www.ShineatDinnertime.com to help home cooks unwrap their potential in the kitchen:
Keep a well-stocked pantry with flavorful ingredients. Whether its cayenne pepper or a bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, be sure to have items on hand that are versatile and add a variety of flavor notes to your favorite dishes.
Simple is usually better. When you find yourself adding multiple steps or ingredients to balance out flavors, you might be burying others. Step back, re-evaluate and simplify.
Taste, taste and taste again. Taste as often as you can when creating a recipe and make adjustments along the way. Remember, it’s much easier to add ingredients during the process than it is to make changes once the dish is already done.
Substitute ingredients in your favorite “go-to” recipes. Tailoring the recipes your family and friends love the most allows you to experiment with new flavors, adding your own, fresh signature style to some old favorites.
Allow your favorite restaurant dishes to inspire your creations. Start with the basic ingredients from one of your favorite restaurant dishes and add flavors that complement the dish to put a new twist on it. Who knows, you could create your very own culinary masterpiece right in the comfort of your own home.
Strive for a balanced bite. Balance the levels of sweet, sour, salt and spice. A great dish allows different flavors to complement one another.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavor combinations. “I like to say that each of us is the executive chef of our own household,” Robinson says. “Since you’re the boss, there’s no reason to be afraid of trying new things.”
Slight imperfections can be endearing. If you feel you made a little mistake, it just might be what makes the dish extra special for someone else. Sometimes, the best flavors are discovered by accident.
To encourage home cooks to turn their culinary dreams into reality, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce has teamed up with Robinson to launch a video recipe challenge that gives aspiring at-home chefs and cooking host hopefuls a stage of their own with a chance to win cash prizes. The Lea & Perrins “Shine at Dinnertime” video recipe challenge is searching for the best home cooking video and offering the grand prize winner $10,000, a VIP meeting with Robinson and a chance to be featured on the contest website. Five finalists also will win $1,000. For more information, visit www.ShineatDinnertime.com.