Food notes

December 20, 2003

Melanie is still disconcerted by garlic. A couple of years ago I had a problem with garlic and gassiness. It has cleared up, and we now use moderately large quantities of garlic while cooking. Even the baby likes garlic. The only problem is, when we order pizza from the local stores, the sauce tastes boring without the extra zing of garlic, oregano, and hot pepper. This leads me to:

A note on low-fat cooking. Fat carries flavor and gives a pleasurable mouth feel. When reducing the fat, add more spices and more flavorings to recover. Many commercial low fat products try to cover their lack of fat by adding extra sugar. I don't like that. I use extra spices and strong flavors. I find that acids make a good replacement for salts, and that yoghurt and olive oil make good replacements for heavier oils. So when doing collards with salt port, pull the salt pork and add a splash of vinegar. If cooking a carrot cake, base it on yoghurt rather than on corn oil. Oh, and use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil rather than a mess of the boring stuff.

A final note on peppers: I cook with a fair number of hot peppers. I grow my own Thai Dragons. Hot peppers dry easily - just string a needle, pierce the pepper and draw a little loop to hold it in place, then hang the string of peppers in a well ventilated place. We dried them in the basement right over the dehumidifier. Whole hot peppers do best if chopped or broken up in the cooking oil before the pan is heated; this gives the pepper flavors a chance to infuse the oil and spread. If you are using ground pepper from the spice store instead, add the hot pepper when you add the garlic.

Oh, and for Melanie's readers. We are in an interfaith marriage. I was raised Catholic, currently have a belief system similar to liberal Protestantism, and am comfortable in the "courtyard of the temple." J was raised Reformative, is theologically Reform, but prefers Conservative worship practice.

Posted by Red Ted at December 20, 2003 09:31 AM | TrackBack