Just about everyone who cooks for themselves or their families has a repertoire of recipes, but even the most seasoned cook can have a tough time making their favorite go-to meals really pop. If you’re starting to experience some recipe fatigue, consider trying one of these add-ons to help boost flavor and add more interest to your meals:
An Easy-To-Make Balsamic Reduction
Few toppings are as versatile as a balsamic reduction. With two ingredients and twenty minutes, you can whip up a sweet, tart, flavorful balsamic glaze that works on poultry, seafood, lentils, salads, sandwiches, and even fresh fruit or ice cream. Simply add a tablespoon of brown sugar to about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar, and allow to simmer until reduced by half (about fifteen to twenty minutes). Use fresh, or keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Cheese is often vilified for its fat content, but crumbling a little strongly-flavored atop a finished dish is a great way to add flavor and interest. Try a little herbed chèvre atop salads or bean dishes, or consider picking up some aged Gouda, Roquefort, or Stilton to try on your next meal. Seek out strong cheeses, treat them like a seasoning, and they can add flavor without boosting the fat and calorie content too much.
Unexpected Flavor Combinations
Pairing fruits and herbs is a great way to enhance the flavors of both while creating a very versatile flavor profile. Lime and basil, for example, are as delicious in salads as they are in cocktails and desserts. Homemade syrups are a popular way to capture some of these flavors, but those who are trying to cut back on sugar can get the same benefit with things like Monin Concentrated Flavors.
Instead of adding your ingredients to a dish as-is when cooking, try taking a few extra minutes to pre-cook some of them. Sear meats, caramelize onions, roast fruits and vegetables, and toast whole spices, grains, and nuts before preparing meals to add depth and nuance to flavors without adding any additional fat, salt, sugar, or calories.
Most of the time, making a meal stand out is as easy as taking the time to layer flavors or add an exciting finishing touch. Exploring new flavor combinations, ingredients, and cooking techniques are the best ways to turn your everyday recipes into something truly exceptional.