April 9, 2013

Dropping a Little Acid in the Kitchen

Working at a Culinary School is a huge benefit in terms of gleaning awesome tips and ideas about cooking from people who know the inside scoop.

One Golden Rule mentioned to me by more than one chef:

If you taste a dish and you know it's missing something but your not sure what, it's probably acid.  When I interviewed Executive Chef Brian Wilke, one of the founders of Oregon Culinary Institute a while back in his kitchen at home, I noticed he had a wire basket near the stove filled with lemons.   He often uses a fresh squeeze of lemon to balance and enhance flavor in soups, sauces and marinades, then scrubs down the butcher block counter top with a little sea salt and the leftover wedge when he's done cooking dinner for his wife.  In a professional kitchen, and at home, full utilization of product is ideal.

On Sunday, I finished off our Easter ham by cooking up a bowl of split pea soup with fresh thyme.  It seemed to be missing something though, and I sliced off the end of a lemon, squeezed the juice into the pot and Voila!

Perfect flavor.

I even saved the heel and scrubbed my butcher block island as well before plunking the well used bit of fruit into the compost.

Chefs are practical and brilliant people.  


  1. Wow! What a great tip. I don't know before reading this blog. I really excited. Thanks for share
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