What is a “Flavor Profile”?

If you watch cooking shows or read other cooking blogs, you’ve probably come across the term flavor profile. Was it defined, or did the writer simply assume you knew what they were talking about? Was it a collection of ingredients, and maybe a cooking style or two? Were speaking of a single dish’s flavor profile, or of a cuisine as a whole?

In fact, flavor profile has such an elusive definition, there isn’t even a Wikipedia article for it!
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Today’s Lunch: Red Beans and Rice

In Louisiana, Red Beans and Rice are typical Monday lunch dish. The intention is to use the leftover meat bones from Sunday dinner to flavor the beans for Monday.

I actually cooked the beans beforehand to prepare for today’s Junior Chef lesson, Southwestern Chili. I added some tomato paste, honey and smoked salt and yowza! They came out so delicious, I wanted to eat them all. Actually, this is hardly the Creole dish at all; it’s more reminiscent of the Boston Baked Beans in its flavor profile. But, I wasn’t really in the mood to start messing with the trinity and whatnot, and it’s one of those rare days where I’m not interested in tongue-blistering spicy hot, so I just made a pot of rice and called it a day. It might not look like much, but I promise I’ll make it again and pay attention to the quantities next time.

Yes, there are chili recipes with beans in them; get over it, Texas.

Profile: honey, very hot, creamy, coarse, slightly smoky.

Q&A: What the Heck is “Tzlaot Unterif”?

In a word, Yiddish. Remember when I said that there were a bazillion ways to butcher a cow? Well, Yiddish is apparently one of them. Fleisch, a frozen meat brand here in Israel, markets some of the alter haim cuts of meat. So when you’re in Osher Ad and you keep picking up and putting down this cut, at least now you’ll know what it is. It means, literally, under the rib. Rib is “rif” in Yiddish. It’s a cut from the chuck, under the shoulder (what I would call the #4,#5, & #6), next to the French Roast. It’s good for pot roast, chulent, or other moist heat cooking methods.

How do I know? I tracked down Yaakov, the butcher who named it. And it was no surprise that he spoke with a Yiddish accent. Mystery solved.

So now here’s the real question: should I add it to my meat chart? Leave your vote in the comments below.

Cleaning Your Cutting Board

A while ago, I was reminded of a technique for cleaning cutting boards that I once knew. Ever since, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it. While this article isn’t going to make you drool with desire or reveal some wondrous cooking technique, it will give you proof that your cutting board will look brand new in five minutes.

And it’s my first attempt at a time lapse video. Smile for the camera, baby!

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Garlic Paste

Garlic, the same garlic that the Jews pined for in the desert, is an ever-present ingredient in any decent kitchen’s pantry. I say pantry and not refrigerator because, if you’ve ever seen the rotating quotes on the bottom of the sidebar, Anthony Bourdain writes:

“Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

And I wholeheartedly agree.

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Quick Bites: Barley Risotto

Dinner one night a couple of weeks ago was a barley risotto cooked with red wine (Merlot), with sauteed onions and mushrooms, diced pumpkin and seared portobello mushrooms. The chiffonade is Melissa, an herb I failed to grow this past summer in my garden.

I like to use pearl barley as an alternate risotto grain because it gives off a nice amount of silky starch, and remains al dente. It also has flavor to add to the dish.

This is very similar to a popular appetizer that we served at Abagail’s in Cedarhurst when I worked there. This isn’t meant as an homage. This is me kicking that dish’s culinary ass. (And that’s me resenting a $0.50/hour raise)