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BTD Forums  /  Cook Right 4 Your Type  /  Little Touches: Tweaking Your Dish
Posted by: san j, Sunday, November 6, 2011, 11:00pm
I was on the phone with a friend today who called from England. While we talked, she was making dinner one-handed for hubby and self. I asked what she was making, and she explained she had sautéed some onion and garlic in a tad of olive oil and was adding organic ground beef with some chili pepper sauce. She explained she was cooking with only one hand, so she hadn't made burger patties!  :D She then said she was adding "the beans". So it was a chili con carne.

We carried on our conversation and she mentioned that the chili was done and she'd turned it off. I asked what she was serving it with, and she said she hadn't been able to make rice yet, but she had lovely bunches of watercress. "I'll just chop up some of that and put it on top."

Here was my idea: "How about if you spread some on each plate and then spoon the chili over it? Then you can add a half teaspoon of minced red onion to the top as a garnish, if that agrees with you?" She loved the idea. "You see? That's the kind of creative idea I could use!"

I do like stews ladled over greens - raw ones, steamed ones - instead of over rice or noodles at times. I like chopped romaine hearts (instead of rice or noodles) as a bed for some Asian dishes. Then I like to squeeze some citrus and sprinkle minced cilantro over the top, but other herbs or vegetables work, to provide whatever culinary and/or nutritional element is needed.

Feel free to share the "little touches" you spontaneously come up with, here on this thread. It would be nice to come here for this sort of idea from time to time. :)
Posted by: PCUK-Positive, Sunday, November 6, 2011, 11:33pm; Reply: 1
I have my chilli over a salad these days and skip the rice. although i don't have it often.
Posted by: san j, Monday, November 7, 2011, 1:00am; Reply: 2
I've been known to "doctor" my food in restaurants. There've been a few funny scenes...(lol).

PS. I mean as a patron / diner / customer, not a chef.  ;D
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, November 7, 2011, 7:48pm; Reply: 3
Sometimes, when I eat canned sardines, I take them out of the can first.  ;)
Posted by: san j, Monday, November 7, 2011, 7:49pm; Reply: 4
But doncha just love the heavy metal thing?  :D

PS. Actually, sardines are a food that, IMO, could use all the touches - little and big- you can offer! :X
Posted by: cajun, Monday, November 7, 2011, 8:30pm; Reply: 5
Love this idea!!!!  :D
Posted by: san j, Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 11:44pm; Reply: 6
Fresh jalapenos. Mince them and add them to stuff. Or those little green chili peppers you get at the Indian grocery: Same deal.

Jalapenos and green chilis have a way of "lightening", like an acid squirt of citrus, what they season. So, you Bsecs in particular might consider using them more...

I was always something of a fresh herb person. In the restaurant I used more parsley than anyone in history, you'd think. Such a balancer. But I also like chervil, dill, spearmint, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and chives, among the basic ones. Spring-ifying, freshening, vivifying your dishes and condiments. Some of these are particularly ethnic/regional-associated.

Or chop cress, as mentioned above, over or under something...or, another old favorite, arugula works, too. Other nice greens to ladle something over are: Escarole and bok choy.

If you're permitted a cheese, grate it over stuff.

Yeah - this is all so obvious, but if you don't get in the habit of doing it, you'll find yourself thinking, "Dang, I should have done that! Okay, Next Time,"  ::) , she said.
Posted by: Dianne, Thursday, November 10, 2011, 3:34am; Reply: 7
Allow water kefir or kombucha to turn to vinegar to make vinaigrette type dressings for grains, veggies, meats...
I discovered an organic brown rice couscous which I believe is made by Erewhon. Used this for a few dinner parties this summer; everyone loved it. I could never use couscous before as it was wheat.

Drink my kombucha from a wine glass some evenings while listening to music that soothes my soul! Sometimes I sub the kombucha for red wine, but mostly it's me and the kombucha.

Love stir-fries, cook grains to last four days, have veggies pre-washed and ready to go. Cook to have left-overs. Tweak it all with various flavours, ie : different oils, herbs & spices. Add the meats/fish/poultry cut very thinly and add last, add a bit of water, it makes a nice 'broth' at the bottom of the pan that is so full of flavour! Other than an occasional lamb roast, this is one of our favourite meals. And there are tons of veggies in this, less grain and flesh.

Someone mentioned that they put cinnamon on their banana, I tried it and it was yummy. I do that now and love it.
Posted by: san j, Thursday, November 10, 2011, 4:03am; Reply: 8
Quoted from Dianne
Someone mentioned that they put cinnamon on their banana, I tried it and it was yummy. I do that now and love it.

You can also spice your coffee, if you drink it, or drop a fresh herb sprig  ;) ;D into your tea, green or black or white.

Sesame seeds are not for me, but macrobiotics turned me on to "gomasio" (sesame seed, roasted and crushed-to-ground with roasted sea salt). Without the salt, keep a small jar of toasted sesame seeds in the fridge, if they're bennie for you. Sprinkle on grains, noodles, vegetables, salads.
Posted by: 14442 (Guest), Thursday, November 10, 2011, 10:01pm; Reply: 9
I like jalapenos and various herbs in my eggs.  For a while I poached them but am back to pan frying.  Jalapenos with soft cooked eggs and salt is a really good combination.  
Posted by: cajun, Friday, November 11, 2011, 3:42am; Reply: 10
I am so thankful my Granmere influenced me with her herb garden. As a child I loved the smell of Mom's family's cooking with fresh herbs. When I got married my DH couldn't believe how good food could taste without alot of salt. I only use sea salt  sparingly at the end of cooking certain foods.

My favorite all time herbs that I usually have in my garden are mint, French thyme, basil, tarragon, parsley and cilantro. I will try marjoram this spring. I cook with all of these and put them on most veggies and meats.
One tweak I love is just a light drizzle of gingerale and lemon juice with cinnamon or nutmeg over a bowl of fresh fruit topped with fresh mint. Yummo!

I put fresh mint in my teas, hot or cold and cinnamon in my coffee. ;)
Posted by: san j, Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 12:15am; Reply: 11
Put small pieces of orange or tangerine in a dense/rich chili. :)
Posted by: O in Virginia, Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 2:50am; Reply: 12
I love a bed of greens (usually romaine for me, a diamond superfood) as the foundation of a meal.  I use it for all kinds of things, sliced steak, sardines, seared tuna, "taco" salad chili seasoned ground beef.  I use ginger, lime, red pepper flakes, walnut oil, cilantro, basil, parsley, all kinds of herbs and seasonings.  Avocado is creamy and slightly nutty.  I love adding that to a salad.  If there is some kind of warm/hot food on top of the cold crisp base, and a tasty dressing - then I am in heaven!  I especially enjoy Asian flavors but I'm not experienced at creating them myself yet in salads.  A new avenue to explore.  :)  One salad I really liked I had in a restaurant here and was very simple:  cold crisp greens, sliced jicama, chopped sugar glazed toasted pecans, lime dressing.  I like adding toasted nuts to salads, they really add a lot of flavor and you don't need a huge amount to make an impact.
Posted by: san j, Sunday, December 30, 2012, 7:24am; Reply: 13
I just made a sandwich, open-faced.
Sliced turkey on flaxseed bread with butter lettuce and sliced fuji apple.
To lemon mayo, I added some Thai chili paste/sauce.
Really woke up what could have been a sort of humdrum sandwich.
Yes, the flaxseed is good chewy texture, and the apple is scrumptious and crunchy, but...
Y'all know me - It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that zing... ;D
Posted by: Averno, Sunday, December 30, 2012, 11:16am; Reply: 14
Quoted from Dianne

Drink my kombucha from a wine glass some evenings while listening to music that soothes my soul! Sometimes I sub the kombucha for red wine, but mostly it's me and the kombucha.

This is my new dinner wine, and I'm quite surprised by how satisfying it is! I could never have imagined giving up wine at dinner. Just keep your nose out of the glass!

BTW: Asked for a disassembled lamb burger plate the other day, hold the oven mitts...  :P
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