4 Ingredients You Can’t Do Without In Cooking & Baking

4 Ingredients You Can’t Do Without In Cooking & Baking

You will find through a Google search lists of all the necessary ingredients you need in your pantry to cook and bake.

There are though, four ingredients that are the most important, and you cannot do without them.

Each of the 4 most important cooking and baking ingredients serves a particular function, reacting with each other and other ingredients to create the structure, flavor and texture of the finished cooked dish or baked good.

These include:

Salt

Salt is one of the most important ingredient in everything we cook and bake.

Salt is unique and the only mineral we use in cooking and baking.

It primes our palates to identify and enjoy flavors and textures. Salt works to amplify and balance what we taste.

Different types of salts have varying textures and levels of salinity.

There are different types of salt.

Salt crystals differ in shape and size and the various types will melt at differing rates.

Choose a lighter, smaller crystal like table salt for baked goods and larger grains or flakes as a finishing salt.

Whichever type of salt is used, it directly influences flavor in a surprisingly complex way.

Adding a hint of salt to batter won’t give the cake a salty flavor. Rather, salt reduces bitterness and allows sweetness to come forward, producing a more well-rounded flavor.

Salt is not only a flavor enhancer, but also affects the tenderness of a baked good.

Ultimately, salt is used as a seasoning to enhance the taste of food. It makes bland foods such as carbohydrates, like bread or pasta palatable and it helps to bring out the natural flavors in food.


– Read and Know More About – What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt


Vinegar

Few ingredients have the versatility, range, and potency of vinegar when it comes to cooking.

There are different types of vinegars as well.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – pickling vegetables – flaky pie crusts – salad dressing & vinaigrettes
  • Rice Wine Vinegar – Japanese sauces & condiments
  • Sherry Vinegar – glazing vegetables – pan sauces
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Meat, Salads & Desserts

– Try This Deliciously Yummy Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus


Citric Acid

Citric acid is used in preparing foods for preservation and adding flavor. The sour flavor to be exact.

Like those sweet and sour candies. Yes, their sweetness is from sugar and the sour flavor is from the use of citric acid, among other naturally occurring acids.

Citric acid is also used in pickling fruits and vegetables to making jams and jellies.

Zest of lemons as well as oranges contain citric acid and can be used as an agent for enhancing flavor in cooking and baking.

Lemon zest is a popular flavoring for baked goods and desserts as well as in savory dishes, such as meats and sauces.


Some Lemon Zesty Recipes


Lemon juice can replace or compliment vinegar in salad dressings, or to marinate and tenderize meat, poultry or fish.


Try These Salad Dressings And See How Vinegar Is The Star In These Vinaigrette’s To Complete Your Salad


Sugar

In addition to imparting sweetness, sugar is added to food to contribute not only to flavor (sweetness), but most importantly to color. Such as the browning of baked goods and meats.


Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum SauceSugar Helped Not Only With Browning Of The Baked Good – But Also With The Carmel Color & Flavor Of The Sauce

Sugar interacts with other food ingredients, enhancing the flavor profile.

Here is some to remember about sugar in your baked goods.

Sugar is hygroscopic, which means that it both attracts water and holds onto it, leading to a moist cake.

If you reduce the necessary amount of sugar in a recipe, you’re also decreasing the cake’s ability to retain moisture.

You can replace the reduction of every 1/4 cup sugar with: 3 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup. Keep in mind the flavor of each replacement as regards the one you choose.

Sugar acts synergistically to increase the aroma of a flavor or balancing bitterness, such as with dark chocolate.


Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint CupcakesMade With Bitter Cacao & Balanced With The Sweetness Of Sugar

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

Bruschetta with Chicken Salad & Cheddar Cheese

In the United States, the word Bruschetta is used to refer to a prepared topping, which is typically sold in jars at local markets and are usually tomato-based.

An example of viewing Bruschetta in the U.S as a topping, is – Healthy Canning – a website that aims to direct people towards information on canning that is safe and healthy.

One of their posts is – Bruschetta in a jar: tomatoes in dry white wine with basil and oregano.

The article goes on to say, “Open a jar, drain, and serve on toasted Italian bread with a good Italian cheese and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.”

Here is a photo of Healthy Canning’s Bruschetta in a jar. It’s a delicious looking canned tomatoes with wine, and herbs.

Check Out Healthy Canning For Healthy Recipes and How To Safely Can Them

What Is A Bruschetta

Actually though, a tomato based Bruschetta is unheard of in Italy.

As this image shows, a product of Italy jarred sweet peppers offered as a Bruschetta topping.

In Italy, a Bruschetta is an antipasto dish starter that is prepared with toasting or grilling bread (typically Italian bread) and rubbing it with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt.

In other words, a Bruschetta is a fancy way of saying, “put it on toast”.

Toppings for a Bruschetta can include, Healthy Canning’s canned tomatoes, wine and herbs or vegetables, fruit, beans, cured meats and cheese.

Or try this Sweet Tomato Chutney as a Bruschetta topping. It is made with Roma and heritage orange tomatoes, garlic, sweet onion and spices.

The recipe featured is sliced whole wheat French bread Bruschetta topped with a chicken salad and cheddar cheese.

Bruschetta can be served hot or cold, and is always a quick and easy appetizer to any casual meal.

History of Bruschetta

Bruschetta originated in Italy during 15th century.

The dish though, can be traced back to Ancient Rome when olive growers would bring their olives to a local olive press and taste a sample of their freshly pressed oil using a slice of bread.

Typically, bruschetta is served as a snack or appetizer.

It can also be made for brunch, or prepared and taken to parties, dinner gatherings and potlucks.

Bruschetta with Chicken Salad & Cheddar Cheese

For the Bruschetta

1 loaf whole wheat Italian or French bread, sliced thick, about 1 1/2 inch slice

1/2 – 1 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Harissa seasoning, optional

Salt and black pepper to taste

Brush olive oil onto bread slices, one side only.

Next sprinkle some Harissa seasoning over olive oil brushed bread slices.

Place bread into a large iron skillet and place skillet under broiler and broil bread until lightly toasted.

Remove skillet from heat and set toasted bread aside.

The Cheese

1 slice mild cheddar cheese per bread slice

The Salad

2 cups cooked shredded chopped chicken breast or shredded chopped rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet pickled relish

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped white onion

salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl place all prepared salad ingredients and mix until well combined.

Spoon 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of salad on to bruschetta.

Next top bruschetta and chicken salad with a slice of cheese.

Place and arrange bruschetta slices with toppings into a large cast iron skillet.

Put skillet under high heat broiler until cheese is melted and bubbling a little but not burnt.

Plate bruschetta and eat alone or with a side dish of your choice. Here bruschetta is plated with a broccoli slaw.

Want a fruity chicken salad to top your Bruschetta? Then you love preparing this Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad.


Cooking With Cinnamon

Cooking With Cinnamon

You may be surprised to know that there are two main types of spice labeled as cinnamon.

One type is labeled as Cinnamon and the other is labeled Cassia. The one most commonly used in the U.S. is called cassia.

BUT – Cassia Is Not Real Cinnamon.

The Jar On The Left Is Being Labeled As CinnamonBut It’s Not – It’s Cassia A False Cinnamon – The Jar On The Right Is Labeled Correctly – It’s A True Cinnamon

Later in the article we will discuss cooking with cinnamon, but first let’s see what’s the difference between what is cinnamon and what is passed off as cinnamon.

How to Tell the Difference Between Cinnamon & Cassia

Real cinnamon sticks or quills curl in a telescopic form, in a perfect circle.

True Cinnamon Sticks

It has a pale color and is comprised of many thin layers of bark rather than a single coiled strip of bark like cassia.

Whole True Cinnamon bark can easily be ground in a coffee grinder.

Cinnamon is also known as Ceylon cinnamon – named after the country of origin, Ceylon (formerly Sir Lanka).

Cassia is not necessarily another name for cinnamon as it is a completely different spice, though they both are related.

It is is cheaper to produce and has a bolder, less subtle flavor than true cinnamon, so it is sometimes referred to as “bastard cinnamon,” or “false cinnamon.”

Cassis or False Cinnamon Sticks

Cassia sticks curl inward from both sides, appearing like a scroll. The sticks are very hard to break and will not grind easily in a coffee grinder.

According to Burlap & Barrel the sole importers of Cinnamon Verum from Zanzibar says it’s perfect for savory dishes like tomato sauces, stews, chili and barbecue rubs, as well as for baked goods and breakfasts like oatmeal or pancakes.



The Spruce Eats says that Cassia is usually a better choice for savory dishes, rather than sweets, while true cinnamon (Cinnamon Verum) is best for sweet baked goods.


Roasted Chicken With Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze

What Do They Taste Like?

True Cinnamon has a warm, sweet flavor and pungent aroma.

The taste and scent come from cinnamaldehyde, which makes up most of the essential oil of cinnamon, but also 80 additional aromatic compounds.

Cassia has a stronger flavor than the more subtle true cinnamon, which can have floral notes.


Cooking With Cinnamon

When reading a recipe that calls for cinnamon, you can safely assume it refers to the common cassia cinnamon from the supermarket.

You will find recipes that call for cinnamon sticks or quills while others call for ground or powdered cinnamon.

Apple-Cinnamon Up-Side Down CakeThis cake calls for True Cinnamon – The cake though is topped with Cassia Sticks (for decorative purposes)

Ground cinnamon can be added before cooking or baking as it will maintain its flavor and aroma.

When flavoring drinks, such as egg nog, a cinnamon stick can add flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.

National Eggnog Day

A sprinkle of ground cinnamon can be used to top again, egg nog or other hot drinks such as hot chocolate, a mocha, or latte.

Cinnamon and Cassia are both commonly used in the culinary to flavor foods and beverages.

Although cassia it is often used to flavor sweet foods, it can also lend warmth and flavor to savory meat and some Indian dishes.

Hyderabadi Chicken Korma

So in conclusion, if you’re eating cinnamon every day, great – just make sure it’s the right kind.

In the U.K., if it says cinnamon, then it’s Ceylon cinnamon. Chinese cinnamon is labeled cassia.

In the U.S., though, they can both just be labeled cinnamon, and since Chinese is cheaper, that’s what most cinnamon is on our shelves. So make sure it specifies Ceylon.


Soufflé with Chicken & Vegetables

Soufflé with Chicken & Vegetables

Anyone who can make a soufflé is an accomplished home cook.

Understanding the basic underlying scientific principles that make a souffle what it is, can help your attempt of making one go off without a hitch.

It starts with knowing that it’s all in the eggs and 3 secrets.

First Secret Of Making A Soufflé

You have to separate the egg yolks from the whites. This is done so you can beat or whip the whites into a thick foam or airy stiff peaks as some recipes describe it when whipping egg whites.


Tip

It’s easier to separate the white from the yolk when an egg is cold not room temperature

Take extra care when separating out the whites to be sure that there are no yellow bits floating around in them.

The egg whites contain protein and if there is any presence of fat (yoke) in them, this will cause the bubbles to collapse and the egg whites will lose all their structure.

Second Secret To Making An Egg Soufflé

The second secret to a perfect souffle is not to overmix the whites into the souffle base.

Gently fold just long enough until all white streaks disappear.

When you bake the mixture, the air in the bubbles will expand, causing the souffle to rise.

In addition, the protein and any fat that was in the base will harden to provide support to the overall structure.

Soufflé with Chicken & Vegetables

The Third Secret

DO NOT OPEN the oven door any time after you have placed the soufflé in the oven to cook.

Doing so will lower the temperature in the oven and allow cooler air in, causing the soufflé to fall or collapse.

The Soufflé your making is not only for eating – but is for SHOW as well – but only if you follow the 3 easy secrets to making the perfect soufflé.

Soufflé With Chicken & Vegetables

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter for brushing

1/4 cup grated white cheddar or smoked Gouda

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots

1 cup chicken breast, cut into small cubes

6 large eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 400° and brush seven 1-cup ramekins with butter.

In a medium saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute.

Next whisk in the milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt.

Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks. Let cool slightly.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in cheese, chicken and vegetables. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium-high speed until frothy.

Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the soufflé base until no streaks of white remain.

Spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, filling them to 1/2-inch below the rim.

Place ramekins onto a baking sheet and put into bottom third of the oven and bake until the soufflés are puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Alternatively, bake in a 7-cup soufflé at 375° for 40 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More Than Just a Salad

Balsamic Vinegar Complements More Than Just A Salad

Balsamic vinegar enhances nearly any food it touches as it is so much more than a salad dressing.

You can use balsamic vinegar to marinate meats, glaze roasted vegetables and even as a baking ingredient.

The process of making balsamic vinegar is a more than 900 year old tradition from Italy.

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

How Balsamic Vinegar Is Made

Balsamic vinegar is made by pressing grapes complete with the stem, seeds, and skin.

The unfermented grape juice, also called “grape must,” is reduced and then cooked down and aged in hard wood barrels either oak, cherry or walnut, to create a delicate flavor that expertly balances both sweet and savory.

Depending on the wood barrels being used, flavor is added to the essence of the balsamic gradually over time.

As it ages, moisture evaporates out, further thickening and concentrating the balsamic.

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Traditional Balsamic verses Commercial Made

Many consumers outside of Italy are unaware of the fact that there are two types of balsamic vinegar.

According to Compass and Fork, the balsamic vinegars sold at a local market or gourmet food shops are commercially made vinegar, and even if it says Modena on it, it has not been produced according to the traditional standard.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – with a Balsamic Dressing

To be able to be labelled as a balsamic from Modena, only one step in the process has to be performed and it can be to any quality standard.

Though the bottled balsamic vinegar is sold at moderate pricing, it is only bottled in Modena.

Wine Vinegar Included – Not Traditionally Made

Traditionally produced balsamic vinegar is also protected under labeling laws, with only products made in a particular way and in Modena bearing the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label.

How To Use Balsamic Vinegar

There are three basic age groups of balsamic vinegar, and each is used differently:

Group One

The youngest group, 3 to 5 years, is good for salad dressings, dipping sauces for vegetables and bread, sauces and marinades.

Group Two

The middle age group, 6 to 11 years, is more viscous and is quite versatile. Use it in sauces (at the end of cooking), in risotto and pasta dishes, in marinades and mixed with mayonnaise or sour cream for a sandwich condiment.

Group Three

Well-aged balsamic vinegar (12 to 150+ years) is best used after the cooking is finished, and in otherwise mild dishes (nothing spicy or heavily seasoned), so it can shine on its own.

Use it to flavor meat like chicken, steak, fish or veal. It is well-suited to fruit and cheese pairings, such as strawberries, peaches and pears, along with ricotta or feta cheese.

Smoked Bacon And Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts – with a Balsamic Drizzled over Chicken

It may be enjoyed by itself (just a tiny amount) or added to water (or sparkling water) for a refreshing beverage.

Flavors Infused with Commercially Made Balsamic Vinegar

There are commercially made balsamic vinegars that are infused with different flavors such as but not limit too:

  •  Chile Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic Cilantro Balsamic Vinegar
  • Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Sesame Ginger Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar

What Others are saying about Balsamic Vinegar:

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How To Fix An Over-Salted Soup

How To Fix An Over-Salted Soup

Salt is considered the most common ingredient in the culinary world. For thousands of years, salt has been used to preserve food and to improve its taste.

As a seasoning, salt helps to bring out the natural flavors in food. It helps to make bland foods palatable.

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

In small amounts salt can intensify sweetness and counteract bitter flavors in food.

Salt also aides to release certain molecules in the food making the food more aromatic.

When To Use Salt

Cooks Illustrated says that for the most even seasoning and well-rounded flavor, it is strongly encourage seasoning foods during the cooking process.

They also say that you should avoid iodized salt when cooking, as it can impart a subtle chemical flavor.

Paul Breslin of Rutgers University, who’s primary focus of study is on taste perception with an emphasis on taste discrimination, taste enhancement and suppression, and taste localization, says that salt becomes the dominant flavor when adding it to your food at the table in place of making use of it while cooking your soup.

The salt doesn’t bind with the other flavors and leaves you with a salty aftertaste.

What can you do if you find your soup is to salty?

How To Fix An Over-Salted Soup

The following are some strategies for fixing an overly salty soup.

The easiest fix is to add more water, or stock, if your stock isn’t too salty in the first place. Add a little at a time, tasting as you go.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

This method works best for soups that are brothy rather than thick and creamy.

Starchy ingredients like noodles and rice will absorb some of the excess salt as they cook and help thicken up the soup, so you can add a little more water to further dilute it.

You can also add a potato to your salty soup and remove it after the soup is done. The potato will sock up some of salt.

A splash of acid also helps take soups from good to great.

This would include lemons, limes, vinegar, tomatoes, sugar, pickles, yogurt, and sour cream.

Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup

Of course it depends on your soup base as to which acid you would incorporate. That is, is it a thick base or watery base.

Acids like vinegar or lime, or lemon juice can cut through the saltiness, as can a small amount of sugar. This works best for soups that are just a little too salty and need some balancing.

These types of acids are also a good addition to long-simmered bean soups or rich meat-based soups.

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

How To Prevent Over Salting Your Soup

To prevent over salting your soup implement these cooking tips:

Season Gradually

Soups become saltier the longer they boil, as water evaporates away (salt doesn’t evaporate) so wait to adjust your seasoning and including adding salt towards the end of cooking.

A soup that is perfectly seasoned as it comes to a boil will be far too salty after 30 minutes of cooking.

South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup

Taste and Adjust Several Times

Tasting and adjusting your soup when adding is important – as you will avoid over salting the soup.

Adding salt to a pot of soup

Don’t be afraid to keep tasting and adding salt a little at a time (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) towards the end of cooking, until the flavor is just right.


Salt Has Other Uses: The Usefulness of Salt Around The House


Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Orzo pasta takes the place of Arborio rice in this quick and creamy chicken and pumpkin orzotto.

If your looking for a Risotto recipe, try our tasty Pumpkin Pecan Risotto with Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese or the Bacon and Sweet Pea Risotto.

What Is Orzo

Orzo, also known as risoni, is a short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It is traditionally made from white flour, but it can also be made of whole grain.

Whole Grain Orzo Pasta

In Italy, where orzo originates, is classified as pastina or “little pasta,” which is a category of small, shaped pastas.

Orzo is typically used in many Italian dishes, including soups, pasta salads, grain bowls, and other dishes where a petite pasta is needed.

Orzo can be made like rice with a two-to-one ratio of water to dried pasta and will offer a creamier texture. The best part? Your cooking time will be about half of what it takes to make a pot of white rice.

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Orzo is a fun, versatile pasta that can not only be served as a side dish in place of rice, but can also be prepared as a risotto dish.

Risotto is a dish that requires a specific type of rice — arborio — as well as plenty of patience and continual stirring to get the texture just right.

However, using orzo can be more forgiving and takes less time. Plus, the starch from the pasta will give a nice creamy texture to your meal.

1 pound chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, diced, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

6 tbsp butter unsalted, divided

1 small onion chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

2 cups orzo dry

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups cream

1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Stir 4 cups of the chicken broth with pumpkin puree in large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a bowl. Turn heat to low.

In a large skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Next add diced chicken and cook until chicken is oblique. Remove chicken from pan and set aside in a small bowl.

In the same large skillet, add the olive oil, 4 tablespoons of butter and allow butter to melt, about 30 seconds.

Next, stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion softens and the garlic becomes aromatic, about 2 minutes.

Add the orzo to the skillet and stir until orzo starts to toast lightly, about 2 minutes. This will give it a nutty flavor.

Add one cup of the broth mixture to orzo and stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding a half cup of the mixture at a time, stirring often between additions, until liquid is absorbed.

Cook until orzo is tender and mixture is creamy.

If orzotto is too thick, stir in an additional ½ cup broth until loosened but not soupy. 

Next stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Add the chicken and vegetables and mix until combined.

Plate and serve immediately.

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

What Are The Benefits of Marinating Meat

Marinades were formerly used as a technique to preserve foods.

Any type of meat, whether it be beef, chicken, or fish would be submerged in a salty soup that was used to preserve the meat, due to the lack of a cooling system.

The last few hundred years, marinades are not only used to preserve meats but also to add flavor to them.

When we marinate, we think about saturating the meat in the rich tasting mixture of herbs, spices, salt,, vinegar, and oil (fat), with the purpose of infusing the meat with flavor.

This however is a MYTH.


Read More Here About Herbs and Spices

Herbs and Spices Through The Years


It is physically impossible for a marinade to penetrate deep into the meat. Most flavor molecules are to big to enter the muscle tissue cells of meat.

The tissue cells are about 75% water and tightly packed like a sodden sponge.

Greek Marinated Chicken

Oil molecules, which dispense most of the flavor molecules are also unable to enter the tissue cells.

This means, the the flavor of the marinade can infuse the meat no further than a few millimeters, leaving most it to pool on the surface.

Tender and Delicious Marinated Meat

The ingredients in marinades work together to enhance the flavor of meat and tenderize its outer layers.

While cooking the meat, sugars and proteins found in a marinade help to brown the meats surface, and creating a crisp, flavorful crust.

Keep in mind though, when adding an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, wine or vinegar, can slow the browning process.

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

After cooking your meal, you could add a little salt to your plated food to give it a boost, but unfortunately, it’s too late to truly bring out the flavors that the dish contains.

Woman salting skillet of cooked food

You need to be salting your food throughout the entire cooking process. As well as continuously TASTING along the way.

Most home cooks tend to under-season their meals to avoid over salting, and this, unfortunately, results in meals that are bland and boring.

Woman tasting food from skillet

Salt not only brings out the flavor the foods natural contain but it also creates a balance between sweetness and acidity.

When you season food at different stages of cooking, the salt pulls out the natural flavors of the individual ingredients and enhances their taste.

This is why it’s so important to add salt while you are cooking – you give it time to do its food flavor enhancing magic.

adding salt to  plated food

If you wait until after cooking to add salt, you’ll end up with “salty” food instead of a lively and delicious dish with deep complex flavors.

Most recipes will that tell you to “add salt to taste”. Why? The fact is, because it’s hard to really put an exact measurement for salt.

Kitchn.com (post by Emma Christensen) writes that when the recipe says salt to taste, we’re not actually looking for salty flavor.

All we’re trying to do is get rid of bitterness and make the rest of the flavors in the food stand out.

The “saltiness” of salt varies depending on its size, texture, type, and even brand.

Sizes of salt

For example: a tablespoon of coarse or Kosher salt could equal the same level of saltiness as 2 teaspoons of table salt.

This difference can make or break a meal if you are measuring salt exactly according to the instructions in a recipe and using whichever salt you have on hand.

This is why it is vitally important that you salt throughout the cooking process and taste along the way until you reach the desired outcome or flavors you are looking for.


Did you know salt is used for more than just bringing out foods flavors Read more here: The Usefulness Of Salt Around The House


Taking Care When Using Salt

It’s important though, to watch your sodium intake.

Too much sodium could contribute to high blood pressure, which may increase your risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health concerns.

On average, Americans consume about 3,393 mg of sodium per day, that’s about 1/2 tablespoon or 1.5 teaspoons.

The recommended dietary guidelines from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for Americans is to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

According to JAMA (American Medical Association), about half of all Americans, those aged 51 years or older, African Americans of any age, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, are recommended to only consume 1500 mg a day of sodium.

What Should You Do?

Eat salt in moderation and remember it is found in processed and restaurant foods in high amounts.

Therefore, your salt intake can be decreased by eating out less often, especially at fast-food restaurants and eating less prepared or packaged foods.

Cook your own meals and remember, “salt to taste.” As you want to taste the real flavors of food, not the salt.

Why We Cook

To think about cooking as purely functional would be to look at just one aspect of it. When in fact there are several reasons why we cook.

Cooking makes food more edible and in doing so cuts down on the time it takes to digest it.

Some foods we can eat raw, but there are others that need to be cooked, like meat or eggs for example.

How To Make The Perfect Egg In One Minute

Humankind has been on the earth for thousands of years and throughout the centuries we have learned the art of cooking.

Yes cooking is an art. If you are a professional-cook or not – when you put together different flavors you are creating a dish to satisfy your taste and hunger.

Frequently Asked Questions about Healthy Cooking

The More You Know

We spend just five percent (5%) of our day eating. So make the food you eat count towards a healthier you. Read more here: First Step To Being Healthy


The bottom line is, we have learned through trial and error that some foods need to be cooked.

So again, ever thought while you are preparing something to eat, why you cook it?

Why We Cook

It makes eating food safe, as cooking destroys bacteria, and the toxins they produce.

The food flavors multiple with using heat to cook. The heat browns meat, vegetables, breads, and cakes.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Cooking caramelizes sugar and helps herbs and spices to release their locked in flavors in a process known as the Maillard reaction.

Read More Here About Cooking With Herbs – Spices – and Caramelizing Sugar

How To Spice Thngs Up When Cooking
Spanish Flan – recipe and video on How To Carmelize Sugar

Food that has been cooked helps with your digestion as it softens starches and releases foods nutrients.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan

Cooked food tastes delicious and brings new textures to food.

Cooking To Gather Family and Friends

You may have heard the expression, make friends by “breaking bread together.”

Research has shown that the ritual of cooking and sharing your cooked food with others is entrenched in our psyche, and it brings family and friends together.

Regularly eating cooked food with others also improves our well-being.

Cooking Supports A Healthy Life Style

Here’s a great response to why we cook.

Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, lead author of a study on home cooking and weight lossat the John Hopkins Center, says if you are trying to lose weight or not, people who cook most of their meals at home, consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all (Study Suggests Home Cooking is a Main Ingredient in Healthier Diet).

According to Civil Eats – The power of a communal meal, or eating together – either it be a Thanksgiving feast, a community potluck, or a dinner-table gathering can build cultural ties and tear down political walls.

So now you know. Let’s get cooking.