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Size does matter

Having a great recipe does not always equate to a great dish as many of us have learned the hard way. You can also have a pretty good idea of what flavors taste great together which is the next level of cooking but that is not always enough either. What allows both of the above to translate into a great dish is an understanding of how the size, shape and texture of the ingredients you are using affect the final outcome of the dish. The following (which I will continue to add to) are some examples.

Bell Peppers – When left in large raw chunks that get briefly cooked or not cooked at all they are awkward in the mouth, have an acrid taste. I recommend the following:

For a salad or a pasta dish – Cut paper thin strips. This way you get the flavor of the bell pepper and the right amount of texture without having the bell pepper take over the dish.

A brief sauté with garlic and the sauce of your choice for pasta will be perfect. The peppers will soften and sweeten quickly without having to cook for a long time.

For bruschetta, pizza, sandwich, or soup garnish – Set the whole pepper on the open flame of your burner. Turn it with tongs occasionally until it is black. Place it in a bowl and cover with foil for 15 minutes. Remove the pepper and allow to cool. Wipe the charred skin off with your hands (don’t use running water or you wash away the precious flavor), cut in half, take the seeds out and chop into ½” pieces. This is a great pantry item that you can use in many dishes. Roast a couple peppers during the weekend and you can then use these sweet, charred yummy peppers all week long. You will have lots of flavor quickly when you are cooking on the fly.

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