Making the grocery store your friend is a good thing
A friend showed off some of his grilling skills on Facebook. He put up a picture of pork chops with store bought seasonings used as a rub, and a store bought grilling glaze. My friend was concerned that pitmasters and other cooks would criticize his choice.
Why the concern? There is nothing wrong with making the grocery store your friend. Chef Jacques Pepin, a master among master chefs advocates making the grocery store your friend. If it is good enough for him, it is good enough for the rest of us.
Chef Jacques Pepin, a master among master chefs advocates making the grocery store your friend. If it is good enough for him, it is good enough for the rest of us.
The end game in cooking is serving properly prepared tasty food. There is nothing wrong with using pre-mixed ingredients, canned or frozen items, or even making some substitutions to save time.
One of my favorite sauces, Diable, is from a recipe by Chef Daniel Boulud. It is a combination of brand named condiments.
I made a mac and cheese recipe substituting a corn starch and water slurry to make the cream sauce. I know how to make a roux and bechamel sauce. But, this saved time and the result was great.
While I like to make my salad dressings, I will use a bottled product occasionally. The same holds true for BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, or other ingredients.
I would never try to make curry seasonings. I do not have the background or time to hunt down the ingredients necessary. There are some excellent curry products in the store. The same holds true for other ethnic ingredients.
I am not above using store bought Thai or Indian simmering sauces. I found some that were terrific. I could never replicate the flavor without a lot of trial and error.
Creme Anglaise is a custard sauce used for desserts. Making custard is tricky the first few times. Why take a chance? Creme Anglaise is ice cream base. You can save time by using good quality melted vanilla ice cream.
I am also not above using store bought pie or pizza dough.
We all have time issues. We also forget were are out of something. If there are ways to simplify cooking, substitute ingredients or techniques, why not use them?
Even renowned chefs take short cuts in their kitchens. They have to to keep meals flowing out promptly. Note, these are educated short cuts that only one with a very discerning palate would notice.
You should know how to do things the proper way. Sometimes it is easier and faster. But, in a pinch, like if you are out of something, you can use short cuts.
The one thing you do need to look out for is salt content, sodium on the labels. If you salt your food and use some of these, you will have a problem.
I am by no means advocating you take short cuts all the time. You should learn how to cook things the right way. Once you develop some skill, you will find it is not hard. There are times when the short cut is more efficient, especially if at the last minute you realize you are out of flour to make a roux or you forgot to buy eggs to make that custard sauce.
Make the grocery store your friend. Serve good meals to friends and family. Share the love.