Friday, November 11, 2005

The BEST apple recipe EVER!

Ok, I've been working hard on this one: I did a lot of research, I have tried many different versions and spent nearly 20 years perfecting every little details of this recipe.

I have been wondering about whether or not I should put this recipe on the Internet. Not that I am a very stingy person but it takes a lot of effort to let your baby go.

Here it is, just for you:

The perfect apple

1. Place an apple in the refrigerator for a few hours.
2. Take it out of the fridge and wash it carefully under running water.
3. Let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
4. Take the apple, rub it in your hands for a few seconds, look at it with anticipation, and take a nice big bite.
5. Chew and repeat #4 until the only thing left is the core.

Go try it... I'm waiting...what do you think?

Well, I guess the message I'm trying to convey here is that we sometimes overemphasize cooking (the process) instead of eating (the end result) and that sometimes ingredients are better off without our complicated techniques and seasonings. Don't misunderstand me, I love the process of cooking but sometimes it is better to just step back and let the ingredients speak for themselves.

In fact, it is really something I have got to learn. As cooks, we should aim at taste not show. Although putting a show for your friends and family is very gratifying, we should also make sure that we are not overdoing it... that we are true to our ingredients.

Looking back at my previous posts, most of my successes where very simple dishes (e.g. my fava bean dish) while most of my failures where experiments I should not have attempted without a recipe to guide me (e.g., my recent flat bread). In other words, simplicity paid off.

Sometimes, long established traditions were able to develop complex recipes rich in flavours, textures and aromas. The curry paste I made a few days ago was based on a traditional mix of spices that I simply adapted to the ingredients that where available to me and those required for the 12th edition of the Paper Chef event. I felt I was dealing with a complex mix of flavour and aromas but tradition provided me a foundation on which I could improvise. Some chefs are experts at matching flavours and aromas but I doubt the majority of us are able to imagine the result of a combination of more than three strong ingredients in a recipe.

Nature offers us a great amount of plants and animals which we could eat but very few of them made their way to our table. Over years of evolution we, as specie, selected the fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, spices and herbs that most satisfied our taste buds. And sometimes, the enjoyment of these raw little wonders simply can't be improved by our tools and techniques.

(violins and birds chirping)

Ok, I've said enough, I'm done eating my apple. I'll get back to cooking tomorrow.

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