Today's post is something a little different. It's a worksheet that we've put together for when we're working on new recipes and ideas. There's a link at the end to a pdf in case you want to download it and print it out. We don't necessarily go through the entire checklist for every situation, but when we need a little kick to help us figure out what direction we want to move in, this helps us see the light.
The Idea Box
choice is an essential ingredient in creativity
Idea Generation: inspirations, stories
Tastes- really flavors
Personal Style/ Interpretation
Complementary Combinations: practical experience, cultural uses and scientific matching.
New Ideas: breaking the mold, what we have not seen or done before?
Food Science: how do ingredients interact and work together? And why?
What makes an ingredient have flavor?
Cultural Uses of ingredients and specific dishes
What is the inspirational ingredient/dish?
What makes them delicious?
What is the history?
How are they traditionally used?
What is the new context?
What do we really want to experience with these ingredients?
What are the different parts of the ingredient and how can they be used? Ie: leaf, stem, seed, fruit, flower and pollen.
How does the ingredient change during cleaning, cutting, cooking?
How can we make them even better?
- Bringing ingredients together based on their innate structure and combining ingredients by taste and then looking at flavor profiles
- How can the flavor of similar ingredients support one another?
- What contrasting flavors will best highlight the inspiration?
- How can we layer flavors to build on and enhance the base note?
- What temperature best suits each component of a dish?
- How much do we want to cook an ingredient?
- How does temperature affect the final flavor and texture?
- Basting with flavors and aromatics
- Injecting foods with aroma
- Marinating foods with aroma
- Aromatic glazes and coatings
- How do surrounding aromas affect flavor?
- Top Notes, Middle Notes, Bottom Notes
Textures: breaking ingredients down, adding structure, changing how an ingredient is perceived
- What can be altered for textures: lightening, crisping, strengthening, weakening
- How does texture affect flavor perception? Soft, creamy, dry, crispy, crackly, rubbery, short, waxy, sticky, flaky, crumbly, smooth, mushy, hard, griddled, snappy, soft
- How does texture affect the experience of eating a dish? Keep the diner involved.
- Manipulation Example: Butternut Squash
- Cream/milk with xanthan gum and gum Arabic
a) set and diced
b) as a blanket/sauce sheet/noodle
e) dried as crisp
f) semi dried in oven/dehydrator to make skin on outside and soft interior
- Stock From Seeds
- Butter flavored by cooking pulp from stocks
- Dried pulp from Juice
- Spice mix
Layering Flavors A+B>C
- Adding ingredients at the right time
- Dilution of flavors
- Flavor Synergy: the building of flavors to make a greater overall whole
- What color is it supposed to be?
- Can we enhance the natural color?
- What color can we make it, using a color to indicate change, mask a surprise, or increase appeal?
Balancing Flavors: are the flavors in each component balanced? In the dish overall? What is missing? What is over-emphasized?
12. Dried (tomato, dates, prunes)
17. Aromatic Spices
24. Acidity: lactic, malic, tartaric, cultured, molasses
Umami Flavor Enhancers
- Fermented ingredients: cocoa, vanilla, coffee, sauerkraut, kimchee…
- Country Hams
- Smoked foods:
- Charred foods: jalapeno, vegetables
- Toasted foods: milk solids
10. Caramelized foods: sugar
Environment: How does environment influence/affect flavor
- Service environment
Extrapolation: the progression of ideas from the starting point.
- How does the ingredient/dish inspire us?
- What does it remind us of?
- Why do we enjoy it?
- How can we make it better?
Juxtaposition: reconfiguring a dish to engage and surprise the diner.
- Putting flavors, techniques, combinations, for contrasting effects (in our case those that are unexpected and un-thought of) to generate greater flavors ie: hot cold, sweet and salty, soft and crunchy
Substitution: changing ingredients or textures or cooking methods to refresh classic dish or present an ingredient in new ways.
- What are my favorite parts of dish? How can I improve on them?
- What can be used for the liquid to add flavor?
- What can be used for the fat to add flavor?
- What can be used for the flour to add flavor/change textures?
- What can be used to apply heat/remove moisture?
- What ingredient can stand at the center of the dish?
Emotional and Environmental connections to food: experience based.
- Family dinners
- Birthday parties
- A sea breeze
- A campfire
- A child hood picnic
- A special dinner
- A lazy breakfast
- Introducing a new idea: flavor, texture, color, techniques, presentation
- Intuitive process, what makes sense in this dish?
- Why does it work?
- Scientific process: what ingredients are similar.
- Revisiting classics
Make notes on process & any new discoveries for future use.
Here is the the Idea box for you to use, fill out and put to use in your kitchen. Download, print, email, start creating.