As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to get sidetracked. So many times I've promised myself to write more regularly, and every time something else has come up. Or maybe I naturally eschew anything that involves the slightest bit of routine and discipline.
I'm pretty excited with many things going on in my life at the moment. One day after coming back from California last November, I started a new job in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. While it's not food-related, my job involves marketing, which I also find fascinating because it deals with shaping customer experiences and perceptions. So far it's been going well, and I'm enjoying it very much.
I'm also looking forward to moving away from downtown Toronto in a few weeks. I'll only be moving 10 minutes west of my current abode, but after living in Toronto's theatre district for the past four years, I'm more than ready to trade the neighbourhood's crowds and glitz for the tranquility and scenic views of the city's waterfront. Of course, I'm also excited that I'll have a nicer kitchen and more room for (food) storage.
With everything that's been going on, I haven't managed to cook as much as I would have liked. For the most part, I've been surviving by cooking one dish on the weekend, and eating it every night for dinner. This isn't really all that bad, especially when the dish is tasty. With my one-dish strategy in mind, I've been making a lot of braises. From David Chang's Braised Short Ribs to Daniel Boulud's Asian-Style Duck à l'Orange... dishes like these can easily keep for an entire week and actually taste better as their flavours develop in the fridge.
So while I haven't been doing a lot of cooking, I've still been thinking about food a lot. Over the past year, I've been trying to learn more about what makes food taste great. I've been trying to improve my sense of taste by tasting and learning how to describe wines and chocolates. And for the sole purpose of educating my palate (so that I know what good food tastes like) I took the arduous task of dining at some wonderful restaurants whenever I travelled. From New York's Jean-Georges and Momofuku to Vancouver's West, and Vij's, I've learned a great deal about how wonderful food can be. And at some point in the future, I'd love to be able to cook food that's just as delicious.
The area I'm most interested in at the moment is... flavour. I guess that seems pretty obvious, but I think it's often overlooked in favour of texture. Tender, juicy ribs; rich and creamy ice cream; melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. While texture is certainly integral to the deliciousness of any dish, for me at least, flavour is more important. And by flavour, I don't mean the flavour of the sauce or topping, but the actual flavour of the main ingredient (the meat, bread, vegetables etc.).
There are, as I'm sure you're aware, many ways to coax flavour out of ingredients. Whether it's adding salt, lemon juice, or using techniques like sous vide to prevent flavour from escaping, I'm interested in anything I can do to make ingredients shine. Starting with the best ingredients I can find and afford, I'd like to be able to cook the shrimpiest tasting shrimp, and make an orange sorbet that has a flavour of a thousand ripe oranges bursting in my mouth.