Now That's a Mouthful

Episode 52: The Nimble Cook: Ingredient-first cooking.

Episode 52: The Nimble Cook: Ingredient-first cooking.

Ingredient-first cooking gives us freedom to create delicious food with the ingredients we have on hand. Having the confidence to build a meal around our own ideas of what were hungry for starts with Episode 51 Beyond Mise En Place where we talk about developing and layering flavors. In this episode we come full circle and use those techniques to get the most out of the ingredients we love.

We talk about…

  • The books that inspired this episode: The Nimble Cook and Salt Smoke Time.
  • The common error: we think about the dish we want to make rather than the ingredients we have and whether we’re inclined to invest the time to cook that recipe.
  • What if we let the ingredients take the lead?
  • Episode 51 Beyond Mise En Place and creating flavor foundations.
  • Thinking about ingredients in groupings and what becomes possible when you think that way.
  • Saving your scraps and using ingredients in ways that extend their life.
  • Scraps, and the idea that a scrap is just food you haven’t figured out how to use; the more you save the more possibilities you find yourself creating.
  • Cherie’s Roasted Egg Recipe made for Passover.
  • Episode 49 Readying our Larder and the importance of building a pantry that speaks to you; keep things accessible, and in sight.
  • Use seasonal ingredients by making flavored butters; there are abundant recipes in Salt Smoke Time.
  • Take notes as you go; don’t be afraid to write in your cookbook to see where you’ve been going, and how you’ve been changing a recipe.
  • Make her ideas a habit – 3 steps and questions to ask: (1) What do you have on hand?  (2) What can I do with what I have? (3) How can I serve what I have prepared to the best of my ability?
  • Shifting our thinking away from “making dinner.” Thinking about what is going to make me full and satisfied with what I have. It doesn’t always have to be about the food. Satisfy your needs on every level.
  • Ingredients that have the capacity to have flavor grafted onto them. Choose to start with those because they’re so versatile.
  • Stepping into your kitchen, having fun and having the confidence to start with ingredients. Let then lead you.
  • If there's one thing to take away from this Episode, Chef Donna says give thought to what you are hungry for; what will make you truly full and satisfied. The need may not always be food. Then look at your ingredients and choose those that will satisfy that need.

You’ll find recipes and more at on our Recipes page. And go to our Podcasts Page for more episodes to download or subscribe.

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These are cookbooks that contain links to the recipes we talk about in this episode. You can find more cookbooks and our reviews of them on our Cookbooks Page.