Reliving the delight ~ Making a dish your own

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about the overall delight I take in flavors and my quest to make them my own. I love the flavors of a new season because they are old friends coming back for a visit. And I love to see what restaurants will do with those fresh seasonal treats. The best challenge for me is to taste a dish and then go home and see if I can duplicate it. And I always make sure to add my favorite flavors and make the dish my own.

The first time I did this was with a pork tenderloin dish at a restaurant not too far from my home called Riverside Cafe in Roscoe, NY
(http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48517-d2430997-Reviews-Riverside_Cafe_Lodging-Roscoe_Catskill_Region_New_York.html). It is a rustic restaurant along the Beaverkill and a real hidden treasure. The food is delicious and, perhaps even more important, it is consistent. They serve a pork tenderloin meal that I never tire of eating. As is my habit, though, I wanted to make it myself. And I did. I made it over and over. We are pork tenderloin fans, but I was never able to duplicate the sauce that comes with it. I haven’t given up, but with the sauce still a mystery, I enjoy eating it there.

At the Bluestone Grill in Hancock, NY (http://www.bluestonegrill.com/), I have been delighted with flavors of the season. Despite the variety, the plate I cannot seem to pass up there is the duck quesadilla. It has moist and tender duck, bacon jam, and fontina cheese. I am sure I have mentioned that fontina cheese is the best cheese on the planet, in my humble opinion. But more importantly, I went home and made bacon jam. No, really. I wanted to see if I could. And I did with the help of this recipe: http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2011/01/17/bacon-jam-a-k-a-oooh-mommy-jam/. It was surprising and delicious, but so much work for so little jam. We enjoyed it on steak quesadillas and I put it on toast under an egg for breakfast. So we ate and enjoyed the jam, but for me it remains a treat I leave for Bluestone’s Chef Susan to make.

So this weekend when I tasted the Old Mill’s creamy carrot soup, I decided to jump right to take it home and make it my own. And I did. And frankly, I like mine better. (Shhh. It’s our secret.) Well, of course, because when you make your own food, it tastes better. You know what you like best and you will make sure whatever you are cooking tastes good to you. And if you haven’t been cooking with this rule of thumb, start!

Seeking flavors and enjoying them at home can save you money and definitely keeps you in control of what goes into your meals (healthy and wholesome, I hope!). It is a challenge that always makes you the winner. Sometimes you decide that yours is better, and it becomes a favorite to prepare ~ a keeper. Sometimes you decide it is a treat you will always enjoy out. Either way, be sure that you are always on the quest for fresh, delicious, consistent, and seasonal foods.

Next time you go out to eat, don’t choose your favorite on the menu. Choose a new item from the menu, try it, and then go home and make it your own. You will be glad you did!

Happy flavors!

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