I made a perfect steak the other night. I was inside doing baked potatoes and such but seasoned the steaks and my husband did not overcook them. He knows better now that when there’s a wonderful meal on his plate not to douse it in H-P or A-1 sauce.
Come morning when there is a bit of steak left I cook it with his eggs and then he can have sauce with it. I was horrified years ago the first time he asked for sauce.
When I bring something to the table I have tasted it and make sure it is seasoned correctly, which is why I never have salt or pepper on the table. It really hurts my feelings when someone takes a perfectly cooked steak and asks for steak sauce to drown it and lose all the flavor I imparted into that steak.
As for garnishes, forget the parsley “trees” as I asked the butcher for as a kid because I’d never seen a fresh herb before. Only use something that enhances and, at a cocktail party, identifies what is in the dish. My husband is deathly allergic to anything that swims and I failed once to place a little crisscross of salmon over a salmon mousse, only a sprig of dill, and ended up running to get him antihistamines as he brushed his teeth.
If you’ve a pasta dish with cheese, garnish it with that cheese and also basil if basil is in the sauce. When I make a chicken liver mousse with apple and walnuts I place a decorative slice of apple on top with a walnut to make sure those who are allergic to nuts know what is in the dish.
On the slightly crazy side I do know how to make frills of parchment paper. Say I french a rack of lamb leaving only the “lollipop” if I cook it in a hot oven or grill I can make parchment paper “frills” for the tops of the bones. Make them and attach after they cook, while they’re resting.
I always wondered why Julia Child’s turkeys et al always had frills. Perhaps hers were made professionally by food stylists but I can make my own and would love to teach an artistic child to marinate and grill that lamb and while it’s cooking, make parchment frills to surprise his/her parents at dinner.
No foams. No immersion circulators. No room in my kitchen and I’ll stick to old school. We just thought outside the box and sent a friend who got married this weekend a key set of my favorite kitchen tools. They are purposeful but many cooks will not have them so we hope they appreciate the care we put into these varied selections. Congratulations and best wishes, you two! Cheers, Dee