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Cilantro and chilies and lime, oh my!


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Which other three ingredients would you recommend that The Minimalist use instead?

That's my point exactly. These "southwestern" flavors have taken over American cuisine to the point where we can't even think of anything else. Corn and tomatoes, of course, are a natural for this combination, but other flavors could be used as well. How about Cajun? Carribbean? Thai? Greek? I think there are probably several other flavor profiles (if that's what you would call it; I'm not sure about the correct use of that term) that I can't even think of because I've never had them... because we've allowed this particular combination to take over our cuisine.

Maybe you need to redefine your "we." :wink: At the risk of sounding obvious... Bittman's not the only show in town, or in American cuisine. I would no more regard him as the voice of American cooking than I would any other New York Times columnist.

Tired of the combo? The patronize/visit/buy from/talk to other sources. :smile:

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Most of these combinations just emulate in some way a sweet (corn), sour (lime), salty (the bacon in Bittman's recipe) and hot (chili) combination. Add some cilantro for interesting pungency and you have your taste combination. Some of these combinations work particularly well together and, as has been mentioned up thread, the combination of these ingredients (well apart from the corn, but you can substitute palm sugar) are widespread in South East Asia.

My suggestion if you are sick of the combination and want to try something new? Substitute other ingredients with similar flavour profiles: you never know where it will lead you. For those of you who hate chili, try pepper as a substitute. Substitute tamarind, lemon, or any of the many flavours of vinegar for lime. For those who don't like cilantro, use other herbs. Salt can be added as itself or as fish sauce or soy sauce or oyster sauce, all of which add extra flavours. Worcestershire sauce adds salt and tamarind amongst other flavours. For sweet, you can add anything that has a sweet flavour. Some ingredients add a number of these tastes at once.

Just remember to make the final product balance on the palate and you are away.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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God. Use tarragon. Or basil.

I can't believe this actually made someone angry. In fact, I'm going to make this recipe out of spite now.

Who said I was angry?????

Let us know how it turns out. If you like it, I might want to make it myself.

There is a time and place for everything. My one and only point is, for any given flavor profile, the time is not "all the time" and the place is not "everywhere." While it's an exaggeration, there's also a lot of truth in it. A lot of people are stuck in this particular rut, and although it can certainly be a delicious rut to be in, I'm ready to move on down the road, so to speak.

Not that I wouldn't want to come back from time to time.

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