To completely satisfy your appetite, whether it be literally, therefore with food and drink, or figuratively as we seek to fulfill our needs in all immeasurable areas of life.
To equate contentment with satiation is somewhat accurate except that satiation requires us to engage with something outside of ourselves, to choose well, to know much about what and why we are pursuing it, and thus to know ourselves and physiology as well as nutrition well. Granted, the ‘knowing ourselves’ is a shared cross-over between contentment and satiation if we are to attain either which is why when I began to ponder today’s focus of making our everydays taste better, I naturally began thinking about the literal sense of ‘taste’ as it appeals to our palate, but then began to expand the breadth of ‘tasting better’ as it pertains to how we move through our days – the decisions we make, the structure, the rituals and routines.
And with holiday feasting just around the corner as well as a new year that often brings with it a reassessment of how we are caring for our health, I thought today’s episode a wonderful topic to explore because we really can eat well and deliciously all year round, thereby elevating the taste of our everydays.
Let’s take a look at simple, yet dependable ways to ensure what you cook and eat will satiate your appetite.
1.Season your food (i.e. good salt and freshly ground pepper)
The one detail that is sooooo simple to improve the quality, thus the pleasure and deliciousness of your food, and therefore achieving satiation more quickly is to season your food while you are cooking (not after). And when we say seasoning, the fundamentals are all you really need – salt and pepper, but not just any salt and pepper. I’ll let a three-Michelin-starred chef do the talking here: Upon reading a profile piece on the French chef that owns Le Bernardin in New York City Eric Ripert (his new cookbook is Seafood Simple) when asked what his pantry is always stocked with, he shared, “olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs de Provence. It’s all you need.” He goes on to share a moment cooking with his son recently in which his son inquired, “But Dad, you have only used salt and pepper? We need more than this.” Ripert, confident in what he was doing nudged his son to try the food, and upon doing so, his son was amazed at how much we can do “with products that have so much flavor within them. Salt extracts that flavor and pepper adds a little spice.”
The key is to purchase quality salt. You want fine sea salt to season with, and again, trust the French. I buy a large two pound tub of Fleur de Sel de Guerande and fill my large pedestal salt holder in my kitchen (seen in photo below). I also use flaky sea salt from Britain, Maldon, named at the seaside town where the salt is harvested. Maldon has received a royal warrant from her royal highness the queen in 2012. I too buy a large tub of this and keep a small bowl in my kitchen filled with it for finishing food just before it is done cooking, such as sunny-side up eggs. You don’t need as much flaky sea salt as the crystals are quite large.
And when it comes to pepper, I talk all about why you definitely want to purchase whole peppercorns not only for elevated flavor, but to save your budget, in episode #4 of this season of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show – L’escalope de Saumon à L’oseille, as well as talk about the difference between black and white pepper and when to use each. I have a separate grinder for black peppercorns and white peppercorns and again, I share why I do this in episode #4.
2. Always have fresh lemons on hand
Whether for hot lemon water in the morning, which is not only a bright way to gently begin the day, but has oodles of health benefits as it helps detoxify the body, to adding lemon juice in vinaigrettes on a simple salad, zest on your fish or in your sauce, lemons are a simple way to add an abundance of freshness as well as good for you, and yep, satiating flavor. Oh, and of course, adding a bit of lemon juice to a simple dessert crêpe with a dash of sugar (recipe below). Yum!
I usually am picking up three lemons each week to always have on hand, and because they are enjoyed so regularly, if ever I don’t see a lemon or two in my pedestal compote on the island, I know it is time to go to the market to pick up my weekly quota.
Seen here, my pedestal compote that holds my lemons, along with other fruit. Looks like I need to pick up a few more!
3. Quality olive oil
If you spend any time in the kitchen cooking, you know that not all olive oils are made alike, so it really is a tasting game which is fun to do as you narrow down what you like and what fits into your budget. I usually pick up my olive oil from Trader Joe’s as I go through so much, but even picking it up at TJ’s I know which ones I like and which ones, to my tastebuds, have no flavor or flavor that is just not to my liking.
Of course, there are different uses for olive oil, but for me, it is largely for cooking, adding to a skillet as I cook down the alliums – shallots or onions of any kind – along with the garlic and other base ingredients. I also enjoy a homemade vinaigrette, and so absolutely want to make sure the olive oil is a good quality. Wherever you shop for your olive oil, just make sure it is enhances the flavor of what you are cooking and not detracting to it or playing a benign role. Olive oil should add a subtle flavor component that punches up the dish just enough. Have fun experimenting and for seasoned olive oil connoisseurs, please do share your favorite brands that you trust and repeatedly go to.
4. Enjoy an afternoon tea with a delicious petite nibble, le goûter
Aside from the actual cooking of the food we love and ensuring it tastes deliciously, let’s make sure to make room regularly for savoring the day as doing so absolutely nourishes us.
A daily ritual I do my wholehearted best to incorporate every day of the week whether at my home or out at a favorite bakery is afternoon tea with a petite nibble. Sometimes the nibble is fresh fruit from the farmers’ market or my own garden, and sometimes it is a sweet, scrummy nibble such as a biscuit (be sure to check out the Petit Plaisir for this episode as I have a new find that I am loving for just this daily ritual of a nibble).
And of course, the tea needs to be lovely all on its own. As I shared in last episode – #368 – What Is A Simple Sophisticate? The 14 Characteristics – not only do I now use a tea strainer for this daily ritual as I use loose tea, but I am savoring the addition of second flush Darjeeling tea as my afternoon tea of choice. I share all of my favorite teas, most English and French, here.
Of course, tea may not be your preference, so choose what you love, a hot cuppa coffee, a latte or a favorite drink of any kind and so long as we do not rush ourselves, savoring, sipping and nibbling, we gradually become more at ease with this slowing down and I have a feeling you will come to treasure this special time in your day, and may even find that slowing down throughout the day brings more quality to how you engage with the world.
And to marry both worlds that so many TSLL readers love, the French and the British traditions – afternoon tea and the afternoon le goûter – well, it just seems like a fantastic idea to give a go.
5. Use flavorful liquid substitutes instead of water in your cooking and baking
Such a simple switch up in a recipe, such as exchanging the water in a pastry recipe for fresh orange juice, which is something I have been doing for over a year now just adds a subtle punch-up of the flavor where there was none. Similarly, in cooking if you are making couscous or any other rice dish, instead of water, use broth. You don’t have to fully substitute it (but you can), but you add a bit more flavor infused into each nibble.
6. Fresh herbs
One of the simplest and most delicious ways to elevate the main dish, say of fish, is to go simple on the ingredients, but keep those ingredients fresh and from the garden. I have been enjoying salmon regularly rubbed in olive oil infused with freshly chopped herbs such as Italian parsley, chives and dill. I add a bit of lemon zest, and slather the fish (skin left on or taken off) with this mixture, and not only does it keep it moist throughout the cooking process, it infuses so much lovely flavor and doesn’t require much effort or expense.
Herbs, as we know, are vast in their options, and one of the best books I have found for finding inspiration for what pairs well with which ingredient is The Flavour Thesaurus (2012) and its follow up book The Flavour Thesaurus: More Flavors released just this past May. As well Judith Hann’s cookbook Herbs, a British cook and gardener is full of ideas for seasonal cooking and baking with the herbs available in your garden.
7. Sauté fresh herbs in butter for simple amplifying of their flavor
You may remember back in episode #360 (listen as I make them in my kitchen for the episode) I shared for the Petit Plaisir a simple addition I have added to my omelette and that is freshly chopped chives sautéed for maybe 30 seconds in butter before being drizzling on top of my omelette. First, the aromatics of the chives will come to your attention and then by adding that to the top of your dish, you actually know you have chives on your omelette as opposed to simply chopped them and adding them without sautéeing which is primarily more aesthetic than aromatic.
You can do a similar thing with your dried herbs and spices by letting them bloom in olive oil or butter, and then adding them to your dish whatever you might be cooking. It simply intensifies the flavor, so a little goes a long way.
8. Invest in quality butter
I am a broken record about this must-do for quality results in both baking and cooking, but it continues to deliver delicious results. The French and Belgians know why butter is a dish-maker and so to find a butter with a high butter-fat count (I look for 70% or higher), is to ensure there is full flavor. Take the opportunity to do a butter tasting in your kitchen, and discover the difference so that when you go to the grocery store, you are purchasing a staple ingredient that will enhance the dish or confection you want to taste its best.
Something to also have on hand is both unsalted (best for baking and cooking), and salted butter (for spreading on your favorite piece of bread). In the most recent episode of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show (episode #6, season 6), I share my favorite butter and how it is the key ingredient in making delicious French croissants.
episode #6, season 6
9. Understand which herbs are fine and which are hardy, and thus when to add them to your dishes
This is something I talked about in season 1, episode #4 of the cooking show. Knowing when to add herbs to your dishes will ensure their flavor is incorporated as you had hoped, or as the recipe calls for.
Fine herbs (or tender herbs), the classic four as coined in writing for the first time in 1903 by French chef Auguste Escoffier are tarragon, parsley, chives, and chervil (a French herb similar to parsley with a touch of anise flavor). To this group, you can also add basil, as a tender herb grows on an edible stem and needs to be added at the end of the cooking process to retain the flavor, as do all of the other fine/tender herbs. Hardy herbs can be added while you are cooking or baking; and speaking of hardy herbs, really anything you don’t already see listed above, and the technical definition is any herb that has a woody stems that are inedible, thus rosemary, thyme,
episode #4, season 1
10. Know how to use garlic – the more you chop, the more intense the flavor
If you love garlic, then you will want to mash and/or crush your garlic cloves. But if you only want a subtle garlic flavor, then roughly chop the cloves. Essentially, the more you break down the cells of the garlic, the more flavor you will taste. If you are crushing your garlic and mincing it very finely, but want to soften the intensity, add a bit of salt to the mortar and pestle.
11. Conclude the day with a dark chocolate nibble – truffle or square of chocolate
The flavonols in cocoa, which dark chocolate has a high percentage of (70% or more in the best chocolates) reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and so yep, dark chocolate helps to satiate your appetite. The less cocoa in your chocolate, so think milk chocolate or the least chocolate is white chocolate, the more sugar you have in your chocolate bar or truffle, and thus the less likely your appetite will be suppressed and you will actually want more chocolate which is actually a craving for sugar.
As I have shared for over a decade here on the blog and podcast, one of my favorite evening rituals is to sit down with a dark chocolate truffle, such as one from Arrowhead Chocolate, or simply a square of dark chocolate sometime infused with almonds, and pair with a cup of tisane (herbal tea) whenever I have not indulged in a proper dessert. I become both satiated and calm as I unwind the day.
A significant part of eating well is knowing what our body needs to feel satiated. I can remember as a college student that I would wake up in the middle of the night starving as I was just beginning to learn how to eat on my own without the caretaking of my mother to provide well for us our quality meals as well as snacks. My body was craving something I wasn’t feeding it and it became frustrating because I didn’t understand what I needed. Now that I know how to eat well which includes eating food that tastes delicious, I am not over-eating and actually quite look forward to each of my meals because I know how to cook and have discovered it is really quite simple to add delicious, and thus satiating flavor.
Eating well and deliciously can be our modus operandi, and need not be exclusive of one another when it comes to food and our daily eating routine. Once we find our rhythm, stock our kitchen well, have an eye for what to pick up at the market based on taste-tests, the routines of cooking, grocery shopping and eating become a true delight.
Santé ! and Bon Appétit !
~Live in the states? Shop these delicious spice biscuit hazelnut cream filled cookies here.
~Explore more episodes of The Simple Sophisticate here.