Simple themes for packing on flavor

soy babz bites

Dipping, saucing, glazing, and pouring it on, have all been themes consistent to my kitchen table this winter. When I find a new salad dressing or dipping sauce recipe, I obsess over ways to modify the ingredients. I do this not only because it’s a delicious, but many times the same base of a recipe can develop multiple uses.

When I first began working in restaurants one of my responsibilities included making sure certain salad dressings were in stock at all times. I quickly realized this was not only for the salads, but the chef would use these basic dressings to create dipping sauces or special marinades for meat, or a hearty glazing sauce for specials.

I was continuously surprised when I discovered these simple themes for packing on flavor that were so good, simple, and even varied. Once the basics were understood, it was easy to let your taste buds go wild exploring.

A great many of my favorite dishes have always been Asian. As my culinary exploration has grown with my appetite, so has my love of Asian fusion, or combining Asian themes and flavors with other dishes more native to Kentucky. An easy way to modify any dish is the finishing touch. Many times it’s the flavor smothered onto meat after it comes out of the oven or dipped onto the dumpling before tossed onto your tongue. This tasty touch helps maintain moisture and also avoid burning the glaze.

Todays recipes do just that. I encourage you to play around with the ingredients. Maybe even create a dip or glaze of your own. Notice the themes consistent to each recipe. If you want a little more punch, add some heat. Want something sweeter? Don’t hold back on that sugar.

Good luck and enjoy!

Sweet and Salty Glaze

(I throw this on 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs and throw it in the crock pot. It’s easy and smothered in flavor.)

1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon black pepper

Kosher salt to taste

2 tbsp oil

Combine liquid in a bowl and set aside. Smother on cooked meat or fish. Smear on meat and cook further until liquid has become thick and syrupy, remove from heat and serve.

Sweet Soy Sauce Salad Dressing

1⁄4 cup honey

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

Mix ingredients in bowl or dressing container. Shake or whisk before putting on salad.

Honey-Lime Sauce

(Makes about 1/2 cup. Delicious as a dipping sauce or thrown on meat before it goes on the grill.)

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 1/2 to 2 limes)

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey