Successfully blending food flavors is the secret to good cooking. Once you have a basic understanding of how to combine flavors that work well together, you’ll begin to rely less on following recipes to cook successfully. You’ll gain the confidence to experiment with ingredients you’ve never thought would work together, and you’ll begin blending foods that are original, healthy and delicious.
There are many variables to think about when blending flavors: sweetness, acidity, saltiness, nutrition, spiciness, mouth feel and more. When we blend raw foods in a blender, we work with pure flavors; flavors are unaltered by by cooking and processing. Cooking is simply another color on your palette to blend with other colors to achieve balance and harmony.
No matter what you’re blending, you’ll want to highlight one flavor above all others – the “secret ingredient”. This is your main, or dominant, flavor that all other flavors support. Without a main flavor, a recipe loses focus. When you’re blending a savory tomato smoothie, it should taste, mainly, like tomato.
The enhancing flavors add complexity. They work together with each other to make the main flavor more interesting and distinct. Where the main flavor is the melody, the enhancing flavors are the harmony – the chords that bring fullness and distinction to the main flavor. Our tomato smoothie has many opportunities for subordinate flavors to shine. Think celery, carrot, radish, basil, oregano, vegetable stock etc. They form the notes in the final chord. More of some, less of others.
The accent is small, but strong and assertive – maybe even opposite. It serves to round the main flavor and all it’s supporters. It is the final punch that finishes the experience. Our tomato smoothie begs for spiciness. A Thai pepper serves as our accent.
|Too spicy||sweetness or creaminess|
|Too sweet||Add sour, spice or heat|
|Too sour||Add sweet|
|Too bland||Add salt, acidity, spice, or heat|
|Too overwhelming||dilute with main flavor, then build back up with enhancing and accent flavors|
|Too thin||first add more main flavor, then build back up with enhancing and accent flavors|