How Do You Prepare a Gourmet Meal at Home?

Gourmet cooking is not just a way to appease a grand appetite, it is a form of art, and when well practiced it can be a habit. Given the popularity of television cooking shows such as America's Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen; both of which are competition based, and in which contestants compete to earn the top place and are presented with the opportunity to start or advance a career in cooking, it is clear that there is a certain prestige associated with the art of preparing a gourmet meal. There are also a number of so called "every day cooking" shows like Sandra Lee's Semi Home Made, Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals, and Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa themed on the teaching of cooking skills that vary from the very basic to gourmet.

Preparing gourmet meals at home does not require the finely honed skills of a chef like those demonstrated on TV. What it does require is a finely tuned palate, and a remarkable sense of taste. The gourmet home cook must know what she likes, and she must know how it should taste, for one's own worst, or best in this case, critic is one's self. Once the simplest of foundations has been laid; the aspiring chef's own sense of taste, and the meal has been selected, the home gourmet can begin preparation of her gourmet meal.

Any truly successful chef will say that the quality of the ingredients is the most important part of gourmet meal preparation. This is true as well when preparing a gourmet meal at home. Fresh and delicious ingredients are the key to transforming a very simple meal into an exciting gourmet meal. Ingredients should be fresh and should be as exciting as the meal itself. Ingredients should be carefully selected to compliment each individual dish of the meal, and likewise each dish should complement the meal as a whole.

When selecting a vegetable course, the aspiring gourmet cook should consider the meat of the meal. For all types of beef, whether steak, roast, veal or ground, almost any selection of vegetables would be appropriate, as long as no two vegetables are similar, such as peas with beans, or potatoes with rice. White poultry such as chicken or turkey are complimented with vegetables that are light in color and taste. Game and lamb may be complimented with sweet vegetables, accompanied with a sweet or savory sauce. Fish should be paired with the lightest of vegetables to preserve its delicate flavors. Wonderfully pairing an appropriate vegetable with your meat will give your home cooked meals a gourmet touch.

While it can be said that the ingredients are what separate the gourmet prepared meal from the merely well prepared gourmet meal, the home gourmet should select one to three key ingredients that are unique and special. Such ingredients should stand out as primary features of a dish; they are what will make the dish gourmet. For example, add forty cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh tarragon to a pot roasted chicken, and use a ring of rolled bread dough around the top of the pot to form a seal between the pot and its lid. These three simple ingredients transform a common hearty dish of pot roasted chicken into a French farm country classic gourmet meal.

Tossing some chopped fresh Basil and garlic into a sweet cream buttered pan of store bought four cheese ravioli, along with some neatly sliced Tai peppers is an easy way to prepare a home gourmet meal from a simple package of pre-made pasta and fantastic ingredients. A savory sauce prepared from a mixture of red wine and broth, reduced and thickened with browned butter and flour to top an aged cut of filet mignon, or a caramelized crust prepared from mashed cashews and Amish Gorgonzola spread upon a tenderized cut of beef flank steak; these are among the many simple yet distinguishing touches that will transform a well made meal into a gourmet meal you can prepare at home.

Written by: Jeff VanMeter, United States

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice