DIY Food

Making Dish-Brighteners With What You Already Have

July 25, 2012

Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today, a very special guest demonstrates how to make sauces that will add sparkle to any dish. 


Our friend Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal, is back with another helpful video and this time, she's saving us from dullness in the flavor department. She's teaching us how to make "brighteners" -- simple sauces made with whatever is lying around the kitchen, that will perk up any dish. Here, she shows us five.

Shop the Story

Check out the video and share your "brightening" tricks with us in the comments. 


Why bother learning how to make brighteners? Let Tamar tell you why: 

"'Brightening' is a great strategy for summer -- though it's good in any season -- because we want to cook things simply: simply boiled potatoes, simply sliced, ripe tomatoes, simply cooked corn. And if we ever want to eat any of those things the next day, or to just give them a little sparkle, brighteners are an excellent strategy. And learning it now is a little like canning in the summer: you store up something for the cold months. Here, you get good at making exciting little relishes and sauces, and then when food is plainer, and you're more likely to be dealing with stale bread, day old rice, leftover pasta, you can whip out the skill you learned over the summer, just like you would a jar of pickles, and use it to combat winter's cold."

If you want to see more of what Tamar is all about, check out this recent interview, and pick up her book here

Today's video was shot and edited by Adriana Stimola.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • LLStone
  • MeghanVK
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
I'm a freelance food and prop stylist, writer/editor, and video producer.


LLStone July 25, 2012
Great video! I love her ideas, and her book is outstanding.
LLStone July 25, 2012
Great video! I love her ideas, and her book is outstanding.
MeghanVK July 25, 2012
What a great video.

My brightener is a total cheap trick: truffle salt. Suddenly these scrambled eggs I made are special! I also find that any vinaigrette or salad dressing recipe can become an extremely pungent, flavorful sauce if I sharply reduce the amount of oil.
Kristen M. July 25, 2012
Tamar, since reading An Everlasting Meal, I've been making more and more of these impromptu brighteners, but you've given me even more ideas here. Love watching them come together!