I love to watch the food network, i get some good ideas,
but in all of the shows, the ingredients (Yes, even the left over or discard episodes of chopped) use expensive, high quality products.
Of course with the time restraints in the competition, it might be necessary, but a cooks true talent is making something tasty from cheep ingredients.
I regularly purchase cheep ingredients and CREATE!
Some always talk of fresh food, but i buy my use the next day meat and freeze it and there are advantages.
On the molecular level, freezing pops open cell membranes making flavors easier to be lost, but also allowing flavors you want to add to penetrate.
An example is my grilled salmon, purchased and always frozen and allowed to thaw in a marinade of orange juice, smoked salt, crushed, smoked hot pepper and paprika and i do this overnight in the refrigerator.
The flavor simply does not penetrate if i use fresh fish.
One of the complaints i have heard about fish on a grill or smoker, is that it is dry.
Guess what? Not what i cook.
The manner i grill it imparts a smoked flavor, but because it is quick and a high heat, i consider it a grill method.
On a grill with the charcoal just white hot and i add my smoking wood that is NOT wet (usually apple, cherry or maple) and the temperature is about 300 F
I Skin side down!.
Close the cover for 10 minutes.
Smoke billows out.
Open the cover and the flames begin for 3 to 5 minutes and remove, by the way, the fish removes easily from the grill when it is done perfectly.
The skin is crispy, the salmon a PERFECT medium rare.
I have usually reduced marinade as a sauce for any one who wants (and you do want, it is good).
This works well with any salmon on sale and i do NOT pay more than $6 a pound.
My half a salmon will easily feed 6 with seconds (which always happens).