Bonnie: Dinner confirmed it.This simmer sauce was on my ever growing to consider Bite of the Best list. I had liked this red curry flavor when I tested the line of Thai Simmer sauces for Supermarket Sampler. The other flavors aren’t as tasty.

To use, just dump the jarred liquid in a pot, add cut vegetables and meat, chicken or fish, then simmer for 10 minutes. It’s that simple.

I knew this sauce had made the grade when I served it at a recent surprise mini birthday dinner party and everyone at the table asked me for the recipe. Mini, I say, because the friend whose b-day it was doesn’t like to have large parties or celebrations in her honor. But I couldn’t let her birthday go by unnoticed, especially since it was a biggie.

I asked everyone to come early on a night we played bridge, with the premise being I needed their assistance in taste-testing lots of foods — as I was about to begin traveling on business and needed to write on those products while gone. Could they help out before we played bridge? The ploy worked.

Having learned the concept of mise en place, a chef’s term meaning “everything in its place,” I had cut all the meat and veggies ahead of time.

I didn’t start cooking until after everyone had arrived, the wine was poured and conversation was underway. It took me just about 15 minutes to make dinner. That included grilled lamb (as I chose to cook the meat on the grill instead of in the sauce), vegetable curry and brown rice. Yes, brown rice — as there are many quick, delicious options now available. (A new one to be described on Bite of the Best shortly, so stay tuned.)

This cooking sauce, though, is so new that Eric — who is still living abroad — has not had the opportunity to try it. Sorry sweetie! You’ll just have to wait until you come stateside.

Bryan: The food industry continues to make it easier to bring eclectic ethnic flavors right into your home kitchen with little to no effort. Tread lightly though, as the results of these forays are not always successful; sometimes leaving us with abbreviated taste rather than abbreviated cooking process.

Food is art, so be wary of what shortcuts you take in the kitchen; not all timesavers have the desired positive outcome. Some flavors can never truly be duplicated. I have yet to see a bottled pasta sauce that will ever compare to the slow stovetop simmer of homemade meat sauce, and I don’t know if we’ll ever find better hot fudge than those secret recipes handed down over familial generations. Some things are better left to the chef, and not the “industry.”

On the flip-side, who has the time? In a perfect world, my leisure would increase exponentially and I’d be happy to sit at home, tending to the flavors and smells emanating from a kitchen in use. In reality, I find I have no more than 20 minutes dedicated to dinner preparation on any one day (as risotto, pot roast and pasta sauces doom themselves to obscurity).

To that end, any shortcut worth its salt (and not too salty) is okay by me. We continue to try and bring products that cut the time (but not the flavor) to your attention. I’d love for everybody to have their way in the kitchen, but until that day, let’s talk about what actually works. I’ve tried a variety of Thai-inspired home sauces that are often combined with dried noodles or other pre-mixed vegetables, and none has ever really delivered until now. Thai Kitchen is a new name to me and one that has simply got it right with their Red Curry Simmer Sauce. This sauce does all the work; simply chop any ingredients you choose into a pan and simmer. Dinner is served. This is restaurant quality curry from a jar — what more can you ask for? Take the extra 10 minutes saved from dinner and get working on that hot fudge!

Eric: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” – Mark Twain

A simple thought of life, that most people tend to overlook, is to enjoy what you eat. It seems to me that the modern day lifestyle, created from our fast-paced culture, has given rise to the “fast-food Epicureans.” And when I actually put some thought to it, I would bet that the majority of the X & Y generations have never had the pleasure of smelling the aroma formed from the marriage of finely chopped garlic and onion sautéing in olive oil. It’s so simple to overlook the fact that in the time it would take to drive and get food, or even order it for delivery, a person could create a meal (something that I try to make my friends realize).

It seems to me that for some people, it’s the fear of the knife, and for others it’s the confusion of how to create taste. Cooking is an art, but just like any other form of art, it takes practice. Something I would offer to always keep in mind is to use simple ingredients; KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is my creed for cooking. If you learn to understand how different flavors help to accentuate base ingredients, you’ll never be disappointed with what you prepare. Personally, I have become accustomed to no longer preparing food (or my drinks) with much more than one major ingredient.