Seasonings You Can’t Live Without
Most people have the same seasoning s in their cupboards year after year. Their recipes don’t change much; they don’t experiment with flavor and they never get a chance to experience the flavors of different cultures.
The most common herbs, seasonings and spices are:
- Italian blend
Some people have a few additions to that list depending on the style of cooking they have, but usually it doesn’t vary much. Adding a few new herbs and spices to your repertoire of flavorings can add a new dimension to your recipes. Here is a list of the ones I recommend for the cook who is ready to explore.
- Cumin – cumin tastes like summer. It is warm, earthy and delicious with tomatoes, potatoes, chicken, fish, and other meats. Mix a little with your garlic butter or add to mayonnaise for a flavorful sandwich spread.
- Cardamom – with its bright citrus spice favor cardamom is a great addition to breads and other baked goods.
- Chipotle – use chipotle powder in any recipe that you would use cayenne pepper. It is a rich, hot flavor with a bit of a smoky finish.
- Finishing salts – there are numerous types of finishing salts and they are used to add flavor, color, and texture to a finished dish. Smoked salt, Himalayan pink, Hawaiian black or red are a beautiful addition to your dish when used carefully.
- Herbes de Provence – this is a mix of several herbs, but usually contains lavender and thyme as the foundation. This mixture is great with all kinds of poultry, fish, brothy soups, and tomato based dishes.
- Lemongrass – when you want a bright lemon flavor without adding the bitterness that can sometimes be found in the peel, then lemongrass is your go to herb. It has a lemony, almost lemon drop candy type of flavor that is delicious with fish, Asian cuisines, chicken, and asparagus.
- Nutmeg – is a warm, earthy spice that is essential in egg nog and other holiday desserts. It is also great in sauces, some egg dishes, and many other types. It is best to buy whole nutmeg and use a grater to get just enough for your recipe. You’ll be amazed at the difference in flavor.
- Rosemary – this is an evergreen herb that gives a bright, fresh woodsy flavor to meats – especially poultry and game. You can throw some dried Rosemary on the grill when you are grilling and your food will be infused with the flavor from the smoke.
- Smoked paprika – this can be used in the place of regular paprika in almost any recipe. Like chipotle, it adds a new layer of smoky flavor.
- Tarragon – a bright herb with a black licorice sort of flavor, tarragon is found in many French inspired dishes. It is especially delicious with chicken and pork. Choose fresh tarragon from your local store or grow it for your own use so that you can experience every bit of the flavor.
Most people choose the dried herbs in the baking section of your grocer but if you can get fresh herbs, do so. There is so much more flavor that you won’t go back to dried if you can help it.
What seasonings do you use on a regular basis?
photo credit: Marye Audet