Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cooking 104: Herbs & Spices

  • In recipes, cut salt in half and add more fresh herbs and spices.
  • When doubling a recipe, herbs and spices should only be increased by one and a half times. Taste, and then add some if necessary.
  • Add sage, bay leaf and garlic at the beginning of the cooking process as they have a strong flavor. herbs with more subtle aroma such as basil, parsley, fennel are best when added at the end of the cooking process to preserve their flavor. 
  • Delicate aromas can be lost due to overcooking.
  • Cut or chop fresh herbs to expose more surface area. This will release more flavor.
  • 1 tsp dried herbs = 1 Tbsp fresh herbs
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder = 1 medium clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder = 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground ginger = 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 


Allspice - Has flavor combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; used in both sweet and savory dishes. Used for pickles, meats, boiled fish, gravies, puddings, relishes, fruit preserves, baking. 
Anise Seed - Related to parsley; has mildly sweet licorice flavor. 
Basil - Licorice-like flavor used in Italian and Thai dishes. Dried basil tastes very different than fresh. For flavoring tomato dishes and tomato paste, cooked peas, squash, snap beans, sprinkled over lam chops and poultry. 
Bay Leaf - A pungent flavor; good in vegetable and fish soups, tomato sauces and juices. Remove before serving. 
Caraway - Slightly anise flavor works well with rye breads and in sweet and sour dishes from Central Europe. Used for baking breads, sauerkraut, noodles, cheese spreads. Adds zest to fried potatoes, liver, canned asparagus.
Cardamom - Whole pods appear in pilaf rice, curries, or Scandanavian baked goods. 
Cayenne Pepper - Adds a lot to a dish without changing flavor too much; is a mixture of ground chili peppers and used in various cuisines. 
Celery Seed - Add pungent flavor; used whole or ground.
Chives - Used in salads, cream cheese, sandwiches, omelets, soups, and fish dishes.
Cilantro - Stems are quite sweet and can be added raw along with the leaves while the roots are prized by Thai chefs for curry paste. 
Cinnamon - Adds sweetness and heat to sweet and savory dishes. Sticks are often added to stews, rice, curries and removed before serving. 
Clove - Often paired with cinnamon and nutmeg, cloves and dried flower buds; have a warm, sweet flavor that works great with sweet and savory dishes. 
Cumin - Used in Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes. 
Curry Powder -A ground blend of ginger, turmeric, fenugreek seed. Used for Indian curry recipes such as lamb, chicken, and rice, eggs, vegetables, and curry puffs. 
Dill - Feathery leaves add light anise flavor to seafood, soups, salads, and other dishes. Almost always added at last minute. Keep fresh in the fridge by storing in a glass of water with a plastic bag over the top. Used for pickling recipes, adds flavor to sauerkraut, potato salad, cooked macaroni, and green apple pie.
Ginger - Peppery root; adds unique flavors to everything from stir fry to roasted meats to ginger snap cookies. 
Mace - Flavor is similar to nutmeg, but with a fragrant, delicate difference. Used for pickling, fish, fish sauce, stewed fruit, baked goods, pastries, and doughnuts. 
Marjoram - In the mint family, grown in France and Chile. Has a minty-sweet flavor. Used in beverages, jellies, and to flavor soups, stews, fish, sauces. 
Mint - Cooling, peppery bite. Perfect for summer-fresh salads or to liven up a sauce. 
Mustard - Adds heat and piquant flavor in sauces, dressings, marinades, and entrees. 
Nutmeg - Aromatic spice with a sweet and spicy flavor; adds warmth and depth to food but doesn't overpower other ingredients.
Oregano - often found in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Use dried oregano for longer stewing or dry rubs. Can be substituted for marjoram. Excellent for tomato dish, especially pizza, chili con carne, and Italian specialties. 
Paprika - Often a garnish because of its color; can add mild to hot flavor.  Great for salad dressings. 
Parsley - Fresh flavor and great health benefits. 
Poppy - Has a rich fragrance and crunchy, nut-like flavor. Excellent for topping on breads, rolls, and cookies. Also great for buttered noodles. 
Red Pepper - Dried red chili pepper, sold ground or in flakes. Works well added early to dishes that are going to cook for a while or simply shaken on near the very end. Vary greatly in heat; test before using.
Rosemary - Used fresh or dried for long cooking in soups, meats, stews and more. Use sparingly at first, add more if needed. 
Sage - Used fresh in poultry and meat stuffings, in sausage and practically all meat combinations, in cheese and vegetable combinations, or curry. 
Tarragon - Anise-like hearb in classic French foods or vinaigrettes. 
Thyme - Can be paired with almost all meats, poultry, fish, or vegetable. Tasty on fresh sliced tomatoes.
Vanilla - Aromatic spice with a warm flavor. 

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