herbs & spices

Eating highly seasoned food is unhealthful, because it stimulates too much, provokes the appetite too much, and often is indigestible.”

Catharine E. Beecher

‘Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book’ (1846)

Herbs and spices are an important part of cooking. Although, it is also important to taste the actual food. Too much spice, is well…… too much.

I have listed my preferred herbs and spices along with food pairings.

Oregano has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. The dried herb is actually more flavorful than the fresh. Add to pizza, marinara sauce, potatoes and grilled chicken.

Basil is my favorite. Sweet and so versatile. Add to red based sauces, cream sauces, ice cream, Italian foods, potatoes, chicken and Thai Cuisine. This is very flavorful fresh on fresh, crusty bread with the cheese of your choice and tomato. Fresh basil is the best thing in this world besides a good cup of coffee.

Dill, very fragrant and powering. A little goes a long way. Best with grilled salmon, chicken, cream cheese and eggs. I add to egg salad for a different taste. I try to use fresh dill.

10 ideas for dill

  • egg salad or deviled eggs
  • with poached salmon in a salad
  • add to crab cakes
  • add to shrimp or lobster salad
  • saute’ chicken with lemon and dill
  • lake perch pan fried lake perch with dill
  • use in yogurt for a nice change and serve with cucumber and pita
  • potato salad
  • add to dips
  • add to roasted potatoes
  • add to butter and mix with fresh veggies such as green beans or sugar snap peas

Curry Powder is a mix of the following spices: coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and red pepper. Additional spices added might be: ginger, garlic, fennel seed, caraway, cinnamon, clove. mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, mace and nutmeg. Add curry to burgers (poultry and beef), rice dishes, chicken, turkey and gravies.

Tarragon is great with French cuisine. Rich sauces, chicken and fish. Excellent in egg dishes. Tarragon is one of the main ingredients in Bearnaise sauce (a rich, yellow sauce served often times with filet mignon). This herb is very powerful. Most of the time people either like it or they dislike it.

Fennel is highly aromatic and tastes like anise or licorice. A great spice for Italian sausage, chicken, meatballs, and vegetable dishes. Dried fennel is flavorful, too. Fresh fennel bulb resembles a large, thick green onion.

Saffron is derived from a flower, purple in color and is very expensive. That’s because each flower provides only three red staminas, and it takes approximately 14,000 of these tiny threads for each ounce of saffron. The flavor is sweet, and the color changes to yellow when absorbed. Best in rice, stews, seafood, chicken and baking.

Paprika is made from the grinding of dried bell peppers or chili peppers. Paprika adds color along with flavor. Try a good smoked version. This spice can range from sweet to spicy. Very versatile.