Considering Adding Herbs and Spices in Your Diet?
Chew on this:
- Bouquet garni is a French term for “garnished bouquet.” It is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string or filled in a small sachet or tea strainer and mainly used to make soup, casseroles and stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients and removed prior to serving. There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include thyme, bay leaf and parsley.
- Red pepper intensifies in flavor during cooking; be sure to add in small increments to avoid overpowering heat! Try our recipe for Thai Salmon that features red pepper flakes
- Before using dried herbs, crush them with a mortar and pestle to release their aromatic oils and provide the maximum flavor to your dish. If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, use a small bowl and the back of a spoon instead. Or if you prefer, rub the herbs between your thumb and two fingers.
- When using fresh herbs, chop the leaves very fine. The more cut surface exposed, the more flavor will be released. Kitchen shears are ideal for cutting fresh herbs, but a knife can also be used.
- When doubling a recipe, do not double spices and herbs. Increase amounts by 1½ times. Add more if needed.
- Curry powder is a blend of spices used in Indian cuisine. The most constant ingredients in curry powders are cumin, coriander, and turmeric; the variables may be any of cayenne pepper, mustard, fenugreek, along with some sweet aromatics such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamon. Aside from its use in curry recipes, curry powder can be used to add zest and color to simple grain pilafs, lentil soups and stews, potato dishes, and egg recipes such as quiches or frittatas. Try our recipe for Curry Roasted Shrimp that features curry powder
- Five Spice Powder is a blend of spices used in Oriental cookery. While the same five spices are not always used, some of the most common components are anise, fennel, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger. The overall effect is sweet and slightly spicy. Five-spice powder can be a nice addition to grilling sauces, black bean sauce, and miso sauces.
- Saffron is the most expensive of all spices. It is derived from the dried, brilliant-yellow stigma of the autumn crocus. Saffron is primarily used in rice dishes, such as fruit-and-nut pilafs or the Spanish classic arroz con pollo. A common substitute for saffron is turmeric.
- Add herbs several hours or overnight to cold foods such as dips, cheese, vegetables and dressings to allow the flavors to blend. Try our recipe for Corn and Black Bean Salsa
- Herbs and spices do much more than add flavor to our food. Incorporating these aromatics into our diet can help us cut down on some less healthy ingredients that involve extra salt, sugars and saturated fats. Research shows that herbs and spices may be important for our health. If you think about it, herbs and spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years.
Try these Gourmet Selections selected by our Dietitian!