Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting to know herb

Two of the most valuable skills in the kitchen for money saving and lifestyle improvement would be learning how to use and maintain a good sharp knife and how to use spices. Both can help you transform cheap, ho hum kinds of things into delicious and healthful meals. I have a pretty respectable spice rack that gets used 3 meals a day in some form or another . It is not my only stash of botanical things- I have a whole separate cabinet of medicinal herbs that we uses. But as far as cooking, meet my little friend:

One of the best reasons I have found to use spices is to avoid high sodium hits from unexpected sources. Like this healthy looking thing:

Hodson Mills Whole Wheat Couscous with Garlic and Basil. Also contains flax ad soy , for an added boost of omega fatty acids. Omega fats are very important for health , and a boost is a good one. I have flax meal in my fridge, I have loads of garlic, I have fresh and frozen basil, but I picked this up because it sounded like a good way to save me a step in the kitchen. It did, but at what cost ? Shall we examine ???

625 milligrams of sodium per serving ! That is one fourth of the days sodium intake in one serving. This fact took the healthy aspect of this product and threw it right out the window. I made it because we really eat low on the sodium scale , but for the average person, this little side could send you into dangerous waters. It would not be at all difficult to make this dish with your own whole wheat couscous and spices.

Sometimes people get very intimidated about using herbs and spices. What goes with what is something we pick up from the other cooks in our life, and if they have a limited repertoire, we end up with the same. Here is a list of what spices I know to go with a small list of foods. Perhaps it will help some of you widen your own repertoire !

Beans (dried) — bay,cumin, cayenne, chili, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, thyme
Beef — basil, bay, cinnamon, chili, cilantro, curry, cumin, garlic, marjoram, mustard, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme
Breads — anise, basil, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, lemon peel, orange peel, oregano, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme
Cheese — basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chili, chives, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, horseradish, lemon peel, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, tarragon, thyme
Chicken — allspice, basil, bay, chives, cinnamon, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mustard, paprika, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme,
Corn —basil, chili, curry, dill, marjoram, parsley, savory, thyme
Eggs — basil, chervil, chili, chives, curry, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, tarragon, thyme
Fish — anise, basil, bay, cayenne, celery seed, chives, curry, dill fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon peel, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, marjoram
Fruits — allspice, anise,basil, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mint
Lamb — basil, bay, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, dill, garlic, marjoram, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme
Potatoes — basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, tarragon, thyme
Salad Dressings — basil, celery seed, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, thyme
Salads — basil, caraway, chives, dill, garlic, lemon peel, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme
Soups — basil, bay, chervil, chili, chives, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, marjoram, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme
Sweets — allspice, angelica, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, mace, nutmeg, mint, orange peel, rosemary
Tomatoes — basil, bay, celery seed, cinnamon, chili, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, gumbo file, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme


spunkysuzi said...

You've just given me a lot of new ideas :) thanks!

Valeri-Theodor said...

I enjoy using spicy herbs on my meals A LOT! I am a fan of spicy even hot herbs. They can transform any meal into an appetizing temptation. Especially for things like spaghetti or pizza - the herbs make the dish!

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