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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Say Yes to Spices

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When you go out for entertainment at the local eatery, you want the environment pleasant, temperature perfect, service outstanding, prices within your range and finally a meal that tastes out of this world. Oh! having a "sweet one" to have a healthy conversation is always special. I have another requirement for the "sweet one." They should eat the servings and not leave piles of beautifully prepared food on the plate. Spices and herbs are a wonderful way to add this additional level of flavor without adding the fats, calories or even extra salt. The excuse of keeping ones weight down does not carry any weight. If you are eating out, make it special and eat foods that you do not eat at home and you will remember for its outstanding tastes and flavor. That is why I try to eat locally prepared local foods in the various countries I visit.

Here are 10 spices that everyone should have in their pantry to add that little zing. You are familiar to many but an interesting change of tastes with different spices will "make your day."

1. Pepper does not always have to go with salt. Try it with almost anything for that added flavor. My pepper cabinet has green, white, cracked, black, pepper corn, cayenne, blended medley and many various other peppers used in South West and Cajun cooking.

2. Chili peppers. The chili pepper is made from ground chilies, is not surprisingly spicy and made to various degrees of heat. Like an old advertisement, "A little dab will do you" (I missed onss that one, that ad is for hair cream) or if you are not used to it, a little goes a long way. Try is with soups, salads, vegetables and fish.

3. Garlic power is a low-sodium alternative to garlic salt. Try this one on a baked potato.

4. Basil is used in many tomato dishes. Try is as fresh leaves, added to mashed potatoes. Or in soups, salads, vegetables, fish, and meat. Basil will grow in your garden and there are different color and flavors.

5. Oregano is the old favorite that can be used in many new ways. Zucchini, soups, salads, vegetables, meats and chicken all benefit from oregano spice.

6. Cinnamon is great in desserts and snacks. Use in oatmeal, breads, and snacks for a sweet taste without adding sugar.

7. Coriander or cilantro, they are the same, adds a spicy, fresh taste especially on grilled foods like chicken or fish.

8. Cumin's earthy flavor that can give a punch to bean dishes like chili or bean soup.

9. Dill has the distinctive flavor that can be delicate or sharp. It can make food salty without the sodium. Works well with green beans, pasta, fish, potatoes, soups and salads. Bet you do not use dill in your cooking.

10. Rosemary, which grows year round in my back yard, has a fresh, strong tang. Peas, cauliflower and squash loves rosemary spice. I thought you would think I would push the spice with lamb. Well I do.

When you stock up on spices be sure you store the dried herbs and spices in a tightly sealed container in a dark, dry place. My problems is that I love these additional level of tastes that I am always buying blends when I should just slow down and use these basic herbs and spices. So purchase them in small quantities and use within a year for the best flavor. Many seasoning can last longer.

Lots of ideas can be born with the use of these spices. Keep them handy and let us hope you can come up with a few new recipes of your own.

Have a Happy

Larry Eiker
Eiker's Burgoo of Food Ideas