Saturday, November 14, 2009

Herbs/Spices/Seasonings- Share your favorites!

Not too long ago on a forum I belong to someone posted about herbs and spices we use in cooking. I started my list of what I use and applications off the top of my head. Today I went back and looked at that list and thought (briefly) about going through my spices and such to list everything I use and throw out that one bottle of unopened Mrs. Dash in something like lemon pepper or whatever that has been in our pantry for two moves and 8 years, I just can’t seem to throw it out. It’s just there for pretty I guess. But I don't have time to go through everything.
I know you’re supposed to replace dried herbs every 6 months. I use my herbs and spices so much that I don’t have to worry about that for the most part. If at all possible I prefer fresh herbs to dried but dried is so very convenient. Here is my list (of herbs, spices and seasonings that I use around here and some other stuff that came to mind). I think I now know why I have so little space in my cupboards. I may add to it and edit when I have time.
Your turn!! Post a list on your blog of your favorites or all you use and link it in the comments section or post your list in the comment section I'd love to get some new ideas!

Turmeric- I love the beautiful color it gives everything. My mom when I was younger would take fresh turmeric or ground turmeric and water mixed to a paste and rub it on my skin to help me heal without scars. Who knows if it works I had yellow spots all over though J. I use it in curries, soups, meat marinades.
Whole cardamom- I usually crush it for desserts- rice puddings, kheer, cookies, ice cream. It’s good in crushed to make chai tea, chicken masala.
Sea salts- LOVE them in caramels, toffees, all other normal salt applications.
Ginger- fresh, in marinades, salad dressings, baking cakes, cookies, breads, pancakes, stir fries, soups, it’s good candied and in desserts or eaten as a snack.
Ginger- ground, mostly in baking
Fresh Thai basil- we eat herbs like condiments around here. all of us including the older girls eat Thai basil with our meals, pho, spring rolls, in Thai curries, basil chicken, in a clam stir fry.
Italian Basil- fresh shredded on top of pastas, in sauces, in roasted tomato soup, salads- fantastic in caprese salads.
Thai bird chilies- fresh- I use them for dipping sauces, green papaya salads, Thai beef salad dressing. Whatever you want hot and spicy.
Ground dried chilies- cayenne, Thai bird, red pepper flakes- in sauces, stir fries, marinades …
Paprika- deviled eggs LOL! I use it mostly for color too.
Cumin- I use it in Mexican/Spanish dishes, fajita seasonings, taco seasonings, soups, stews, marinades for meats.
Fresh mint the same as Thai/Italian basil we eat it fresh on salads, in larb, drinks hot and cold. Fantastic for mint sauce for lamb. Minted peas are divine too.
Kaffir leaves- fresh, I put them in the freezer since they aren’t easy to get. Wonderful sliced thinly in Thai beef salad, larb, and perfect for soups too.
Celery leaves- fresh we chop them and put them on soups
Cilantro I always use fresh, in salsas, chopped up on top of soups, in salads esp. Thai beef salad, in spring rolls, noodle salads…
Coriander seeds- I use whole then grind them with my spice grinder- use it for rubs, marinades etc and in dishes with fresh cilantro since they are cilantro seeds. Different taste though.
Nutmeg- I use whole and I grate it, there is nothing like whole nutmeg freshly grated NOTHING and it's so easy to find- I use it in Alfredo sauces, cream sauces, creamed spinach, desserts- cookies, custards, quick breads, ice creams…
Peppercorns- whole black, pink, white, green - we crush them or crack them at the table, I put whole peppercorns in little tea bags with other herbs and spices in soup pots and whole ones in Chai tea
Star anise- I use in pho stock and such
Aniseed- whole- I used it for cookies whole and ground up (Biscochitos). Wonderful licorice flavor.
Cloves- I use whole and ground- cookies/quick breads etc and teas.
All spice I use whole and ground- baking, mulling spices, for meats- pork,
Dill- for pickling and I love it on fish and in some chicken salads depending on the flavor combination I am going for.
Thyme- I mostly use this with chicken, meats.
Oregano- sauces, meats, marinades, soups and stews.
Rosemary- I love rosemary molasses grilled pork chops and I do like it on roasts, prime rib esp.
Sage- mostly in things with sausage, and roasted meats.
Tarragon- I use it with chicken for the most part.
Green onion- Diva likes it so I buy it J (fresh)
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley- fresh, I garnish soups with it, use it in lasagnas and sauces.
Dried mustard- deviled eggs, quiche other egg dishes.
Garlic- fresh and powdered- who doesn’t like garlic
Cinnamon- sticks and ground
Fennel- I use fresh bulbs roasted, sliced and cooked with fish, YUM, the seeds are great for a rub or marinade. I use the fluffy leaves as garnish. My family likes licorice flavors so we love this.
Vanilla- beans, paste, ground and extract- I PUFFY heart vanilla
Lemongrass- fresh but I put them in the freezer- fantastic for soups, sliced thinly in salads, ground in marinades. YUM!
Bay leaf
Lemon Pepper
Jane's Krazy Salt

Less used –
Caraway seeds- to top breads
Lavender- I so rarely use this, I use it in scones and cookies though when I do.
Marjoram- I should throw this out, I only use it in soups- like ONE recipe I have J
Nigella seeds- sprinkled on foods, mostly Indian food. I kept it in the fridge and it got tossed in our move. They have a slightly bitter taste. I haven’t replaced them.
Poppy seeds- in baking and chicken poppy seed casserole
Five Spice powder- roasts, rubs
Herbs De Provence- roasts
Lemon salt- I brought it because it’s pretty it’s great for chicken though.

Raw sugar
Powdered sugar
Cane sugar
Palm sugar
Granulated sugar
Brown sugar
Maple syrup

Walnut oil- I bought this to make salad dressings, and it’s wonderful in flavor. Diva however can’t have walnuts so I haven’t used it often.
Coconut oil- I use expeller pressed organic extra virgin. It has a long shelf life which is wonderful. Most people will tell you that it doesn’t have much of a coconut flavor. I think it does have a slight coconut flavor and noticeable depending on what you use it for. Use it in cookies, granola bars, some cookies, curries- especially ones calling for coconut milk, stir fries, . You can sauté with it, grease cookie sheets or cake pans. You can use it when solid or even warm it to melt it a little bit. It’s also great for your skin (pregnant bellies, dry skin) and hair- topical applications. Read up on the benefits of Organic Extra Virgin Coconut oil, you’ll be surprised.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- this is my every day oil, I use it in most everything.
Vegetable oil- Canola oil I use vegetable oils like this that have little flavor in some baking and for high heat applications.
Grape seed oil- I don’t use this as much as I should- high smoking point, not too strong of a flavor.
Sesame oil- a little goes a long way in salad dressings and stir fry
I don’t have shortening on the list I don’t use it because of what’s in it. But I have recently found an organic shortening so I guess if I ever needed it I would have it around. Most uses for shortening I find I can use butter or the coconut oil.
Oils with a high smoking point are great for frying, stir fries, browning. I also use these oils as a base for infusing olive oil with herbs and spices. Use a little to heat some peeled and minced garlic to infuse it- not brown it . Add olive oil. I use this as a time saver for stir fry, garlic breads, croutons, anything that calls for mincing garlic and heating it. You can also add dried whole chilies for spice.

Rice wine
Red wine
Fish Sauce
Black Bean sauce
White Soy Sauce
Fried shallots- I put these in soups, put them in my spice ball with other things for Pho too.
Oyster sauce- marinades, stir fry
Hoisin Sauce
Sesame seeds- garnish
Miso paste

Whole wheat
Whole wheat pastry
White unbleached
Bread flour
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