Using Spices

We explored the importance of cooking in the last article and at least some of you expressed interest in learning more about spices and seasonings.  I’m going to group the spices under general “types” of foods.  While some types are left out, I did so only because I have less experience with them.

As always, if something is listed you are allergic to, don’t use it.

Italian:

Garlic

Onion (use more garlic than onion in general for this type of food)

Basil (more of this than oregano makes it more of a marina sauce)

Oregano (more of this than basil makes it taste more like pizza)

Salt

Black Pepper

Fennel (I typically only use this in meat when I want an Italian sausage flavor)

Pine nuts (these add a slight cheese flavor)

Olive oil and sometimes butter (Earth Balance makes a soy and dairy-free spread)

Mexican:

Cumin (this is the main spice that makes Mexican food taste like Mexican food)

Cayenne (the more you add, the “hotter“ the food)

Chives (like onion, but lighter)

Cilantro (this is used in several salsas)

Chili peppers

Red peppers

Jalapeño peppers

Onion (a touch of finely chopped fresh onion add before serving a hot dish will add a different flavor than cooking the onion with it)

Garlic (less garlic for this type of food than with something like Italian food)

Salt

Lime

Walnut oil (it won’t really flavor your food)

Chinese:

Soy sauce (read labels or call the company to check for gluten and MSG)

Ginger

Cardamom

Anise (licorice)

Red chili or Pimiento

Tahini

Salt

Vinegar (red wine or brown vinegars)

Sesame or peanut oil

Indian:

Curry

Cayenne

Garlic

Cinnamon

Ginger

Turmeric

Oil can change your flavor, but sesame, olive, and walnut can all be used

Greek:

Dill

Lemon

Cucumber

Cumin

Plain yogurt

Dates

Olive oil, but walnut will also work

Thai:

Coriander

Ginger

Garlic

Onion

Chili peppers

Coconut

Cumin

Lemon/lime

Coconut, sesame, and peanut oil

Hungarian influence:

Paprika

Mustard

Chili peppers

Cayenne

Cabbage

BBQ:

(I’ve never really got this to where it is exactly what I want, but these are all part of what gets it close)

Garlic

Onion

Chili pepper

Paprika

Bell pepper

Tomato

Honey or molasses is typically used for sauce, but dates can work, or it can be unsweetened

Turkey:

Garlic

Onion

Sage

Oregano

Salt

Black pepper

Marjoram

Celery

Sausage:

Thyme

Sage

Oregano

Garlic

Salt

Pepper

Fennel (for Italian sausage)

Cumin (for Chorizo)

Paprika (for Chorizo)

Mustard (more for Chorizo or a spicier sausage)

Red pepper and Cayenne (for a spicy sausage)

Cinnamon (for a “sweet” sausage)

Meat/roasts:

Rosemary

Garlic

Onion

Chives

Curry (a very small amount really brings out the flavor of beef without leaving it tasting like a curried dish)

Parsley (fish, especially)

Lemon/Lime (fish, especially)

Mint (for a slightly different flavor…this isn’t my favorite, but lots of people do like it)

Red wine, white wine, or balsamic vinegars

Cinnamon (I rarely use this with meat, but it can work with poultry.  It can also work with something spiced with chili peppers or used in a “sweet” sausage)

Veggies:

Just about any of the above “types” of seasoning can be combined and used with your veggies.  Using a touch of olive oil, coconut oil, or butter (Earth Balance makes a soy and dairy-free spread) can add a touch of fat to your diet.

Stews:

Bay leaf

Cloves (these are strong, so just a small amount…mostly for a more pungent stew)

Mustard (used for a warming stew)

Parsley

Garlic

Onion

Chives

Curry (will sweeten the stew and make it taste “hearty”)

Chili pepper (used for a warming/spicy stew)

Sweet flavors:

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Mint

Cardamom

Vanilla bean

Coconut

Butter (Earth Balance makes a soy and dairy-free spread), coconut oil

Let me know if I left something off that is a favorite of yours.

 

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