Friday, May 27, 2011

INGREDIENT ESSENTIALS - SAVORY HERBS & SPICES

I decided on this entry to not just focus on one thing, because there is really no SINGLE herb or spice that you must have, quite simply you need to have a variety.  I would say however that this is a list of essential herbs and spices that you should have in your pantry to use in your cooking. 
I'd make these the important herbs for savory cooking, i.e. dinner. 

Beautiful spices, herbs and seasonings

In no particular order, they are:

  • BASIL -  We all need this most essential ingredient for almost any Italian dish.  You can't make a sauce, lasagna, pizza or pasta dish without this necessary ingredient.
  • OREGANO -  Again, a versatile addition to any Italian dish, it's also great for Greek dishes and used in Mexican cooking as well.
  • THYME - Great with poultry and pork, beans, potatoes, soups and rice.
  • ROSEMARY - A very strong taste, use sparingly, but it does pack a lot of flavor.  We love it on potatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted in the oven.
  • BAY LEAVES - This is almost a requirement in any kind of soup or stock you might make. 
  • PARSLEY - Probably one of the most common, it's in so many recipes, you'll just always need to have it on hand when that recipe calls for it.
  • DILL - Essential for canning pickles of course, but almost as essential for any fish dish.
  • PAPRIKA - Great for pretty much any meat, it adds a very nice flavor, and can even add color (reddish) to a dish as well.  A deep, smokey flavor.
  • ONION POWDER - Not Onion SALT, onion powder, it's a quick way to add that great onion flavor to a dish and another layer of flavor.
  • GARLIC POWDER - Same for onion, you don't want garlic salt.  And everything goes well with garlic, an essential ingredient in any Italian dish.
  • CHILI POWDER -   You ALWAYS need some heat available.  Even subtle amounts make a huge difference in the outcome of a dish.  And the nice thing is, you can use it as your taste desires, super hot or just barely there.
  • CUMIN -  Essential in any Mexican dish, it's a rich earthy taste that goes well with spicy foods.
  • SAFFRON - I know, everyone goes "but it's the most expensive seasoning out there!" and yes it is, for the quantity you get, but you use so little it's still cost effective.  You can't imagine the punch of flavor that a few threads can add to a dish, especially adding it to rice.
  
Bulk spices and seasonings
Don't be afraid to try new seasonings, they have been around for thousands of years and are integral ingredients in any dish you want to cook.  Best of all, they allow you to make any dish your own.  You can follow a recipe that calls for certain ingredients or you can take it and add your own seasonings according to taste and create your own version.

I'll cover spices used in baking/desserts in a future post.

What about you?  Any seasoning or spice that you consider essential to your own kitchen pantry?

1 comment:

Tonya said...

Pepper (black, white and red), Paprika (smoked Hungarian), Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Onion Powder Garlic Powder and Sea salt