Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spice Combinations

OreganoOregano (Photo credit: Joi)
    One of my favorite things about cooking is the spices. I love the smell of them and the taste that they add to any dish. Spices are what really brings out the flavor in what you're cooking. Over the years, I've also found that this is one area that new cooks find confusing. 
    I was showing my daughter the basics of making spaghetti and after a sample taste, she commented that "It doesn't taste like yours." 
   My reply was,"What spices did you add?"
   I saw that "doe in the headlight look" and pulled out my collection of Italian spices. We added a little of each and considered the dish complete.
   One afternoon I got a call from one of my son's friends who was in the grocery store. He was shopping for spices and didn't know what basics to buy. It was cute, his comment was, "I want our food to taste like yours, with some flavor." So I recommended some basic spices that should be in any pantry - garlic and onion powders, chili powder, oregano and cumin. When you're just starting off, sometimes you can only buy a few at a time. 
   Recently I was looking at a Taste of Home magazine and they had a nice list of spice combinations. This way any dish that you're making, you can flavor up any way you want. As Emeril used to say, "Kick it up a notch."

Italian Flavors
Italian Seasoning
olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Mexican/Southwestern Flavors
crushed red pepper flakes
dried oregano
fresh cilantro
ground cumin
taco seasoning mix

Greek/Mediterranean Flavors
feta cheese
fresh mint
lemon juice
olive oil

Asian Flavors
brown sugar
chili sauce
garlic cloves
ground ginger or fresh gingerroot
hosin or plum sauce
soy sauce

American Comfort Food Flavors
canola oil
dill weed 
garlic powder
onion powder
cheddar cheese
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