May 22, 2011
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Don’t limit the herbs in your spice rack for the recipes they’re  are called for.  They don’t only enhance the taste of the dish, but they deliver health benefits as well.  Here are some tips to add fabulous flavors to everything you cook.

GINGER – Stir 1/4 teaspoon into a smoothie or sprinkle it into a cup of green tea.  It also tastes great on sliced peaches and winter squash.

BAY LEAVES – Simmer one in your vanilla pudding for a sophisticated flavor.  And don’t forget to add a bay leaf to rice or grains before cooking.

THYME – A sprinkle of thyme elevates canned soup to gourmet status.  It’s equally delicious stirred into mashed potatoes and store-bought chicken salad.

OREGANO – Use it to make up a bland turkey or ham sandwich or add pizzazz to your potato chips and oven fries.

CINNAMON – It’s classic in apple pie but also provides an unexpected burst of flavor to popcorn and chocolate chip cookies, even baked chicken and meat dishes.

CORIANDER – This citrusy spice adds a refreshing kick to marinades, grilled meat, roasted potatoes and baked goods.  Try it in cookies and breads.

CUMIN – It’s delicious tossed on potatoes or cauliflower before roasting; a dash also gives grilled-cheese sandwiches an exotic edge.

MUSTARD POWDER – The subtle flavor perks up meatballs, turkey burgers and bread stuffing.  Try adding it to olive oil before you sauté vegetables.

CURRY POWDER – Use it to rev up crab cakes, shrimp salad and chicken soup.  Or toss with mixed nuts to add major flavor.

DRIED RED PEPPER – A pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes adds a pleasant heat to omelets, guacamole and salad dressing.

We use most of these herbs and spices almost everyday but do you know the difference?  Herbs are the leaves of small shrubs such as chives, parsley,  basil, caraway,marjoram, thyme, dill, savory, sage, rosemary, oregano and celery leaves.  These leaves can be used fresh or dried.  Spices are from barks (cinnamon), buds (saffron and cloves), roots (garlic, onion and ginger), seeds (poppy, sesame and yellow mustard) and berry (red pepper).


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