There are some combination of herbs and spices that have become part of our everyday cooking. A few of these blends, like curry powder and bouquet garni have as many variations as there are cooks who use them.
Of course you can always buy good quality blends at specialty markets but your own mix will be fresher. For best results, start with whole seeds and berries. Grind them using a mortar and pestle, spice mill or coffee grinder. Following are recipes of the 2 most popular blends and some new ways to use them.
*You may also add 1 sprig of celery leaf or marjoram.
Bouquet garni is the traditional French seasoning for stews and other slow-cooked meat dishes. The fresh herbs are tied together in a bouquet with plain white string, or they are enclosed in cheesecloth to make a sachet. This makes it easy for you to remove after cooking. You may also use the bouquet to make a savory white bean casserole.
*You may also add allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, mace, poppy seeds, saffron or sesame seeds.
An Indian curry usually consists of eggs, fish, chicken, lamb or vegetables cooked in a highly seasoned sauce. The word itself comes from the south INdian word kari, which means sauce. You may try adding it to a fresh carrot soup or to mayonnaise for a different kind of sauce for fish. For best results, dry roast the whole spices in a hot pan over low heat before grinding.
Tune in for more blends to come. 🙂
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