Skip to main content

I cannot imagine trying to cook without spices. I love spices of all kind. One of the things I inherited from my Mom was her spice rack. Of course when I moved in I took over the spice rack because she never used it. In fact the spices in there were the originals from when she got it in the 70s. I had another spice rack that I also used in addition to three shelf units. Spices are an important part of my cooking.

Spices are generally considered to be from the bark, roots, leaves, stems, seeds, or fruit from aromatic plants and trees. Herbs are usually considered soft and succulent plants. The general conversion rate for fresh herbs to dried is to use twice as much fresh as dried.

The world’s most expense spice is saffron. Each purple crocus flower produces three stigmas, which are handpicked from the blossom, dried, and permitted to ferment slightly to produce saffron. It is estimated that it takes some 14,000 stigmas to produce only one ounce of saffron threads. The labor-intensive process makes the cost of these bright red threads soar upwards of $50 per quarter-ounce. Luckily, a little bit goes a long way, and you can buy enough for a number of meals for under $10.

When Columbus discovered the Americas he was actually looking for a different route to the Spice Islands.  In 1453, the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and brought the Byzantine Empire to its knees.  Constantinople was part of the important spice trade route.  When the Ottoman Turks took over Constantinople, it made it virtually impossible for Europe to access the spice route.

In addition to single spices there are many blends. Chili powder and curry powder are two blends that have thousands of variations. Spices and herbs are often combined into sauces or marinades. In addition they are an integral part of barbecue as rubs. Cajun and Creole cooking often use jerk rubs on meat and fish to flavor them. In Oriental cooking soybeans are fermented and used in the popular soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Ginger is a very popular ingredient in Oriental cooking.

Salt in history was often more valuable then gold. In ancient times the production and sale of salt was often controlled by governments. It was a major source of revenue in Ancient China and other nations. Sugar has an equally long and interesting history. Today we have a variety of salts and sugars available to use.

Here are some of the various recipes in which I use a lot of spices and herbs.

Cajun Spice Mix

Serving Size: 12 Tablespoons

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
4               teaspoons       paprika
2               teaspoons       salt
2               teaspoons       garlic powder
1               teaspoon         black pepper
1               teaspoon         white pepper
1               teaspoon         cayenne pepper
2               teaspoons       mustard powder
1               teaspoon         thyme
1               teaspoon         oregano
1               teaspoon         cumin powder

Put all the spices into either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Mix thoroughly. Store in a jar with lid.

Per Serving: 8 Calories; trace Fat (25.5% calories from fat); trace Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 356mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fat.

Cajun Pork Chops
Serving Size: 4    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
4                medium          pork center loin chops -- lean
1                small              onion -- diced fine
1                clove              garlic -- minced
2                tablespoons   olive oil -- divided
6                ounces           no salt added tomato paste
2                tablespoons    molasses
¼               cup                 red wine
1                tablespoon      low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1                teaspoon         dijon mustard
1                tablespoon       Cajun spice -- *see Note
1                tablespoon       butter

Sprinkle Cajun spice on both sides of pork chops. Rub in. Put aside and let marinate for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add tomato paste, molasses, red wine, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 350°F. Heat butter and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in frying pan. Add pork chops and sear on both sides.

Put chops in a casserole dish and cover with the sauce. Cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Per Serving: 405 Calories; 24g Fat (54.7% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 83mg Cholesterol; 340mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 3 Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES: This would also work on ribs.

Cajun Potatoes and Onions
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
1½            pounds             potatoes -- cubed
1               large                 sweet onion -- thinly sliced
2               tablespoons      butter
2               tablespoons      olive oil
1               tablespoon        Cajun spice -- *see Note

Boil potatoes for 15 minutes until tender.

While potatoes are boiling melt butter in a large frying pan along with olive oil. Add sliced onions. Cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Drain potatoes and add to onions in frying pan. Add spice mixture. Heat and stir until potatoes are browned.

Per Serving: 131 Calories; 6g Fat (42.8% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 115mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 0 Vegetable; 1½  Fat.

NOTES: Potatoes can be cubed or sliced.

Chinese BBQ Sauce
Serving Size: 2 cups    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
4                whole              shallots -- minced
3                cloves             garlic -- minced
1                teaspoon        fresh ginger root -- minced
1                tablespoon     olive oil
6                ounces           no salt added tomato paste
¼                cup                hoisin sauce
2                 tablespoons   rice wine vinegar
1                 tablespoon     Worcestershire sauce
1                 tablespoon     low sodium soy sauce
2                 tablespoons   dijon mustard
¼                teaspoon       crushed red pepper
4                 tablespoons   molasses

Heat oil in saucepan on medium. Add shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook until softened.

Add rest of ingredients and cook until it starts to bubble, stirring to prevent burning.

Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 177 Calories; 5g Fat (21.6% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 586mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 1½ Other Carbohydrates.

Chinese Barbecued Ribs
Serving Size: 6    

Amount      Measure                Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------         ------------               --------------------------------
5½             pounds                   pork country-style ribs
½               teaspoon                salt
¼               teaspoon                pepper
½               teaspoon                mustard powder
½               teaspoon                five-spice powder
½               teaspoon                cayenne pepper
1                cup                         Chinese BBQ Sauce -- *see Note

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix the dry spices together and rub into the ribs on all sides. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Place ribs on a broiler or racked pan large enough to spread out single file. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Raise heat to 425°F.

Brush ribs with Chinese BBQ sauce. Bake for 15 minutes.

Turn ribs over and brush with sauce. Bake for 15 minutes.
Per Serving: 683 Calories; 53g Fat (71.2% calories from fat); 48g Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 195mg Cholesterol; 342mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 7 Lean Meat; 4 Fat.

Spicy Beef Stew in a Crockpot
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
2               pounds            beef stew meat, cut in 1" pieces
4               medium           potatoes -- cubed
4               medium           carrots -- sliced
1               medium           onion -- chopped
2               cloves              garlic -- minced
21½          ounces             low sodium tomato soup, canned
2               cans                 water -- soup cans
1               cup                   Burgundy
2               tablespoons      all-purpose flour
1               teaspoon          salt
1               teaspoon          paprika
¼              teaspoon          pepper
½              teaspoon          dried oregano
½              teaspoon          dried basil
½              teaspoon          dried thyme
½              teaspoon          dried sage
½              teaspoon          dried marjoram
1               tablespoon        low sodium Worcestershire sauce
2                                         bay leaves

Coat stew meat with flour, salt, paprika and pepper.  Place in crockpot.

Place rest of the ingredients in the crockpot.

Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

Per Serving: 341 Calories; 10g Fat (27.5% calories from fat); 32g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 74mg Cholesterol; 350mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; ½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Sesame Noodles
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------               --------------------------------
                                               boiling water
8               ounces                  noodles -- dry
2               tablespoons           light soy sauce
2               tablespoons           sweet sherry
2               tablespoons           Tiger Sauce -- or other chili sauce
1               teaspoon                sesame oil
1               tablespoon             plum vinegar
1               tablespoon             brown sugar
1               tablespoon             ginger root -- minced
1               tablespoon             sesame seeds -- toasted

Make noodles according to directions. Drain.

In a small saucepan add soy sauce, chili sauce, sherry, sesame oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and ginger root. Heat until boiling and blended.

Pour sauce over noodles. Add sesame seeds and mix thoroughly.

Can be served either warm or cold.

Per Serving: 139 Calories; 2g Fat (15.8% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 27mg Cholesterol; 608mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; ½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Sweet and Spicy Chinese Beef and Mushrooms
Serving Size: 4    

Amount     Measure              Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------             --------------------------------
8               ounces                 Portobello mushroom caps -- baby, sliced
1               pound                   beef skirt steak -- or flat iron, sliced
4               whole                    green onions -- sliced, white & some green
1               clove                     garlic -- minced
¼              teaspoon              crushed red pepper flakes
1               tablespoon           low-sodium soy sauce
1               teaspoon              hoisin sauce
1½            tablespoons          plum sauce
½              teaspoon               seasoned salt
½              teaspoon               seasoned pepper
1               tablespoon            five-spice powder
1               teaspoon               dry mustard
1               teaspoon              dijon mustard
½              teaspoon              brown sugar
1               tablespoon            butter
2               cups                      cooked rice

Mix garlic, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, plum sauce, salt, pepper, dry mustard, dijon mustard and brown sugar until smooth. Set aside.

Add butter to hot fry pan or wok. Stir fry the mushrooms and green onions for two minutes.

Add the beef to the wok or fry pan and stir fry until browned thee minutes or until done to your liking.

Add sauce to the fry pan or wok and stir to coat the meat and vegetables. Heat until sauce is bubbling.

Serve over rice.

Per Serving: 385 Calories; 15g Fat (36.7% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 66mg Cholesterol; 499mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : I use sliced baby portabella mushrooms in this dish. I used a flat iron steak sliced thin against the grain.

Spicy Mustard Potatoes
Serving Size: 4    

Amount     Measure                Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------               --------------------------------
1               pound                    Yukon Gold potatoes -- sliced thick
                                               boiling water
1               teaspoon               salt
1               teaspoon               Dijon mustard
½              teaspoon               paprika
¼              teaspoon               white pepper
½              teaspoon               garlic salt
½              teaspoon               basil
½              teaspoon               oregano
1               tablespoon            sherry
3               tablespoons          butter

Slice but don't peel the potatoes. Add salt to boiling water and add potatoes bringing back up to a boil. Boil for 18 minutes or until tender.

Mix Dijon, paprika, pepper, garlic salt, basil, oregano, and sherry in a medium bowl.

Drain potatoes and add to spice mixture.

Heat large frying pan to medium-medium high and melt butter. Add potatoes and fry until hot.

Per Serving: 179 Calories; 9g Fat (45.1% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 900mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Spicy Mongolian Beef
Serving Size: 6    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
2               pounds            flank steak -- sliced thin
2               tablespoons     low sodium soy sauce
2               tablespoons     sweet sherry
1               teaspoon          cornstarch
1               tablespoon       Tiger Sauce -- or other chili sauce
¼              teaspoon          crushed red pepper
1               teaspoon          sesame seeds -- toasted
8               whole                green onions -- sliced
2               tablespoons      vegetable oil
1               clove                 garlic -- minced
1               tablespoon        ginger root -- minced

Heat wok or large frying pan to medium-high. Add vegetable oil.

Stir fry meat in batches if necessary. Push meat to side.

Mix soy sauce, sherry, Tiger sauce and cornstarch together.

Add green onions, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and red pepper. Stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Push aside.

Add sauce mixture. Stir until thickened.

Stir to coat meat and vegetables.

Per Serving: 333 Calories; 21g Fat (57.6% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 77mg Cholesterol; 351mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 4½ Lean Meat; ½ Vegetable; 2 Fat.

Serving Ideas: Goes well over rice.

Sweet Onions and Peppers
Serving Size: 4    

Amount     Measure         Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------       ------------         --------------------------------
2               large                yellow bell pepper -- or orange, sliced
1               large                red bell pepper -- sliced
1               cup                  frozen peas
1               small                sweet onion -- sliced
1               teaspoon         ground turmeric
1               teaspoon         salt
2               tablespoons    water
1               tablespoon      vegetable oil

Slice peppers into strips removing seeds.

Heat oil in frying pan to medium. Add peppers and onions and cook until softened.

Add peas, turmeric and water. Heat until peas are warmed through.

Per Serving: 84 Calories; 4g Fat (38.1% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 575mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 1 Vegetable; ½ Fat.

Spice Rack

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by lundi channel and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I'm getting hungry reading the recipes... (11+ / 0-)

    Excellent post. I saved it so I can try some of the recipes.
    They all sound great. I use a lot of spices in my cooking, too.

    I share a birthday with John Lennon.

    by peacestpete on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:42:17 AM PDT

  •  Hmmm (10+ / 0-)

    that last Sweet Onions and Peppers recipe doesn't seem to have any onions in it. An oversight, I'm sure. It does have thinly sliced peas. I can imagine whirled peas, but not thinly sliced peas. Maybe that's supposed to be thinly sliced onions?

    I'm so confused. Must be from imagining whirled peas.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:05:01 AM PDT

  •  I don't have spice rack anymore (8+ / 0-)

    My herbs and spices live in a box. It's like a recipe box. I buy spice from the bulk cannisters, so they come in little zip lock plastic baggies, which I alphebatize in the box. (Said alphebetizing is overdue, too, since I recently found the curry powder behind the nutmeg; and one baggie of basil was lost in the region of paprika, which explains why I now have two baggies of basil.)

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:36:36 AM PDT

    •  You don't want to expose herbs and spices to sun- (9+ / 0-)

      light.  We use all sorts of small bottles and jars in drawers and cupboards.  I like to cook regional Indian and Chinese stuff, among other cuisines, and have taken over two wide drawers and a cupboard, but one can do well with only the basics.  I tend to inveigle my way into kitchens when I travel on business, and have found for example, that Indian cooks up north mostly rely on a tin divided in four: ground red chili, cumin, coriander, and salt, all very fresh.  Plus garlic and ginger paste in a jar.  Plus maybe a couple of pre-made mixes.  Anything else is bought at the market in tiny quantities, and only rarely. It really shows up my hyper-enthusiasm,  but I am half an hour from a good south asian store, so my wife is resigned to lumping it.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:59:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice and dark in my spice box ;) (8+ / 0-)

        I've seen various spice trays set out at some Indian restaurants. (Google 'masala dabba' for examples); but one place had tinier compartments in a plastic box that looked more like something you'd keep fishing tackle or nuts and bolts in.  Each compartment held no more than a couple of teaspoons of whatever. Of course, I'm not sure it's really optimum storage to have the spices out in the open in the middle of the restaurant lobby, either.

        I am becoming an almost obnoxious evangelist about buying spices at the bulk bar. Yes, you buy just a bit, so what you have on hand is fresh rather than the standard store bought jar that may be on the store shelf and then your home shelf for up to years. It's a chance to try an unfamiliar seasoning without going broke, and if you don't like it you haven't wasted $4 or something. And overall, even if you use a particular spice frequently and in large quantities, it's is waaaaaay cheaper overall. Unbelievable price differential. I touched on it in a diary way back when

        My baggie of ginger cost me 28 cents, and my baggie of celery seed was 25 cents.  Here’s how royally your supermarket is ripping you off:  If I wanted the ginormous quantity of a whole pound of [ground] ginger, it would cost me $4.99 where I bought mine. In the little bottles at the grocery it would be $106.64

        I am blessed to shop weekly in a store that has an herb and spice bulk bar, and I swear the availability of such would seriouosly play a significant part in whether or where I would ever move.

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 01:55:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I use the 1/2 pint canning jars. (6+ / 0-)

      Easy to seal, easy to measure from, and easy to organize by types of spices.  I keep them in the original boxes that the jars are sold in, and then stack the boxes on a cupboard shelf with a label on the side of the boxes as well on the jars.  I also love my spice stash, and can't understand how anybody can cook without them.

  •  Saffron crocus grow in tubs in my back yard. (11+ / 0-)

    Every spring I snip the saffron "threads", put them in baggies, & either freeze or dry.  The blooms come back every year.  

    Your recipes sound wonderful, except I would delete the garlic salt and substitute drops of juice from either fresh raw or roasted garlic.  Many people can taste garlic salt in a recipe, and it carries a stale, unpleasant taste.

    "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:37:33 AM PDT

  •  thanks for the yummy recipes michelewln (9+ / 0-)

    I would probably not eat anymore if there weren't
    Spanish smoked paprika, it is so tasty and makes
    everything taste so good.  I love using spices and herbs as
    well as growing my own.  It is so nice to walk out onto the
    deck and pick the stuff I need.  I grow several kinds of
    basil and parsley to make pesto with.  Ahhhhh summer
    rocks... :)

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:41:49 AM PDT

  •  I have just finished reading (11+ / 0-)

    Healing Spices by Bharat Aggarwal (of the Anderson Cancer Center in TX).  It covers 50 spices, some we are all well acquainted with and a handful are perhaps more foreign.

    There is a wealth of information in this book on what goodness each spice can bring to our health.

    As a result of reading the book I am investigating and experimenting with more spices.

    I have hotlisted this diary.  Your recipes are very enticing.

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:47:25 AM PDT

    •  I have also just purchased some sherry (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, weck, Mayfly, DJ Rix, Powell

      as I am noticing that it is showing up in a lot of recipes lately.

      I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

      by DamselleFly on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:49:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ooh I like to cook with sherry, dry sherry that is (8+ / 0-)
        I have also just purchased some sherry
        I love to do mixed mushroom blend on crostini as follows:

        loaf of day old french bread or baguette

        1 lb mushroom blend sliced (porcini, shitake, white button) or one pound of sliced white button mushrooms

        1/4 lb goat cheese or feta cheese; sliced into small thin slices to fit atop bread

        2 Tbsp olive oil

        1 small chopped yellow onion

        2 cloves of garlic (one to smear crostini with; one finely chopped to add to mushroom blend)

        1 tsp Herb de Provence*

        2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

        1/4 c. dry sherry

        1Tbsp or one pat unsalted butter

        salt and freshly cracked black pepper

        For Crostini:
        Preheat oven to 375degrees. Cut french bread or baguette at 45 degree angle into 10 - 12 slices.  Lightly brush with 1Tbsp of olive oil.  Place on middle rack and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove and smear with whole garlic clove.  Set aside.

        In large skillet heat on medium high.  Add other 1 Tbsp olive oil til oil "shimmers".  Add yellow onion and cook til opaque, then add mushrooms.  (You might need to add a little more oil as mushrooms are thirsty little buggers!)  Saute 3 minutes or until starting to sweat or cook down.  Add chopped garlic and saute, add Herb de Provence and saute.  Add 1Tbsp chopped parsley and saute.  When mushrooms are cooked through - a little brown on edges is optimum - add dry sherry and saute, then butter and toss til butter is melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.

        Top each piece of french bread or baguette w/two or three slices goat cheese, then top with mushroom mixture.  Garnish with remaining 1 Tbsp chopped parsley.

        * Herb de Provence is usually a blend of basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano.  Sometimes dried lavender.  I usually go for the blend with dried lavender - but that's what I'm used to.

        This was a huge hit at wine & cheese party; lots of people asked for recipe.  (Made this one up myself but no one needed to know that.)

        Is anybody listenin' ? - by Tori del Allen

        by Dumas EagerSeton on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:54:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Look for NON-Radiated spice at health food stores (6+ / 0-)

      You will have both the wonderful taste AND health giving properties that are natural.

      Typical mainstream store spices are irradiated, taking OUT the health giving effects...

      Spices are very powerful for positive health.  Especially Tumeric, associated with many various health giving properties.  Google and check it out for yourself!

    •  Uh-oh! (10+ / 0-)

      I was greatly interested in what such a book had to say and went off to Google to learn more. What I learned was not good. From February of this year:

      A prominent University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center researcher is under investigation for alleged fabrication and falsification in a host of published studies about the cancer-fighting properties of plants.

      M.D. Anderson officials confirmed this week that they are reviewing herb investigator Bharat Aggarwal's studies after the federal government notified them of allegations of fraud by academic whistle-blowers in what has grown to 65 published papers. One has been retracted by the journal that published it.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 11:12:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (6+ / 0-)

    for providing nutrition info!!

    When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

    by papa monzano on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 11:39:11 AM PDT

  •  Nothing like herbs and spices (6+ / 0-)

    Last weekend I made a huge batch of Tandouri Chicken.
    The leftovers make great sandwiches or a good
    addition to a garden Salad.

    This week is going to be Pesto and green onion
    Chicken Burgers. I use the food processor to mix

    I'm at the age where I have to worry about the
    amount of SALT in my diet. The only way to REALLY
    solve that problem is by cooking from scratch.

    Thanks for the Recipes.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:51:37 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing your recipes michele. (6+ / 0-)

    That Cajun spice potato recipe sounds super yummy.  I'm definitely going to try that one.

    I love using herbs and spices too.  I grew up in a household where we had to go bland due to my dad's sensitive stomach.  After moving to New York City at age 21 I started to sample various cuisines and discovered a world full of vibrant, colorful, wonderful spices and herbs!! Then a trip to New Orleans years ago exposed the wonderful world of not only Cajun but amazing soul and southern style cooking.  Lately I've been delving into Indian flavors.

    I have two herb keepers in my fridge and store parsley, thyme, cilantro and basil in them.  My spice rack is more like a spice cabinet with a two-tier Lazy Susan full of wonderful spices; plus all types of powdered spices, seeds, sticks, granulated versions too.

    Can you tell I love to cook?  Thanks again for sharing.

    Is anybody listenin' ? - by Tori del Allen

    by Dumas EagerSeton on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 01:04:38 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing Michele (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Mayfly, DJ Rix, Powell

    That Cajun seasoning sounds a little like Emeril's Essence, probably less expensive and better tasting.

    I've got plenty of spices, seasonings and herbs.  I just don't know what to do with most of them.  

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 02:35:44 PM PDT

  •  I love.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, DJ Rix, Powell

    ..spicy foods as well, and love experimenting with different herbs and spices.    Thanks for the recipes; I'll definitely  try some of them out and they've helped inspire a few ideas of my own.  :)

  •  My first endeavor into really using herbs was (6+ / 0-)

    when I planted an herb garden.  It had rosemary, oregano, parsley, tarragon, sage, chives, and anything else that I thought would grow there.

    It was wonderful to go to my garden, pick an herb, and put it on chicken, steak, or pork, or salad.  Whatever, I did it and experimented.

    To this day our favorite is fresh oregano on a steak, preferably filets, with a bit of the much maligned Laurie's garlic salt, the only one IMHO that doesn't taste fake.

    It was a joy to go to my herb garden and just put something on whatever I was cooking.  

    •  Sixty Something, aren't herbs wonderful? As novice (6+ / 0-)

      gardener years ago, I thought any plants as lovely and delicate looking as herbs would be hard to grow.  Ha!  They are tough as iron.  Establish a bed of parsley once, and you have it forever.  Pinch back the basil all spring and you have a bushy basil plant for the entire season. Rosemary is permanent.  And I could go on.  I've got oregano, thyme, chives, lavender, bay (the potted tree goes inside in winter) perilla, and other edible plants that may or may not be considered herbs (for example, leeks, the common violet, etc.)    

      "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

      by Mayfly on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 04:16:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Add in a summer tomato plant or two and you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      have the foundation for some great Italian recipes.

  •  The chili pepper that changed the world (7+ / 0-)

    Just think what Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian cuisine would be like without the New World chili pepper.

    Before then, it was black pepper, which makes a really different kind of hot. And most of Europe couldn't afford that.

    All they had the piquants, such as mustard seed, horseradish, parships, and turnips to give them any burn. But that's a very different kind of hot, too. I read somewhere that parsnips were once a wintertime staple in Europe.

  •  Crider, I vote for butter. BTW, IMO Julia Child on (5+ / 0-)

    her own brought back butter after WW II.  Prior to that we in the US were all using margarine.  

    Re chili peppers, I asked an anthropologist once why indigenous people who lived in the hot climates of Central and South America made hot peppers an important part of their diet.  She replied that peppers help digest cellulose (i.e., the beans and corn) which comprised the bulk of their diet.

    "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 04:22:34 PM PDT

  •  When I came home last July (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Powell, helpImdrowning

    I, determined to cook for myself, went on an herb and spice buying spree. I didn't buy bulk, not having those little containers, but just the commercial products of McCormick, et., al. Now I have regular and smoked paprika, the dried Scarborough Faire herbs, even white pepper altho I haven't used that yet, and all sorts of little bottles.

    I don't know if it's me or what but while I can taste spices just fine I can hardly taste herbs. I don't cook enough to buy fresh herbs so I'm limited to dry but, for instance. I like to make sauteed green and yellow zucchini with onions which is supposed to be herbed with dill. If I just use dill I taste nothing. I've come to use salt, pepper, garlic powder, vegetable seasoning and the dill. I still neither taste nor smell it, but it looks nice in the dish.

    One of my biggest problems is salting food. On the cooking shows one cook uses seemingly an overabundance of salt in her dishes, another uses hardly any at all. I have a salt container and use a tiny spoon to dip it out; I think the spoon is like 1/4 of a tsp. The only thing I might salt adequately are steaks before I grill them. Everything else I want to salt for taste without going overboard but I don't think I do a very good job.

    •  If you use dried herbs you need to cook them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, lulusbackintown

      a little longer to "activate" the taste.  I suggest adding dried herbs for your zucchini dish (and others) to the olive oil and cook it a bit with the onions before you add the zucchini.  Some dried herbs are not very useful since the drying takes away the taste.  Basil and chives is a good example of this; don't bother, only use fresh.  Freshness of dried herbs is also a big deal, if your dried herbs have been in your cupboard for more than nine or twelve months, they probably don't have much flavor left.  Try to find a place where you can buy smaller quantities then the usual "bottles" you find at the grocery store.  Some stores now carry smaller clear plastic packets of dried herbs and spices.

      I am very familiar with the female Food Network chef you mention, and I agree with you, she uses an overabundance of salt, except for salting pasta cooking water, which does require nice salty water.  Try using Kosher salt instead of regular salt for starters.  It has a much larger grain and a much better taste.  Keep in mind when you are cooking what products you are using.  If you are using soy sauce or cheese in your recipe, for instance, they already have a lot of salt in them.  Additionally, pre-made stocks in cans or boxes, also have quite a bit of salt, as does boullion cubes or meat "bases".  Canned tomato products such as tomato sauce, tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes also often are very salty to begin with.  If you use salted butter to saute vegetables, keep this in mind as well.  When something is cooking for a long time or reducing, like stews, soups, spaghetti sauce, or some other sauces, keep in mind that the salty flavor will also increase as the base decreases through evaporation.  Finally, never use those plasticky-paper packaged seasoning packets made by the likes of Schilling and Lawry's for say taco meat, beef stroganoff, spaghetti sauce, or the Asian inspired packets for like Kung Pao chicken or Mongolian beef; they are full of all kinds of salts, monsodium glutamates, and other chemicals that are just not good for you and taste awful.  Instead, go on the internet and find recipes made from scratch and invest in the basic ingredients, spices, herbs, and condiments to make your own dishes from quality ingredients.  One last little thing, please use fresh garlic, not garlic powder - unless it is in a spice rub - the difference is huge, in flavor and health benefits.  Buy a garlic press and press the fresh garlic clove through it for easy use.  I wish you successful and tasty cooking.

      "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

      by helpImdrowning on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:57:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing fun about spices (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, sofia

    is making your own spice blends.

    I've made my own chili powder, garam masala, and curry powder (the latter I grind just before use, and keep the unground ingredients in an airtight container). Having a coffee grinder for spice grinding (and NEVER use it for coffee grinding!) gives you a lot of opportunities to play around, and learn the individual flavors that go into spice blends we take for granted. (For the record, all three blends go together into a yogurt marinade for chicken that makes a fantastic curry dish.)

    Should you ever use a spice grinder for your coffee, it does great things to your coffee -- and lousy things to every spice you grind thereafter.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:54:32 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site