Tag: spices

Organizing Your Spice Cabinet

by in Uncategorized, April 18, 2013

spices
Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of spices spilling from your cupboard? It seems that whenever you need a particular seasoning—from cumin to cardamom and basil to bay leaf—it finds its way to the far back, leaving you sorting through scores of jars and bottles for that certain one.

When working with clients they often ask me how I know which herbs and spices work together and how to go about building flavor.  This is no small task and something even the best chefs are constantly trying to master.  I’ve put together this fun little guide to help you navigate the spice aisle and your cabinet so the next time you’re craving a certain cuisine or just looking to get creative with flavors you will have some guidelines.

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Spice of the Month: Curry Powder

by in Healthy Recipes, April 3, 2013

curry powder

Is this spice blend sitting around in your cabinet? You don’t know what you’re missing. Hurry! Break out the curry!

Curry Basics

Robust, potent and delightfully flavorful, curry powder is a staple ingredient in both Indian and other South Asian cuisines. Made from a blend of various ground spices and chili peppers, you’ll find it used in all different kinds of recipes, some sweet, others spicy. Common components of curry blends include turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, mustard, ginger, cardamom, cloves, coriander, pepper, tamarind and saffron.

Nutrition Info

One tablespoon of curry powder has 20 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of fiber. It’s also chock full of vitamins and minerals including E, K, B6 and iron. Many of the components of curry powder like cinnamon and turmeric are also potent antioxidants.

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Spice of the Month: Star Anise

by in Healthy Recipes, December 12, 2012

star anise
This spice is known for its distinctive licorice flavor and is an ingredient in one of my favorite liquors, arrack.

Star Anise Basics
This member of the parsley family dates back to at least 1500 B.C. For centuries, the seed was used to help with digestion. In India it was eaten after a meal to aid not only in digestion but also act as a breath freshener.

Star anise is the fruit of a small oriental tree. Its shape resembles a star with an average of 8 boat-shaped points. The points are actually seed pods which are hard-skinned and brownish-red in color. The anise seed (found inside the pods) has a greenish-brown color. Star anise is picked before it ripens and is then dried. It has a unique, sweet licorice flavor. You can find star anise whole or ground into a reddish-brown powder.

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Have You Tried: Saffron?

by in Have You Tried, February 18, 2012
saffron
Have you tried saffron? A little pinch goes a long way.

It’s hard to believe that a tiny part of a flower can also be a highly prized spice. Have you ever tasted the most expensive spice in the world?

What Is Saffron?
The delicate threads of saffron are actually the stigma of the purple crocus. Each flower gives only three strands that must be hand-picked. An acre of crocus flowers will yield 5 to 7 pounds of saffron, which is why the price tag for one ounce (approximately 13,000 threads) can easily approach $500.00! You may be able to find ground powdered saffron for less money but it’s not nearly as flavorful and loses its “umph” quickly.

Thankfully a little goes a long way. Trying to figure on how much to buy? The spice gurus at Penzey’s give these helpful conversions: 1 gram = 2 teaspoons whole, 1 teaspoon crumbled or ½ teaspoon powdered.

Once you bring some home, store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

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Spice of the Month: Cinnamon

by in Healthy Recipes, January 3, 2012


The ancient Egyptians used cinnamon to embalm the dead, while wealthy Romans used it in love potions and perfumes. Today, cinnamon is a popular spice that can jazz up both sweet and savory dishes.

Cinnamon Basics
Cinnamon is the inner bark of the tropical evergreen tree. The bark is peeled from the tree during the rainy season and once dried, it curls into long sticks which are either cut and sold as cinnamon sticks or ground into powder.

The two main varieties of cinnamon are Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and cassia (Cinnamomum cassia). Ceylon is considered “true cinnamon” and is pale in color with a mild, sweet flavor. Cassia cinnamon is also known as Chinese cassia or Indonesian cinnamon, and has a dark red-brown color. It has a more pungent flavor than Ceylon and is somewhat bittersweet.

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Robin’s Healthy Take: Spice it Up

by in Robin's Healthy Take, December 5, 2011

spices

Ever wonder what to do with those leftover spices in your spice rack? Things you bought for one recipe and haven’t used since? I’m talking about things like Chinese 5-spice, cardamom, star anise, coriander, marjoram, garam masala, tarragon and other unique, rarely used spices (rarely used in everyday American cooking, that is). I can help you clean out your pantry while savoring delicious meals. First, I’ve given you flavor profiles and tips for using several spices. Then, I created amazing dishes using Chinese 5-Spice and Cardamom. Check it out.

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Make Your Own Grill Seasoning

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, June 15, 2011
Grill Seasoning
Make your own grill seasoning with our easy how-to.

Give Dad a gift he can use all summer long: grill seasoning! Instead of boring bottled spice mixes, make your own batch for meat, fish or veggies with all his favorite flavors.

Get 3 new grill seasoning recipes, plus tips to create your own »

Weekly Bits: Summertime

by in Reader Tips & Comments, June 12, 2010

greek yogurt

There’s plenty to love about warm-weather eats. On this week’s menu of reader comments: spice rubs (great for grilling!) and a seasonal veggie salad, perfect as a side dish at a summer cookout. Plus, weigh in on our next taste test.

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Reading List: Spices Cut Cancer Risk, Chefs Adopt A School and Healthy Video Games

by in Food News, May 28, 2010

spices

In this week’s nutrition news: Overseas food suppliers to receive food safety training, anti-obesity video games and slathering spices on your meat can help reduce cancer risk.

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5 Ingredients: Spicy Cheesy Rice

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, June 1, 2009

cheesyrice_lead
Packaged, seasoned rice dishes are loaded with sodium and preservatives. Sure, it’s easy when it comes from a box, but why not try it yourself? I created this healthier version that’s become a family hit. Serve beside chicken, pork, seafood, beef or veggies, or try it with tacos (my favorite). Leftovers are convenient for lunch, too.

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