Sunday, December 4, 2011

For Seasoned Cooks

Built-in spice shelf my husband built works great in a small kitchen.
Make Scents of the Spice Rack
  • Did you know cinnamon sticks are actually curled up bark from a tropical evergreen tree?  Cinnamon is also ground from the bark.  The sticks easily flavor simmering liquids and beverages, while the ground version is best for baked goods.
  • What's the difference between ground and whole spices?  Most ground spices are simply powdered versions of their original forms.  Recipes generally specify which form of the spice is preferred.  Freshly grated nutmeg has more intense flavor than commercially ground nutmeg.  you can grate the whole spice with a nutmeg grater or grinder.
  • Fooled you!  Most people think allspice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  It's actually a berry from a tropical evergreen, although it tastes like 'all spices.'"
Spice Tips
  1. Keep all spice in tightly covered containers, in a cool dark place.
  2. Spices lose their flavor after a year "on the shelf," and will need to be replaced.
  3. Spices should enhance, but not overpower, the flavor of your dish.  Use moderation, start by adding only half of the spice called for and taste before adding more.  Spicing is not absolute, but should be done "to taste."
  4. Spices turn bitter if/when overheated.  During lengthy cooking add the spice during the last 12 half our of cooking.  This will keep your spice spicey.
  5. In most cases 1 teaspoon of dried spice equals 1 tablespoon of fresh.
Making your own seasonings is a good way to use up spices before their shelf life run out.  It's also handy if you run out of the store bought versions.  They make nice gifts as well--check out Gourmet Seasoning Salt!

Poultry seasoning:  Combine 4 teaspoons each of dried sage, dried thyme, and dried marjoram.

Italian seasoning:  Combine 4 teaspoons each of dried oregano, dried marjoram, and dried basil, and 2 teaspoons rubbed sage.

Curry powder:  Combine 1/4 cup ground coriander, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons ground turmeric, and 1 tablespoon ground ginger.

Apple pie spice:  Combine 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom.

Pumpkin pie spice:  4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Seasoned salt:  Place the following ingredients in a pint jar and seal.  Shake until mixture is completely blended.  Yield:  about 1-1/3 cups of seasoning.  1 cup salt, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 1-1/2 teaspoons dried whole oregano, 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme, 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric.

Pickling spice:  Combine 1/4 cup each mustard seeds, dill seeds, and coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons each crushed chili peppers and bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon each celery seeds and white peppercorns.

Onion soup mix:  For a 1-3/8 ounce package, combine 1/4 cup instant minced onion, 2 tablespoons bouillon and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.

Gourmet Seasoning Salt:
1 cup salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons dried whole oregano
1 teaspoon ground marjoram
1 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried whole dillweed (optional)
Combine all ingredients; mix well.  Store in as airtight container.  Sprinkle over meat or vegetables.  Yield: about 1-1/4 cups.

Herb Blend:
3 tablespoons dried whole basil
3 tablespoons dried whole marjoram
3 tablespoons dried whole thyme
3 tablespoons dried whole tarragon
1 tablespoon dried lemon peel
1 tablespoon dried whole oregano
Place all ingredients in a small jar and seal.  Shake until mixture is completely blended.  Yield: about 3/4 cup of seasoning.

Just Enough Poultry Seasoning:  
3/4 t. sage, crumbled
1/4 t. leaf thyme, crumbled
1/4 t. pepper
dash marjoram
dash cloves, optional
Combine all ingredients.  If you make extra, store in an airtight container.  Use for poultry stuffing or dressing or as a rub for chicken.  source

Better-Than Potpourri Brew:  Mix the ingredients and place in an attractive container to give as a gift.

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