This blog post is about two important yet under-appreciated ingredients in cooking, HERBS AND SPICES! Coming from a Caribbean household, herbs and spices were always a huge deal at home. I mean, what's a good curry without some cumin, turmeric and coriander?
Not only can herbs and spices bring any dish to life, but they can help you cut back on the less healthy means of flavouring your foods, like excessive salt or butter.
Sure, you can use herbs and spices in all the typical ways. But here are seven ways of using herbs and spices that you may not have thought of:
1. Create a tasty salad dressing with herbs. Try mixing herbs like tarragon or mint with an acidic juice like freshly squeezed oranges, or lemon juice. For a salad dressing with more of a punch, you can use balsamic vinegar, a bit of cooking oil, and herbs like sage or oregano. You can also purée a fruit or veggie, like mango or red pepper, to add some thickness and sweetness to your dressing.
2. Get creative with an ice cube tray. Mix your choice of herbs and spices with puréed garlic and oil for a marinade for meats or as seasoning for a quick stir fry.
3. Use dried herbs and spices in teas. Ditch those flavourless cardboard tasting tea bags. Instead, try swapping them out with spices like turmeric and cinnamon, or herbs like Yarrow, Red Clover, and Chickweed (the bulk store will soon become your best friend).
4. Use herbs to make flavoured oil instead of cooking with butter. Mix olive oil or another oil with rosemary and a clove of garlic, heat on low and mix all ingredients until the flavours settle in. Use the oil to flavour foods such as roasted potatoes or other root vegetables.
5. Make a delicious dry rub for ribs instead of the typical BBQ sauce. A beautiful dry rub with cayenne pepper, mustard powder, smoked paprika and dried herbs like thyme can make for a kickin’ new change the next time you make ribs.
6. Make a bomb pesto by swapping out basil for a mix of other herbs like arugula and parsley.
7. Make your own pickles using fresh dill. You can create a “quick pickle” by mixing 3 tablespoons of vinegar with 3/4 cups of water, a teaspoon of white sugar, and fresh dill or your own choice of herbs and spices. Submerge a freshly sliced cucumber or whole dill pickles in the vinegar mixture for a few hours.