Spices and Spice Blends

Herbs and spices can change the flavor of food. This is especially true when you are used to just salt and pepper. Each seasoning can bring out a special something in the flavor of meats and vegetable and add their own flavor. Consider these spices when you are preparing for your next recipe.

Barbecue Seasoning: This is a blend of spices that adds a smoky heat to your food. They typically include salt, sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper, hickory smoke flavor, and onion, among other flavors. These are great to apply to meat before you grill, roast, or broil it.

Bouquet garni: This is a French term for a bundle of herbs. These are usually tied together or wrapped in a piece of cheese cloth. Wrapping it in cheese cloth works great because it helps you remove the physical herbs while the food retains the flavor. This is handy to use for bay leaves because the physical bay leaf should not be eaten. Traditional French bouquet garni includes thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. However, I make them out of various herbs, depending on what I am cooking.

Cajun Seasoning: Each brand has its own blend. However, most are peppery and include onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, white pepper and red pepper. It is great in crumb coatings, fish, poultry, or meat before cooking.

Dry Rub: This too varies with brand and style. It is great sprinkled over meat just before grilling or even used as a dry marinade. To use it as a dry marinade, simply rub over the meat, wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge over night.

Fines Herbes: This is a French seasoning that describes a mix of chervil, parsley, chives, and tarragon. It is great in gravy, sauces, soups, and poultry stuffing.

Five Spice: Again, this varies by brand but most are comprised of cinnamon, star anise, anise seeds, fennel, Szechuan or black pepper, and cloves. It is easy to make your own at home too.

Herbes de Provence: This is a mix of dry herbs that re common in southern France. Typically includes basil, fennel, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme. It is great in poultry stuffing, pasta, soups, and salad dressings. * I have attempted to make my own, but I will leave it to the professionals. I have yet to perfect the amount of lavender that is needed and mine ends up tasting kind of soapy.

Itialian Seasoning: This is great to have for tomato sauces. Each brand has its own specific spices that it prefers to incorporate. Most include basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, garlic, and red pepper.

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning: This is a great mixture of salt, sugar, allspice, thyme, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, onion, and chile peppers. This is great on fish, in meat marinades, and salad dressings. It can also be great if used directly on meat, I have found that it leaves a very pungent spice on meat, so if you do, don’t go heavy handed.

Lemon-pepper Seasoning: This is a mix, made up of salt, black pepper, and dried, grated lemon peel. It is great on poultry and vegetables.

Mexican Seasoning: This is a spicy blend that usually includes cumin, chile peppers, salt, onion, sweet peppers, garlic, and oregano. I personally think it is great, but the kids say it is too spicy.

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