Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spice it Up

Spices are one of my favourite things in the Kitchen. I am a bit of a Spice Queen. These spices you see are only half of the spices I have in my kitchen. I also have a lot of seasonings and some fresh herbs. Why do I have so many? I used to have a whole shelf full of spices. I love them because it allows me to travel the world of food with the use of a few spices.

Take a simple chicken, with a switch up of some spices you could have either Moroccan chicken, greek souvlaki, Italian scallopini, cajun chicken or spanish chicken.

Why have chicken that tastes the same every time you make it? Why not SPICE IT UP and experiment with flavours and try a new region every week with a few shakes of spices and seasonings.

If you like Greek food add Oregano to your garlic, lemon and olive oil marinade and you can make souvlaki flavoured chicken.

If can't go to New Orleans but want some Cajun feel make some blackened chicken with cajun spice rub.

Like French food then add some Herbs De Province and you will feel like you have been whisked away to a French Region.

You get the picture. Think of each spice as a place from around the world because that's where they came from. Each spice has been brought to us from somewhere in the world so we might as well use them that way.

Make your own custom spice rub if you do like your own specific flavours that you want to use everyday but mix it up.

One thing to note:

If you have one of those spice stands that has a whole bunch of spices that you never use or don't know what they are then get rid of them because you will probably never use them.

If you have had your spices in your pantry, kitchen cupboards, drawers or on the counter for years and never re filled them? Well it's time to toss them out. Spices should be changed once a year so buy a small amount of each.

Think of the foods you like when buying spices and try and buy spices to compliment those foods.

Switch it up and experiment. Smell the spices in a bulk store and see which ones smell good to you but you have never used and try them on something like chicken because chicken is like a sponge for different flavours. You can use almost anything on chicken but there are some things that just work better.

Here's a starter recipe that will get you thinking about spices differently when you cook your chicken. Roast a chicken and add some smoked paprika and salt and pepper on the skin of the chicken with olive oil before roasting and about 10 min before it's fully cooked take some blackberry jam and spread it over the chicken. You will end up with a smokey sweet bbq sauce glaze on your chicken. You can mix the paprika with the jam but I wouldn't suggest putting the jam on the chicken early because you may burn it because of the sugars in the jam.

Another way to do this is to pan fry chicken pieces until they are golden and then add a chipotle spice and blackberry jam mixture to the pan and melt it down and coat the chicken for about a minute or so. This makes a great sauce something like a chinese sweet and sour sauce.

Cinnamon is your friend. Did you know that Cinnamon has a whole bunch of health properties? Add some to your hot chocolate or your chicken or your stews.

Buy a new spice a week and experiment with it and by the end of the year you will be a spice expert.

A lot of spices have anti-infammatory properties like Tumeric and some aid with digestion like ginger so do your research and see what spices can do to give your foods a flavour and health boost.

Have fun and spice it up.


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