Archive for the 'Food Products' Category

Apr 09 2009

Herbs and Spices.

Published by under Food Products,In The Kitchen

If you do any cooking at all, you are going to want to have some herbs and spices on hand.  Even Colonel Sanders had his special blend of herbs and spices, and look what that did for him!  These little gems are pretty important to almost every dish you can make, but it can be confusing for beginning cooks or those with limited space to know which to have on hand.  The herbs and spices you want to keep in your kitchen depends on the kinds of foods you like to cook.  If you’re like me, and cook a bit of everything, then you may think you’ll need to keep a lot of things around you, but since so many herbs are multi-taskers, I think you’ll find that you don’t need a lot of little jars to make a big impact.

Another question is: fresh or dried?  Again, this depends on your cooking style.  I mostly opt for dried, just because there is a longer shelf life.  However, for some foods, I will pick up fresh herbs, especially if it’s the first time I’ve made a recipe and it specifically calls for fresh.  Just remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh.  If you’re going to substitute, a good rule of thumb is to sub 1 teaspoon of dried for every tablespoon of fresh the recipe calls for.  And sometimes – like when making a cheeseball or a salad – you’ll just want to use fresh no matter what.   Also, dried herbs do lose their potency over time!  If it’s six months old, throw it out and replace it.

Before we talk specifics, there are a few staples that you’re going to want to keep around no matter what.  With these, you can season just about anything successfully.  The staples are:  salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley.  These four things go with everything.  Now, keep in mind that better quality is going to get you better results, and there are fun subcategories to explore (such as kosher or seasoned salt, and a range of peppercorns), but in general, I would keep both kosher and iodized (or table) salt on hand, and both whole peppercorns (in a grinder) and the stuff that comes in a can.  The thyme and parsley I keep on hand in their dry forms, and I will occasionally bring in fresh of each, depending on what I’m making (potato skins are another thing that need fresh).

OK, so now you’ve got your four staples, but you’re interested in expanding out and trying new things.  Here’s a list of meats (or flavors), and some of the herbs and spices that complement them.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it will get you going.  Also, just assume that each list also includes thyme and parsley, because, as I said, they go with everything:

  • Beef: marjoram (not margarine, even though they sound alike), chives, rosemary, ground mustard, ginger
  • Mutton: mint, dill, rosemary
  • Pork: rosemary, pineapple sage, savory
  • Poultry: tarragon, sage, paprika, ground mustard, lovage*
  • Fish: fennel, dill, savory, lemon balm, ginger
  • Non-fish seafood (like lobster): dill, tarragon, basil, lemon balm, lovage
  • Eggs: chervil, basil, chives, tarragon
  • Salad: savory, marjoram, basil, ginger

*It may be hard to find lovage, as it is not a commonly used herb, at least in the USA.

When seasoning, remember that more is not always better.  Don’t pile all your herbs on at once – add one at a time, and see how you like it.  You may find that you like a dish better when it contains only one or two herbs or spices as opposed to four or five.  The purpose of herbs is not to overwhelm the taste of the main ingredient, but rather to provide a subtle change in flavor.

Comments Off

Mar 31 2008

Pillsbury Grands! Frozen Biscuits.

Published by under Food Products

There are some meals that just cry out for a bread product of some kind. Spaghetti is a good example – in our house, spaghetti must be served with garlic bread. Otherwise, it’s not right. Oh, it will still get eaten, but it won’t be PROPER.

Most of the time, bread for me is an afterthought. I decide during the cooking process to add rolls to the menu. Usually, this would mean cracking open a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Grands!, but I always hated to do that because some bread would be wasted. There are only three of us in the house, and there would always be more rolls that we could eat.

That’s why I love the frozen Pillsbury Grands! (okay, that’s it, I’m sick of that damn exclamation point. They are not that exciting.) I can make as many or as few as I want – no leftovers, no waste. The cooking time is only a couple minutes more than the non-frozen variety, and the rolls actually turn out a little better. The buttermilk kind resembled buttermilk biscuits more than the canned variety ever did. They were a great base for biscuits and gravy.

I realize that frozen or canned rolls are not the best or healthiest option, but let’s be realistic. I’ve never been a healthy cook or a healthy eater. I eat what I like and I cook what’s convenient. If you’re like me, give these rolls a try.

Comments Off

Tags

allergies allergy animals baking bees cat cats christmas church commercials cooking Destiny doctor doctors dog dogs Dr. Mom family food garden gardening holiday humor Infertility IVF kitchen kitty mackers Moll parenting pet pets politics pregnancy recipe recipes shopping stupidity television The Boy The Man Travel vet weather wordpress

Search