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Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life    
Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 12:53 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: Julia Beard

FoodOkay, you know you have it. You always have some around, you use it all the time...dammit! Where is the ____?!

Foodie Forum asks, "What is the spice of your life?" That one spice that finds its way into so many things, the one you add to everything. For me that's cinnamon. It's in coffee, tomato sauce, French toast, curries, limpa, brownies, soup...well, everything. Cinnamon's also good for you, as a digestive aid and decongestant too.

We're talking spice or herb here, so no garlic talk- a leaf, stem, bark or nut.

What's your can't-live-without?

 

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  • Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life | 17 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: cgrotke on Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 03:06 PM GMT+4
    I might have said garlic if you hadn't told us not to say it. I suppose
    we'll rule out salt and pepper, too, as standards.

    That leaves me with two - vanilla and basil.

    I have a few bottles and jars of different vanillas around, and love
    using them in baking. I use it generously, too. When a recipe calls for
    a teaspoon, I think tablespoon. I'd use more vanilla beans if they
    weren't so darn expensive.

    Basil is my other favorite - in soups, salads, and sauces. I like it fresh
    with tomato and cheese, but also cooked into stews, and having some
    dried and ready to crush is always a requirement. Lise tells me a basil
    leave can help with bug bites, too.
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: Greycella on Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 04:26 PM GMT+4
    Mine would probably be ground cardamom. Great with french toast, in all kinds of baked goods, gotta love it in chai. I put it in savory dishes the way some would nutmeg to give it that unexpected twist. I can't get enough of it, personally.

    But in my professional life (I'm a cook) it's probably be paprika or something equally versatile.

    ---
    "Live, and in each other we will remain."
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: Jeezum Crow on Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 04:44 PM GMT+4
    For me it's thyme. I use it in soups, stews, most anything Italian, and with roast beef.

    Try it! You'll like it.
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: annikee on Thursday, February 21 2008 @ 06:14 PM GMT+4
    Basil! I love basil! And Bay leaves!

    When I lived in PA, a farmer wife showed me how she used bay leaves instead of sugar to sweeten her savory jellies. She boiled bay leaves til she had a strong decoction, then added that to the gelatin before the main fruit/veggie (usually tomato or pepper) jelly base. Gives it a sweet yet dry quality.

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: janed on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 09:09 PM GMT+4
    I'm with Annikee on this one: bay leaves and basil.

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    janed
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: Belfast on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 01:03 AM GMT+4
    Caveat: this is from p.o.v. of a non-foodie (have narrow peculiar tastes):

    I don't use it on everything, but with the few things I do, it makes small but
    important difference: Paprika.

    As someone who sticks with only salt & dash of pepper, there's a plastic-y
    taste that sometimes occurs in pasta after cooking-and a shake or two of
    paprika just knocks that undertone right out somehow. It makes my rice
    less bland, but in a mild, almost imperceptible way-like it tastes "just right"
    this way. It makes french fries & mashed potatoes deliciously zesty without
    being imposing & overwhelming flavor/sensation.

    Also am great fan of vanilla & cinnamon as ingredients for desserts/pastry
    (and hot tea).

    ---
    "You cannot administer a wicked law impartially-it destroys everyone it touches, its violators as well as its upholders."
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: andee grrr on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 02:18 AM GMT+4
    this is against the rules but... NUTRITIONAL YEAST.

    there is no spice-like thing that i use more. i put it on/in EVERYTHING.
    sauces, baked goods, desserts, toast, casseroles, popcorn, pasta,
    veggies, fruit, salads. i have even been known to throw some into a
    smoothie.

    if i was stuck on a deserted island & could only have one food, i think i'd
    be happy with a 500 pound bag of nutritional yeast. it would make all the
    bark and poisonous berries taste better.
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: Chef on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 06:25 AM GMT+4
    I have to agree with Chris, salt and pepper are a must. Personally, I
    use cayenne pepper a lot. Thyme is also frequently used in my
    dishes. I think Horseradish is overlooked by to many people. Add a
    little fresh grated horseradish in your mashed potatoes. Cilrantro,
    Ginger, Rosemary, Basil, Chives, Mint, Bay leaves, "Old Bay", and
    Dill are regularly sot after herbs and spices in my kitchen. But as of
    late, I've been on a coconut kick. I've been making everything with
    coconut or coconut milk/water. I had a Curry phase too. I find most
    people are a little intimidated when it comes to using bold and robust
    herbs and spices. I say have fun and play around, see what new twists
    one can come up with.
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: sugarhouse on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 03:06 PM GMT+4
    Dried = Cumin. Gotta have it.
    Fresh = Basil. Can't beat it. Although, fresh ginger root comes in a close second.
    Common yet necessary
    Authored by: Genie on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 04:38 PM GMT+4

    Black pepper is my all time favorite and most used spice.

    Home-grown sage is now number two. My grandmother stayed brilliant into her old age with home-grown sage.

    That said, I use lots of other spices & herbs when I cook for that special someone.

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    Wonders Never Cease.
    Common yet necessary
    Authored by: Wendy M. Levy on Saturday, February 23 2008 @ 09:22 PM GMT+4
    I don't want to diminish the importance of salt. And not table salt but sea salt. If you try them side-by-side you'll taste the difference: table salt tastes bitter and flat next to sea salt, which tastes much more complex, and, depending on where it's harvested, will have interesting savory/briny elements, reminiscent of the ocean.

    I'm a big fan of Sel Gris from France. Sure it's a little pricey, but even with moderate usage a bag will last YEARS. It has for me, and I love to cook. I'm not the biggest salt person, but sometimes I just dip the tip of my finger into the salt and put it my mouth because the salt tastes so good. Sea salt also apparently has some trace minerals in it, so it's better for you than refined table salt, which has none.

    I also recommend keeping a container of Kosher Salt in the house. Mixed with warm water, it's good to gargle with or to irrigate your sinuses during a cold or hay fever spells. And if you ever want to roast a chicken or turkey, brining it first makes it so juicy and tender. And for brining, only Kosher Salt will do.

    I've been curious to try the Himalayan Pink Salt. If anyone has tried it please let me know!

    ---
    Tune in to 107.7 fm WVEW every Thursday from 6-8pm to hear The Most Boring Radio Program Ever
    Common yet necessary
    Authored by: Genie on Sunday, February 24 2008 @ 02:14 AM GMT+4
    I have a Himalyan pink salt lamp.

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    Wonders Never Cease.
    Common yet necessary
    Authored by: tiny on Sunday, February 24 2008 @ 03:21 AM GMT+4
    Pink salt is nice, but pricey, good to use to food after cooking. Fresh
    grated nutmeg is my fav.
    UnCommon yet unnecessary
    Authored by: annikee on Sunday, February 24 2008 @ 05:41 AM GMT+4
    Himalyan pink salt is great on meats and fish but is lost on other foods. It's too expensive to waste- use sparingly, and only on already-cooked food.

    Sea salts are wonderful. But again, are to taste and for garnish. Some are too briny for sweet-centered palates.

    Kosher salt is the all-purpose salt, and especially for corned beef for upcoming St. Patty's Day Corned Beef.

    ---
    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    UnCommon yet unnecessary
    Authored by: Wendy M. Levy on Sunday, February 24 2008 @ 03:31 PM GMT+4
    A ha, I knew the Chef in you couldn't help but respond! :-)

    I've had other chefs tell me to use sea salt only after the food is cooked, too. And with the cost of many specialty salts - esp the Himalayan stuff - I see your point. The nuances will get lost in the food.

    For someone who has a sweeter palate, do you recommend regular table salt, or something else? I know some people like to bake with Fleur De Sel - the one that comes in the tall paperboard canisters (red for coarse, blue for fine).

    Mmm, thanks for the reminder about the upcoming St. Pat's corned beef. Wouldja be into trading a slab of Irish cheese for a slab of Corned Beef?


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    Tune in to 107.7 fm WVEW every Thursday from 6-8pm to hear The Most Boring Radio Program Ever
    UnCommon yet unnecessary
    Authored by: annikee on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 11:43 PM GMT+4
    Fleur de Sel is a lighter salt, but not sweet. Again, it's another post- cooking salt. If I want a bit of sweetness in my salt for cooking, I grind kosher salt with a pinch of sugar with a mortar and pestle. Grind it to a fine powder. If you need a m+p, I have an extra.

    YES! I will trade a hunk of my home-corned beef for Irish cheese!

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    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Foodie Forum: You Spice Up My Life
    Authored by: JoanneN on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 08:28 PM GMT+4
    I also use cinnamon in almost everything to hot cocoa to oatmeal to toast.

    I also like ot use Oregano a lot in sauces and soups.