copyright 2009, Maria Liberati
Whether fresh or dried, herbs and spices are the essence of life—particularly life in the kitchen! Fresh dill complements any salad; and what is tomato sauce without fresh basil or guacamole without garden fresh cilantro? What about blending herbs to make a new, distinct flavor to add to your delectable dishes?
Combinations of herbs and spices can be concocted to make even the simplest vegetables soar with flavor. Herb combos can be made with or without salt, depending on your preference. In fact, mixing salt with spices become herbed salts—something you can sprinkle onto any meal instead of plain old salt.
When making an herb mixture, there are 2 important things to remember:
Measurements are key—too much of one herb will overpower the other flavors in the mixture. Start with small amounts and add more to taste.
Use herbs that will complement one another in the same dish, yet don’t be afraid to try some unfamiliar combinations. You might come across a blend that could become a family favorite!
It is no secret that oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme are classic Italian herbs. They season most Italian dishes with a special zeal. However, have you ever tried adding some different spices or herbs to your spaghetti sauce? Cilantro may not be a typical Italian herb, but chop some up and add it to your sauce for an extra punch.
Making herbed salt
Try this: Mix 1 cup of coarse sea salt with 2 tsp each: dill seed, coriander seed, cumin seed, and whole peppercorns. Pour this mixture into a clear “pepper mill” and you now have some freshly ground salt to spice up your meals every time. This also makes a great gift for the food lovers on your list who are otherwise impossible to buy for.
Each herb and spice has its own distinct flavor and when you blend it with other herbs and spices, it adds or changes the essence. Be creative, but remember to add herbs and spices in small steps. You can always add more but you can’t take it away!
Perfect for the Holidays The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays & Special Occasions filled with 140+ recipes, menus, wine pairing tips and short stories about life in a charming town in the mountains of Italy.
Thanks to the Ladies of the Horsham Friends Library for organizing a book signing for me this past week for both of my books. And please stop by the Horsham Townshp Library in Horsham ,Pa and purchase a copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking . Proceeds go to the Friends of the Library, a great way to promote literacy!