Category Archives: Well Stocked Pantry

How to Use Herbs and Spices

Angel Lior via FreeImages.com

Angel Lior via FreeImages.com

My memories of Thanksgiving, which happens in the U.S. next week, are infused with the scent of herbs and spices, expertly used by my grandmother. The use of herbs (such as oregano, thyme and marjoram) and spices (such as ginger, paprika and chile) is a very common technique cooks depend on to expand upon the taste, flavor and afterthought of a dish. In this post, I provide a few suggestions on how to best use herbs and spices when preparing meals and following a recipe. These may help you create unique and tasty meals with your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh Herbs

Since dried herbs possess a stronger flavor than fresh leaf herbs, you will need to adjust your habits when adding dried herbs to a recipe that calls for fresh herbs. Simply substitute 1/3 of the amount to adjust the strength in taste. You don’t want your final results to carry an overpowering favor. Also, there are some dishes that just require fresh — those whose main ingredient is an herb just don’t taste right when made with dried herbs.
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pantry

Strategic Pantry Stocking

pantry

hilarycl via MorgueFile.com

With the number of holidays coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to discus the staples of the kitchen. How often have you looked into your pantry (whether it a cupboard over your sink or the walk in closet variety) at the end of a day and wondered how you could transform the random ingredients you have on hand into a satisfying family meal? Don’t answer, on the grounds it may incriminate you.

With busy lives — and who isn’t crazy busy in the months of November and December, what with all the family, friend and co-worker get-togethers — it’s often hard to think or plan ahead. Statistics show that most people don’t think about what to have for dinner until after 4pm that day. And when day is done, what we want is to find comfort in our personal time, not the frustration of what to cook or the disappointment of a mediocre meal.
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bananas

Bananas

bananas

BHJoco via MorgueFile.com

I love bananas. In fact, I’m thinking of doing a cookbook dedicated just to them — kind of like Bonkers for Bundt Cakes, only for bananas. Their subtle flavor makes them quite versatile: you can serve them plain, sliced on buttered toast, in custard , in sandwiches — you name it. Here are some interesting facts about the humble banana:

  • The first banana arrived in Britain in 1633.
  • Despite its odd shape, the banana is actually a berry.
  • It is the fruit of giant herb related to both ginger and tumeric and came originally from the Malaysian Peninsula.
  • Banana trees grow to about 10 meters in height and have huge leaves which wind around to form a sort of trunk. Each year individual plants produce a large flower spike in a gorgeous deep cerise colour which eventually becomes the bunch of bananas.
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goat

Experimenting with Goat’s Milk

goat

Photo: Maryhere via MorgueFile.com

I was discussing dairy products with my mother the other day, when she said she prefers to use goat’s milk over cow’s milk. She said it is better for you and that it is easier to digest for those of us who are lactose intolerant.

So, when I was grocery shopping the other day, I bought a quart of goat’s milk. It tastes quite different from cow’s milk. For one, it has a tartness to it that I recognize from eating goat’s cheese. Also, and this may sound strange, but it kind of reminds me of the smell of human milk.

Anyway, I can attest that goat’s milk was easier for me to digest, but I think as a beverage it would be an acquired taste. I did like it with my breakfast cereal, though. The tartness offset the sweetness of the Honey Nut Cheerios I was mixing in with my Fiber One. 😉 (more…)

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