Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Herbs and spices are items that every kitchen should be graced with along with chefs who aren't afraid to use them. While creating shortcuts for ourselves we may need to invest more time in the beginning to ensure the best results. Here are 3 herb & spice shortcuts that will help your process:
Herbal Ice Cubes
When you have a particular combination of herbs and spices that you like blend them together and automate your system. It works for soups, stews, pastas, sauces, marinades and even desserts.
Herbal Ice Cubes
When you want to create herbal ice cubes all you'll need to do is grind down the fresh herbs in a food processor, a mortar and pestle or use a hand held blender. Take the processed herbs and then place in small ice molds and freeze solid. Once frozen you can remove from the molds and store in an air-free plastic bag or some other type of freezer storage container.
When creating your pastes you are either going to do roughly the same thing as when creating the herbal ice cubes but without freezing; you may add some oil, vinegar, salt and/or sweetener in the process and you may cook, roast, fry or saute the ingredients and then grind them down or grind them first and then cook them down depending on what flavor and texture you want them to be. When finished store in the refrigerator in a preferably air-free or vacuum sealed container, glass if at all possible. The herbs and spices you use will determine its shelf life.
The pastes come in handy when you're making sauces, rubs, soups, stews and even desserts.
There's nothing better than being able to grab for one bottle of seasonings as opposed to 10. The best way to do this is by creating signature blends. A combination of seasonings that give your dishes their own unique taste. This way you can just reach for that one jar when you're cooking and want to speed things up.
Here's a quick recipe for a nice herb and spice blend:
1 tbsp Fennel seed
2 tbsp Paprika
1/2 tbsp Sage
1 1/2 tbsp Dill Weed
1/2 tbsp Dill Seed
2 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Dehydrated Onion
1 tbsp Rosemary
2 tbsp Basil
1 1/2 tbsp Marjoram
Take all of these ingredients and place into spice grinder and grind to a powder. Place in a jar and store in refrigerator or freezer.
You've just learned another way to speed up the process of your cooking. As you use these pre-prep techniques your time in the kitchen will become even more creative and satisfying.
For more tips and information get yourself a copy of my Vegetarian Resource Newsletter and pop over to the vegetarian forum. You'll be happy you did!
As always... It's been great sharing with you. Until next time... Bye for now.