Guest Author - Rebecca Lee Graf
Herbs can be found in any active kitchen. Spaghetti sauce is just tomato sauce without the addition of herbs. A roast is just cooked meat without the flavor of herbs. The culinary uses of herbs will amaze you.
A kitchen without herbs is just a room storing food. Herbs are what bring foods to life. (This is said using spices in the context of herbs.) Add a little rosemary to a pork roast, and you find a whole new dish before you. Change the herbs and the dishes can become limitless. You cannot dabble in the culinary arts without exposure to herbs.
Herbs can be found in the form of fresh or dried. They can be leaves, stems, roots, petals, or bark. They can be solid or liquid. Their aroma and flavors may be subtle or strong. Because of their variety, the culinary arts is like a chemistry lab where the herbs are used in many different forms with millions of dishes available for our palates.
Most chefs will tell you that fresh herbs are better. The flavors from them are more potent and not as much is needed when compared to dried herbs. Yet, being able to obtain fresh herbs is not always an option for the everyday cook. That is where dried herbs come into play. They are easy to store and last for a very long time. Just be aware that when it comes to cooking, the quantity of dried herbs used in a recipe is larger than that of fresh herbs.
What food does not taste good with herbs? None. Even ice creams have had the pleasure of including herbs and spices. Meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy, desserts, snacks, drinks, and so much more can include, and often do, herbs.
Herbs can be used in frozen dishes, cooked dishes, and anything raw. Jellies, jams, and soups commonly have herbs. The culinary kitchen has unlimited possibilities with herbs.
Take a look at peppermint. It has a distinctive smell and flavor. Close your eyes and imagine peppermint in your nose and in your mouth. Peppermint candy, drinks, alcoholic beverages, sauces, mints, and even meat can be graced with peppermint. It can go so much further than just candy.
The culinary use of herbs is all about experiment and fun. Never shy away from trying new combinations. Cinnamon in chili or on roasted meat is delicious. Who would have thought of that? A cook unafraid of herbal adventures. Try new herbs and spices. See what they taste like on different kinds of foods.