Kitchen Seasonings: A Quick World Tour

Kitchen Seasonings: A Quick World Tour

Herbs, spices and other seasonings are a natural and healthy way to add a lot of flavor to your recipes without adding a lot of extra calories. With a little practice, you can create an endless variety of delicious recipes, such as Mediterranean-inspired favorites bursting with the fresh flavors of lemon, garlic and rosemary and spicy Mexican dishes featuring cilantro, cumin and chili powder.

Of course, your options won’t end there. A wide range of herbs, spices and seasonings are used throughout the world to make food taste better, and in some cases, last longer. Over time, certain flavors have come to represent the culinary identity of the areas where they originated. In large part, the seasonings you choose will define the direction of your own culinary development, as well.

 With a little creativity, you can put a fresh spin on some of your favorite tried-and-true recipes by simply swapping out the herbs, spices and seasonings you use. For example, if you add fresh or dried basil or oregano to diced tomatoes, chopped onion and finely minced garlic, you have the makings of a wonderful red Italian pasta sauce. On the other hand, if you replace the basil and oregano with cilantro and lime juice, those same ingredients become the foundation for a fabulous homemade salsa recipe.

 To help inspire you, the following chart shows some of the most popular culinary ingredients based on geographic region.

 Most Popular Kitchen Seasonings from Around the World



Popular Herbs, Spices & Seasonings


basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, parsley


thyme, French tarragon, rosemary, basil, sage, mint, marjoram


dill, lemon, oregano, fennel


saffron, smoked and regular paprika, rosemary, thyme


mustard, rye, caraway seeds, borage


cilantro, chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano


curry powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric


five-spice powder, star anise, fennel seed, cloves, cinnamon, ginger


Thai basil, cumin, turmeric, lemon grass, cinnamon

Of course, this chart is far from comprehensive, but it can serve as a good reference point for assembling your own collection of must-have herbs, spices and seasonings.

Keep in mind, some herbs, spices and seasonings, such as salt, black pepper, onions and garlic, have an almost universal appeal that isn’t limited by geographic borders. Chances are you will notice those items popping up in recipes from all over the world. As a result, you may want to keep an adequate supply of these basic ingredients in your own pantry or spice rack.

You will also see a lot of crossover among dishes from countries that border one another. For example, French, Italian, Greek and Spanish dishes often feature many of the same herbs, such as basil, rosemary, oregano and thyme. Of course, this isn’t surprising when you consider how these populations interacted with and melded together over the course of history. Depending on your personal tastes and cooking habits, these ingredients may be good to keep on hand, as well.


 While assembling your own collection of herbs, spices and seasonings from around the world, remember you can save money by growing your own. Fresh herbs are super easy to grow from seed or from cuttings in your own garden and many can be brought indoors for year-round enjoyment. However, if growing fresh herbs isn’t your thing, many popular fresh and dried varieties are readily available. Dried herbs can be a great alternative to fresh, but take note of expiration dates and suggested storage methods. Dried herbs, spices and seasonings can be quite expensive, so buy smaller amounts at one time if you won’t be using them often.




National Poultry Day

March 19th is National Poultry Day

To clebrate here are several recipes for you to incorporate into your at home cooking cycle that offers a mix of baking, roasting, grilling, and braising.
Can you name the top three types of poultry consumed in the United States?
Visit our Facebook page for the answers!

Roasted Lemon Chicken
Yield: 2 Servings

2 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh rye or whole wheat bread crumbs*
1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place chicken on small foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Combine mustard, lemon peel and garlic; spread over top of chicken. Pat bread crumbs over mustard mixture; sprinkle with paprika.
2. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
TIP *To make fresh bread crumbs, tear day-old bread into pieces; place in food processor. Pulse 30 to 60 seconds or until coarse crumbs form. One bread slice yields about 3/4 cup crumbs.

Roasting the chicken at a high temperature keeps it moist and juicy while allowing the bread crumb coating to crisp and brown.
PER SERVING: 175 calories, 4.5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 28 g protein, 3.5 g carbohydrate, 75 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

Turkey Osso Bucco
Turkey Osso Bucco 
Turkey has lots a flavor and great texture. Turkey thighs braised with vegetables and herbs makes this dish
worth every moment of waiting for as its aromas tease you.

Pri Pri Wings
Pri Pri Chicken Wings
With spring just hours away there is no excuse not to start grilling. Try these wings as an appetizer or the main event.
These wings would go great with a broccoli slaw.

Nutty Coconut Chicken
Nutty Coconut Chicken  

This Chicken dish is saturated in sweet coconut, almond and walnut flavor.
Served on a bed of vegetable basmati rice pilaf or tossed into a apple spinach salad, the crunch of this pan-fried chicken
will add a heavenly texture.

What do you know about Bell Peppers?

Not only are bell peppers delicious to eat and beautiful to look at, but they are also packed with nutritional benefits. All bell peppers are high in vitamin C with the red pepper having more than twice as much as the green pepper. The bell pepper is also a wonderful source of vitamin A, vitamin B, antioxidants and carotenoids.
The bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper or capsicum, is of the species Capsicum annuum and native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Bell peppers are botanically fruits, but in culinary contexts they are usually considered to be vegetables.

Bell peppers can be bought year-round, but they are most abundant and tasty during the months of August and September. Colors range from the burgeoning colors of green to yellow, and ripen to the sweeter-tasting colors of red, orange, and sometimes purple and brown, depending on the variety.
Picking a good pepper is easy: they should have a smooth and tight skin (no wrinkles, or soft or bruised spots), plus bright color, and feel firm and solid. A look at the stem is another place to peek: it should appear fresh, green, and not dry or desiccated.
Don’t wash a pepper until use: ideally store unwashed peppers in a cool place covered with a kitchen towel, or second best is in the vegetable compartment in your refrigerator (but not in plastic, which will create excess moisture). Some even freeze them, either whole, or cleaned, deseeded, and chopped

Peppers can be eaten raw or cooked. If eating it raw, wash it first, then core it (cut around the stem with a paring knife). Cut the pepper in half lengthwise and then remove any seeds and the white core/ribs—you can try shaking the seeds into the garbage. Don’t be tempted to use water to remove the seeds: it will just waterlog it. The pepper is then ready to be cut into strips, chopped, or diced. For those want to stuff a pepper, cut it horizontally instead of cutting it lengthwise then remove the seeds and core. One precaution: even though peppers are typically sweet, be sure to wash your hands well when all is said and done—don’t touch your eyes!

Peppers are also delicious roasted. They can be grilled with tongs over a gas burner until blistered and the skin starts to blacken, or in the broiler: simply put cut pepper halves on a cookie sheet and roast. The best way to peel the skin is to then place the peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, or in a paper bag. Steam for about 15 minutes, and then peel the skin off with your fingers (or a knife if they’re too hot).
Peppers can also be stuffed, or sautéed—peppers are a delicious addition to a stir-fry. Peppers also pair well with meat, like a classic Italian sausage and peppers dish, or with steak. Some like to puree peppers into dips, like hummus, or into soups

Here are a few recipes to try from
Poor Man's Caviar
Black-eyed peas, scallions, and both red and green peppers combine in a salad that's equally delicious spread on bread or spooned from bowl.

Baked Chicken with Peppers
This vibrant baked chicken and peppers dish is as simple as it is classic.

Peppers in Tomato Sauce
Serve these preserved peppers over pasta or chicken for a bright meal.

Pesto Calabrese
This Southern Italian pesto gets its hue from tomatoes and red bell peppers.

Green Pepper Butter
Minced roasted green pepper adds irresistible flavor to this savory compound butter.

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut and Pomegranate Molasses Dip)
This Middle Eastern dip is one part sweet, one part tangy, and one part spicy; it's the perfect combination for slathering on sandwiches or serving with homemade pita chips.

Sweet Pepper Salad
Roasted red and green peppers get a kick from sugar and vinegar -- great served with grilled meats.

Eggplant Stuffed Peppers
Bell peppers are blistered over a flame before being stuffed with eggplant, breadcrumbs, and anchovies.

photo credit: wallyg via photo pin cc

Why we love washing produce and you should too!

Are Farm fresh fruits and vegetables clean, or hygienic еnоugh for consumption without washing? Of course the answer should be no. Especially when we consider by the time thеѕе commodities reach us, thеу have bееn handled by several people. For example, right from picking, storing, transporting, displaying, еtс. thеѕе fruits and vegetables have bееn touched by various hands.  The interchange of various hands increases the chances of spreading food borne illness. Also, if the produce is from a non-organic farm we have to consider pesticides, wax and resin.

Because fruit and vegetables are touched by many and the possibly coated with wax, resin or have been sprayed with it is important to wash them before cooking. Water along is not good enough. There are several Produce sprays available.  There are other options. Check out these simple and effective ways to clean your produce.

Vinegar contains acetic acid, whісh kills bacteria and discards pesticide residues. Additionally, vinegar іѕ not harmful to the body in any way. To prepare thіѕ wash, add 1-2 tablespoons of salt and ½ cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water.
You саn clean fruits or vegetables with thіѕ solution by soaking or as a spray. For better results, soak the fruits and vegetable for 10 minutes in the vinegar solution and then rinse it with water.
Instead of the salt, you саn add lemon juice and baking soda to the vinegar and water. Cleaning with vinegar on а regular basis will dеfіnіtеlу prevent contaminants from entering уоur body.

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Another natural wash that саn be prepared іѕ by using citrus seed extract. Alѕо called grapefruit seed extract, thіѕ extract іѕ the liquid produced from the membrane, pulp and seeds of grapefruit. 

Add аbоut 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 32 oz. of water. Shake or stir well and spray it on the fruits and veggies. You саn аlѕо place а stopper in the sink and fill the sink halfway with water. Add 20 drops of thіѕ extract and drop the fruits and veggies into the sink. Allow them to soak for 10 minutes and then rinse thоrоughlу with water.

Lugol's Iodine
We never thought our food in the United States could be so filthy it required iodine treatment. But it is by far the most efficient “sterilizer” no matter what the level of filth. When animal refuse is used as fertilizer or produce is grown in distant countries where different diseases abound, one can find safety with iodine.

Fill a sink or a bowl with a measured amount of water. Add one drop Lugol’s per quart (or liter) of water. Dip lettuce, spinach and any other produce so everything is well wetted for one minute or more. Rinsing is optional. (Eating traces of iodine is not harmful, but iodine is powerful so do not add it directly to the food on your plate or your beverages; it would destroy some food value and eventually become toxic.) Do not save the water for later use-it will lose its potency. If you wash so many vegetables that you can no longer see the color of the iodine it has lost its effectiveness. Add another drop.

Hydrogen Peroxide
Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of natural soap. Spray thіѕ solution on fruits and vegetables. The solution foams out and contains contaminants ѕuсh аѕ bacteria, еtс. that get killed by the hydrogen peroxide.

Ozonated Water
With an economical ozone machine, уоu саn ozonate the water and uѕе it аѕ а solution to wash edible items. Ozone kills contaminants deposited on the fruits and vegetables. Simply, lodge the ozone water bubbler in the water bowl for аbоut 7 - 8 minutes and then rinse fruits and vegetables with thіѕ ozone water.

Remember, mеrеlу washing fruits and veggies with water іѕ not sufficient. You never know whісh kind of contaminants are resting on the fruits and vegetables уоu buy from the grocery store. So it’s always better to uѕе thеѕе solutions to ensure that what уоu are eating іѕ clean.