Spices are a chef’s best friendJuly 18, 2015
This post is all about Spices, specifically their use in food. In a future post, I will speak about how to use them effectively. Dictionary definition:“an aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavor food, e.g., cloves, pepper, or mace.” My definition: An excellent food ingredient used for seasoning and flavoring food in a healthful way. Involved in every cuisine in some way. Critically important important for any chef, especially with healthy cooking. Spices are a boon for any chef looking to cut corners, but in a good way. Spices are not like salt or seasoning- they don’t just compliment or enhance food, they add new flavors to it. The dictionary definition above sufficiently explains their origins. My definition explains their utility. So there are a lot of spices. LOTS of spices. How do you use them, without recipes? I like to classify spices to help people make use of them when adding to recipes:
- Brown Spices
- Fragrant Spices
- Bitter/Herbaceous Spices
- Pungent Spices
Brown Spices: These spices are aromatic, bold, and sometimes have a physical effect on your mouth such as numbness or tingling. Use in limited quantities, but don’t be afraid. Spices include: Allspice, clove, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon. Great when combined with vinegar and fragrant spices. Fragrant Spices: These spices are fragrant, bold, and beautiful. Fragrant spices lend themselves to combination as they are in the middle of the road as far as intensity is concerned. Most are seeds of flowering plants. Cumin and coriander is a great example of a combo that is nearly perfect. Examples: Cumin, coriander, celery seed, fennel, anise, turmeric, ginger, saffron, Bitter/Herbaceous spices: These spices are the dried leaves and other herbs, that contribute a bitter and fragrant aroma to foods. They are great for flavoring soups, sauces, and meats. Bitter/herbacious spices include any dry herb, green peppercorns, bay leaves. Pungent spices: These are spices that add heat and bitterness to your dish. Dried chili peppers, black pepper, basically anything with the word pepper in it. In my next post I will cover how to use spices, with pictures! But aside from their broad definition and utility, lets talk about spices at UFood. We use a couple of spice mixes to add great flavor to our food without adding fat, sugar, or salt. On our turkey burgers we use a Mediterranean herb blend inspired by fragrant herbs used in Southern France, Italy, and Spain. This mix of herbs adds floral brightness to our turkey burger, making the whole dish more balanced and flavorful. Our chipotle cinnamon blend is a interesting mix of chipotle peppers, cinnamon, and other spices that emboldens anything we put it on. Despite how strange chipotle and cinnamon may sound together, Due to how well it meshes with other foods, I tend to put it on everything, it is that good. Our spice rack at UFood Grill is full and we use creative ingredients whenever we can. Come to you food today and try out of our spiced up food today.