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    Cooking with herbs and spices (references and chart) - 11/5/2008 2:27:30 PM
    Associate Recipe Consultant Gail

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    The good news:  Herbs and spices are naturally no salt added.  (and for those of you who aren't clear on the difference between herbs and spices, click hereSmile)  Mother Nature doesn't ADD salt to her bounty, so don't feel you need to run to specialty shops, conduct complicated web searches or spend scads of money buying special herbs or spices for use on this plan.  You don't.  The "Using Food to Lose Fat" section of your binder lists a number of popular herbs and spices you can buy and use for this plan-- or for any cooking purposes really.  In addition to those listed, there is a world of herbs and spices out there waiting for you to discover.  The best part is that they should be available at most any market.
     
    For those not used to herbs and spices, I urge you not to go hogwild on products you may or may not ever use.  Start small.  Pick out recipes which sound appealing.  If they call for seasonings you don't own, purchase as needed and increase your collection as things are called for.  I see so many folks on our forums asking what spices they should purchase-- some even go out and spend obscene amounts of money purely on the recommendation of a total stranger.  Tastes are very individual things:  just because Member A thinks cumin is the greatest thing since the advent of the microwave, it doesn't necessarily follow that you're going to love it, too.  Save money, time and space by learning to trust the taste buds you're equipped with.
     
    Many folks here prefer to use spice or seasoning mixes.  Basically, spice or seasoning mixes are premixed blends of herbs and/or spices typically identified by the use of somewhat nebulous names.  You'll usually find them labeled with descriptives such as "season," "seasoning," "spice," "mix," "rub" or "powder" in the product name. I use the term "nebulous" because a bottle of something labeled "Singapore Seasoning" doesn't exactly clue you in to what's inside.  Unless we take a moment to read the ingredients, we have no idea that this product contains several varieties of pepper, lemon peel, garlic, onion, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon and cloves.  So, it's spice and seasoning mixes where you need to exercise extra care.  Some manufacturers tend to be sneaky, finding that they can up the flavoring quotient of their products by adding salt, sugar or cornstarch to the mix.  This means that if you're thinking about buying a spice/seasoning mix, it will behoove you to read ingredient labels very carefully before you make a purchase.  We'd hate to see you come home with something with off-plan ingredients.  As a guideline, our "What is it and where do I find it?" forum offers you a partial listing of some of the popular no salt added (nsa) seasonings out there on the market.  But honestly, if you take the time to read labels, you don't need to get hung up on product names.
     
    If you're not used to cooking with herbs or spices, knowing where to start can be a daunting enterprise.  Few of us have much luck playing eeny-meeny-miny-moe with spices and grabbing one at random.  This is one reason why we're frequently pointing you to our recipe forum.  Since recipes normally tell you what flavorings to use, this eliminates some of the guesswork.  But, I understand that not all of us want to follow recipes.  So for those adventurous souls preferring to pioneer their own trails through the wilderness of herbs and spices, I offer the following reference sources:
     
    advice about herb and spice storage, spice and food pairing suggestions
     
    Several pages of detailed information about herbs and spices, describing flavors, offering suggestion uses.  Not a quick reference guide.
     
    Tons of information about history, storage, usage,  spice and food pairing.
     
    Gives detailed information about the history and usage of various spices-- plus you can buy lots of good stuff!  I've listed a number of other excellent sources for spices and herbs in our "What is it and where do I find it?" forum.
     
    Seeds 
     
    As a general rule, seeds falling into the realm of spices  (things such as celery seed, mustard seed, anise seed, cardamom seed, dill seed, fennel seed are some which come to mind.)   are fine for plan use.  Seeds which won't be plan friendly are typically those you use for garnishes, such as poppy, caraway and sesame.
     
     
    Fresh herbs
    Good descriptions and usage suggestions for fresh herbs. Try them!  They'll add yet another taste to your cooking.  
     
     Descriptions, photos, usage, storage and freezing advice for fresh herbs.
     
    Quick reference chart for fresh herb use
     
    When using herbs and spices, please bear in mind that they are only one aspect of adding flavor to your foods.  Pairing interesting ingredients, using marinades, cooking with wines or vinegar, alternating your cooking method and adding the right condiments (home made, please, from our Condiment Recipe forum) will all further enhance the use of your seasonings and make for far more interesting meals.
     
    Happy cooking!
     
     
     
    Spice Soups Meats Fish & Sauces & Vegetables Carbs Sweets
          Seafood Relishes      
                   
    ALLSPICE Split Pea Beef Stew Spiced Shrimp Chili Sauce Asparagus Sweet Potatoes Pudding
      Oyster Stew Buffalo Stew Poached Fish   Beets Beets Baked Custard
      Bean Meatloaf     Broccoli Winter Squash Fruit
        Jerk Chicken     Cabbage  Oatmeal  
        Jerk Turkey     Carrots    
              Pickled Beets    
              Zucchini    
                   
    BASIL Minestrone Beef Stew Baked Fish Spaghetti Asparagus Beets  
      Beef Buffalo Stew Poached Fish Barbecue Sauce Beets Potatoes  
      Tomato Chicken Tuna Loaf Marinara Sauce Broccoli Winter Squash  
      Vegetable Turkey Seafood Salad   Cabbage Rice  
      Chicken Italian Foods     Carrots    
        Hamburgers     Eggplant    
        Roasts     Green Beans    
              Marinated     
               Vegetables    
              Mushrooms    
              Tomatoes    
              Zucchini    
                   
    BAY Bean Pot Roast Poached Fish Tomato Sauce   Potatoes  
      Vegetable   Spiced Shrimp Spaghetti Sauce   Rice  
      Beef   Shrimp Boil Barbecue Sauce      
      Chicken            
      Stews            
                   
    CELERY Vegetable Stews Baked Fish Potato Salad  Cauliflower Potatoes Muffins
    SEED Tomato Pot Roasts Shrimp Dressing Green Beans    
        Meatloaf Tuna Coleslaw Tomatoes    
            Barbecue Sauce      
            Cocktail Sauce      
                   
    CHILI Chili Fajitas   Taco Sauce Cauliflower Beans  
    POWDER Beef Stews   Barbecue Sauce Green Beans    
      Bean  Hamburgers   Tomato Sauce Tomatoes    
      Vegetable Chicken          
      Gazpacho Taco Meat
             
                   
    CINNAMON Split Pea Stews   Fruit Chutney Beets Beets Quick Breads
      Fruit Braised Meats   Ketchup Carrots Sweet Potatoes Muffins
        Chicken Stuffing   Mole Sauce   Winter  Squash Fruit
        Turkey Stuffing   Fruit Sauce   Oatmeal Cookies
            Relishes     Puddings
                   
    CLOVES Split Pea Braised Meats Poached Fish Chutney  Beets Beets Quick Breads
        Roast Chicken Spiced Shrimp Relishes Carrots Sweet Potatoes Cookies
        Roast Turkey     Cabbage Winter Squash Pudding
                Oatmeal Fruit
                   
    CUMIN Chili Roast Beef   Barbecue Sauce Tomatoes Rice  
      Vegetable Pork   Mexican Sauce Eggplant Beans  
      Beef Chicken   Vegetable Sauce Green Beans    
      Gazpacho Mexican Dishes     Marinated     
               Vegetables    
              Zucchini    
                   
    CURRY Chicken Curries Shrimp Chutney Broccoli Potatoes  
    POWDER Beef Chicken Salmon   Cabbage Rice  
      Seafood Beef Seafood    Carrots    
        Buffalo     Cauliflower    
              Eggplant    
              Marinated    
               Vegetables    
              Zucchini    
                   
    DILLWEED Chicken Pork Roast Tuna Loaf Relishes Asparagus  Beets  
      Split Pea Chicken Seafood    Beets Potatoes  
      Potato Casseroles  Casseroles   Green Beans Rice  
      Chowders Hamburgers Baked Fish   Broccoli    
          Broiled Fish   Cabbage    
          Shrimp Salad   Carrots    
              Cauliflower    
              Coleslaw    
              Cucumber Salad    
              Tomatoes    
              Zucchini    
                   
    GARLIC Chicken Roast Chicken Baked Fish Salad Dressings Eggplant Potatoes  
      Vegetable Roast Turkey Shrimp Scampi Italian Style Greens Rice  
        Burgers   Sauces Green Beans    
        Italian Dishes   Barbecue Sauce Mushrooms    
        Mexican Dishes   Marinades Tomatoes    
        Asian Dishes     Squash    
                   
    GINGER Split pea Marinades Marinades Chutney Asparagus Beets Quick Breads
      Bean Braised meats   Relishes Beets Winter Squash Fruit
      Fruit Stir Fry   Fruit Carrots Sweet Potatoes Cookies
        Chicken     Stir-Fried  Oatmeal  
               Vegetables    
                   
    MARJORAM Vegetable Stews Baked Fish Italian Sauce Asparagus  Potatoes  
      Beef Chicken Broiled Fish Tomato Sauce Broccoli Rice  
      Chicken Turkey     Cabbage    
      Onion Meat Loaf     Carrots    
      Seafood Meat Balls     Cauliflower    
      Fish Roasts     Eggplant    
      Tomato       Green Beans    
              Marinated     
               Vegetables    
              Tomatoes    
              Squash    
                   
    MUSTARD   Sausage Broiled Fish Salad Dressings Coleslaw Potato Salad  
    POWDER   Pork   Barbecue  Marinated     
        Baked Chicken   Marinades  Vegetables    
        Broiled Chicken     Pickles    
        Baked Turkey          
        Broiled Turkey          
                   
    NUTMEG Split Pea Chicken Salad   Dessert Sauce Asparagus  Beets Muffins
      Chowders Meat Loaf     Broccoli Potatoes Quick Breads
        Sausage     Cabbage Sweet Potatoes Cookies
              Carrots Oatmeal Pudding
              Cauliflower Winter Squash Fruit
              Green Beans    
              Squash    
                   
    OREGANO Minestrone Chicken Baked Fish Salad Dressings Asparagus Roasted Potatoes  
      Tomato Turkey Broiled Fish Italian Sauces Broccoli Potato Salad  
      Beef  Meatloaf Shrimp Salad Spaghetti Sauce Eggplant    
      Vegetable Roasts   Tomato Sauce Green Beans    
      Bean Stews   Barbecue Sauce Mushrooms    
        Braised Meats     Tomatoes    
              Zucchini    
                   
    ROSEMARY Chicken Roast Broiled Fish Gravy Eggplant Roasted Potatoes  
      Pea Chicken Poached Fish Salad Dressing Cucumber Salad    
        Turkey     Green Beans    
        Pork Roasts     Mushrooms    
              Tomatoes    
              Zucchini    
                   
    SAGE Chicken Chicken Stuffed Fish Salad Dressings Green Beans    
      Pea Turkey Baked Fish Poultry Gravy Brussels Sprouts    
      Tomato Pork Broiled Fish   Zucchini    
        Stuffings          
        Sausage          
                   
    TARRAGON Chicken Chicken Broiled Fish Salad Dressings Broccoli Potatoes  
      Vegetable Pork Poached Fish Poultry Gravy Carrots Rice  
      Tomato Roast Pork Seafood Salad   Cauliflower    
              Cucumber Salad    
              Green Beans    
              Mushrooms    
              Tomatoes    
              Zucchini    
                   
    THYME Vegetable Baked Chicken Baked Fish Salad Dressings Asparagus Potatoes  
      Pea Baked Turkey Broiled Fish Gravy Broccoli Rice  
      Beef Braised Meats Seafood Tomato Sauce Carrots    
      Chicken Roasts     Cauliflower    
      Tomato Pork Chops     Cucumber Salad    
      Bean Stuffings     Eggplant    
      Minestrone       Green Beans    
              Mushrooms    
              Tomatoes    
              Zucchini    
              Brussels Sprouts    
              Onions    
                   
     
     

    Effective February 2013, I'll be moving on to other Provida adventures and will no longer be part of the 6WBM staff.   I've enjoyed working with you all and wish you the best with your weight loss endeavors.

     
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