{Food for Thought} Need a Little Spice in Your Life?

by Lauren

We are embarking on a little something new and different here in the LYK… just in time to ring in the New Year!  In addition to sharing our favorite recipes and creations, we would like to bring to you an occasional short column on a culinary and/or dining informational item.  Whether it be an etiquette tidbit, a spice snippet, foodie analysis, or a kitchen equipment comment, we thought it would be fun to post this info to enhance your (and our) dining experience.  Read on for our first installment by our guest writer!


Need a Little Spice in Your Life?

Do we really have to get rid of spices that are older than six months? I regret to say that my enormous collection ranges in age from many moons to just a few weeks. I did recently put in new shelf liner, and that prompted the cleaning out of the spices. So that left room to add some new spice(s) to my life!

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Spices are essential because they bring excitement to a dish—without spices a dish could be considered lacking in soul. It seems that some spices “open up” when you cook with them—you can really smell their aroma, so you know they are contributing in a big way to your creation. But on the other hand, some actually “go kaput,” and do not add any flavor. For example spicy spices or ginger develop tremendously, but coriander or cloves don’t if they are cooking for a long period of time. I’ve often taken some of my dry spices and ground them a bit and added olive oil to form a paste. Caution: use small amounts because this approach creates a very strong result.

Most cooks tend to have their “go to” spices that get used again and again. How do we experiment with spices? Practice, practice, practice. Once a week try to cook a regional meal like a Turkish dish or Spanish tapas. The internet is a wealth of information on any type of regional food; just google away, and you will learn all about what spices you need to get that special flavor.

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So in order to keep your spices fresh, do buy them in small amounts, and do try to clean out your spice drawer or cabinet at least once in 2014. Keep your spices in a moderately temperate place (no direct sun), and always close the jar right away after using so you don’t start losing flavor!

Bringing you some Food for Thought, from The Little Yellow Kitchen!

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