Using Your Spice Rack to Become a Gourmet Chef

If you hand an experienced cook and a beginner the same ingredients, it’s a safe bet one meal will come out tasting much better than the other. The secret is understanding flavors and knowing how to enhance them to produce a mouthwatering dish people will remember. To achieve this, you don’t need a fancy culinary degree or years of experience in a kitchen, all you need is a spice rack. 

Get Rid of Bland

Spices give you the ability to experiment with a dish, add new flavors or enhance flavors you already enjoy.  Some of the ways spices can improve your cooking include:

Add a pop of color

Spices come from all over the world and give you a simple way to incorporate beautiful colors that are visually appealing while also enhancing the flavor.

Create an Appetizing Aroma

We can smell a dish before we start eating and have usually decided before the first bite if we will like it or not.  When used correctly, spices can open a world of aromatic possibilities – from the potent to the very subtle.

Explore Different Ethnicities

Often, we enjoy eating different ethnic foods but are too intimidated to cook them ourselves.  Most likely, the specific taste we associate with our favorite dishes is due entirely to the combination of spices used.  Using spices more frequently in our kitchens will allow us to recreate those dishes at home.

Isn’t salt enough?

Many people think that just because they salt their food, they are adding spices.  Salt is only one of countless spices and spice combinations that are good for everyday use.  Some other popular spices that you should be using are:

  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Fresh is Best

As you become more comfortable with the different spice options and how easy it is to incorporate them into your cooking, remember that buying a large bottle of each spice you want and letting it sit in the cabinet indefinitely is not recommended.  Most spices will begin to lose flavor after six months, therefore using fresh herbs to make your own spices will ensure the best flavors.  Most common spices can be purchased fresh at your local supermarket, for the less popular ones you may need to visit a natural food store.

Once you purchase the fresh herbs, most will need to be finely chopped before being used.  Make sure you are using a quality wood cutting board as well as sharp and efficient knives.  While this may not seem important, it can make a big difference in the ease in which you prepare your spices.

*Remember, it is recommended that you use a separate cutting board for raw meats or fish, therefore you want to have a few wood cutting boards available for use.  Buying in bulk, such as those sold by Bulk Cutting Boards will save you money and help keep your kitchen safe.  (Put a few extra away for housewarming gifts in the future, your friends will thank you!)

Category: Cooking

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