Tag Archives: Paprika

Monday Healthy Eating, Oct. 18, 2010

Again, just under the wire. I was gone the latter part of last week and all weekend, and didn’t get to blog.  But, here it is, still on Monday!

Today’s healthy eating tip: Spice It Up. As Shepard Book once said, “A man can eat gooey protein his whole life as long as he has rosemary.” Or something like that. The point is, spice is life. Oh, wait, that’s Dune

Sci-Fi quotes aside, spices of all kinds are a necessity for my healthy eating plan, and they should be for yours, too. Spices allow you to create new and interesting things from around the world! (Now, before we get started, step away from the salt shaker. Salt is not, and should not be, your primary spice.)

So, what do you do with spices? What kinds of spices should your kitchen have? How do you learn  what spices go with what food? Answers: Put them in everything, all that you can get your hands on, and trial and error.

There are the top spices, the easy ones that add something to many different kinds of dishes, and ones that no kitchen should be without: quality peppercorns, rosemary, basil, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and probably a few others I am missing. You can toss these into almost anything (nothing makes a cream sauce pop like a hint of nutmeg), and they work with a variety of cuisines from Mexican to Italian to Creole. This is where trial and error start. Always start with a little spice and go up, because it’s easier to add more than to figure out how to counteract the overwhelming sweet basil in your tomato sauce.

Now that you have the basics, here are some of my less-well-known (at least among many Americans) spices: fenugreek (Ethiopian food), smoked paprika (Mexican, Ethiopian, Indian, etc.), black smoked sea salt (I put this in everything from eggs to caramel–seriously, this stuff would make cow dung taste good), cardamom seeds (great for scented rices and desserts), and mixed peppercorns (a deeper pepper flavor).

Really, just experiment. Spices help keep food fun, and let you create a whole variety of dishes with rich flavors that don’t have rich calories! Many spices have also been shown to have medicinal properties. Tumeric, for example, can help fight diabetes. Spices can also save you money–making your own BBQ rub, cider mulling packet, or taco seasoning is much cheaper than buying the premixed packets. And, by making your own you can skip the icky additives like MSG. So, swing by the baking isle and pick up something new.