Color Your World With Spices

Flavor is the thing that keeps me coming back to a specific food and, to that end, spices are dear friends of mine. So much so that in my kitchen, my lazy susan is filled with spices rather than your usual cans and jars!

When I confessed to a love of dicing vegetables, someone told me it was like producing art. I’d say the same is true for selecting the right spices and using them in the right amounts in cooking. Getting the proportions right magically produces a good flavor in your favorite foods.

It’s no surprise, then, that spices are yet another one of my allies in weight loss. Here I mention seven of the spices I use on the regular, and what I use them for.

  1. Steak seasoning: This is a new favorite of mine. Yes, I use it on the obvious–steak–but I also use it on fried eggs, in burgers (turkey or beef), and on vegetables. Sauteed green veggies, like broccoli rabe and spinach seem to have the right amount of punch and salt when dusted with steak seasoning. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet it would be tasty on grilled shrimp, too.
  2. Curry powder: This is the star ingredient in curry chicken, and also in a Jamaican patty-style casserole that I make for my family as a treat. I’ll post a recipe soon!
  3. Cajun spice: This is great on seafood. Sprinkle it on top of catfish and tilapia to be baked, or on shrimp to be grilled. It adds a good kick to broccoli as well. Or, add some to a slice of bread buttered with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light–reminds me of a delicious breakfast I once had at a good friend’s house, where spices also are king.
  4. Goya Adobo seasoning: I get the kind with cumin and pepper in it, and I use it on vegetables across the color spectrum (broccoli, acorn and spaghetti squash, cauliflower, etc.), as well as on chicken and pork. I use this spice for starches as well–in potatoes and in the water for rice and couscous. (I often use chicken broth instead of water for rice and couscous; if I do that, I don’t use the Adobo to avoid sodium overload.)
  5. Barbecue rub: I used this on chicken and pork, and I’ve mixed it into burgers as well. I think it would be great to sprinkle on frozen fries cooked in the oven–the barbecue rub recipe I have from Steven Raichlen really tastes like the seasoning that goes on BBQ potato chips.
  6. Celery seed: Rather than add relish to a tuna recipe, this is what I use. It also adds a tangy note to the barbecue rub I’ve mentioned above.
  7. Dried onion flakes: I use these in recipes that call for onion when I don’t have onion on hand, when I don’t want to take the time to dice an onion, or for things that I cook in the slow cooker or that will simmer on the stove for a while.

These are some of the go-to spices on my seasoning palette. What are some of your favorites? What kinds of food do you use them in?


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