Pass (on) the Salt, Please

English: Spices in Mapusa Market, Goa, India.

Image via Wikipedia

I was looking through the February edition of InStyle magazine the other night and read a great article about cooking and spicing things up. I didn’t realize that these articles were in there from time to time. I mostly look at it for the fashion and to get outfit ideas.

The article discussed the seven essential spices to have in order to add some pizzaz to your meals.

The seven are:

1. CORRIANDER – grind and use to give a floral flavor to marinades. It goes really well with citrus.

2. CINNAMON – This adds a “bittersweetness” to savory stews.

3. NUTMEG – this spice is at its best when it is grated. It complements sweet potato dishes and quiches.

4. CUMIN – This spice is definitely something to add to your chili and Mexican dishes.

5. PAPRIKA – This spice will add depth to many poultry and tomato dishes.

6. FENNEL – This spice goes well with fish, it has a slight hint of licorice.

7. CHILI POWDER – This spice will turn up the volume on many dishes that vegetarian or have meat. Use just a pinch.

The article also provided some great spice combinations worth trying in a recipe or two:

2 Parts TUMERIC+ 2 parts CUMIN + 1 part BLACK PEPPER – this combination is great for soup stocks, as a rub on chicken or toss with winter vegetables such as acorn squash and sweet potatoes along with olive oil and salt (then roast)


4 parts CUMIN + 2 parts GROUND CORRIANDER + 1 part GROUND CARDAMOM – the “three C’s” as the South calls it. Use in chili as the main spice blend and on braised short ribs or roasted mushrooms.


3 parts SUMAC + 1 part DRIED MINT +1 part DRIED ORANGE ZEST = This is thought of as a finishing spice. It will kill all flavor. Mix it into greek yogurt and it becomes the ultimate dip for vegetable trays, a healthy substitute for mayo and a great complement to a braised lamb.


Another great tip – Reach for the white peper instead of the black. It is lighter and more delicate than the heat of the black pepper. It is great in everything.

Lastly, what is the difference between SPICE and HERB:

“The classic or old school definitions, spices are derived from bark, buds, fruit, roots, seeds, and stems while herbs come from plant leaves. Today’s experts are less rigid. The consensus is that if its’a dried plant product that seasons and enhances the flavor or your dish, then it is considered a spice. Whe the prossay “herbs,” they are generally talking about the fresh version of the plant.”

Instyle Magazine,  February 2012, Entertaining Section