Growing up, I always hated eating the same things over and over again. I wondered if I would ever one day just get tired of food. Luckily, I found a cool way to keep that from happening. I began to make it a weekly habit to go to the Farmers Market and make sure I purchased at least one or two new herbs or spices that I had never used or heard of. This helped to keep up my creativity while cooking, while also educating myself on different ways to flavor my dishes. Discovering fresh ingredients and opening my palate has been the main reasons why I love cooking. Here are 5 of my favorite newbie spices so far. They are spices that a beginner can start out with on simple meals and be amazed at the difference.
- Chinese Five Spice– this is one of my favorite spices when I am making any kind of oriental dish. It gives it the sweet taste with a little bit of a kick. The main ingredients are star anise(liquorish flavor), cloves, cinnamon, sichuan pepper, and fennel. Add this spice to something simple like noodles and you will have a five star dish packed with flavor.
- Dill– fresh dill is one of my favorite herbs. Besides the smell, this will perk up any light and fresh dish that you are making. With a lemony flavor, dill pairs perfectly with fish or seafood. But, you can also be creative and add it to veggies or potatoes. If you want to be really fancy, add some fresh chopped dill to a little mayonnaise. Delicious!
- Ginger– I love fresh ginger. It is bright and has a little citric spice to it. My favorite way to incorporate ginger in to my dishes is with vegetables. When you have fresh veggies, you don’t want to overcook them because you will lose all the nutrients. For this reason, you definitely want to make sure they are seasoned well and ginger gives it a distinct flavor that enhances the taste.
- Smoked Paprika– this spice is a staple in almost everything I make. I love the smokiness that you achieve with this spice. It is not very spicy, but they do have a hot smoked paprika, but this one will give you a smoky taste with a beautiful red color. It is great on chicken, bbq sauces, and potatoes.
- Jalapeno Oil– Now, I know this isn’t a spice per say, but this oil is heavenly. I received a small batch inside of my monthly food box from Hatchery and was very intrigued. I love anything that can be made into a taco so I decided to start there. Heating my tortillas in the oil gave it the infamous jalapeno smell and taste without the bite of the jalapeno. Don’t worry…the spice was still there. You an also use this as a finishing oil to drizzle over your food for added taste.
Take the challenge! Go to the store and blindly pick out a new herb, spice, or even oil that you have never cooked with. The only way you can experience new things is if you try. Who wants boring meals every night? Spice it up!