Cooking with herbs is a delicious way to add flavor to your food. Herbs can also be used to heal and prevent illness. Many different herb combinations can be used in cooking.
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Certain Blends Enhance the Flavor of Each Individual Element
Be adventurous and use two or three herbs instead of one in a dish. Stick with classic combinations until you learn what your family likes or doesn’t like. It is wise to use only a small amount of one new herb in a combination so you can better trace a flavor that didn’t go over well.
The unique taste sensations help reduce the need for salt, and many herbs are healthy for us, having been used by ancient people for their healing properties. The old reliable go-to gal, Heloise (In the Kitchen with Heloise), suggested the following classic combinations. Proportions are in equal amounts unless noted otherwise.
- Cumin, garlic, hot pepper, and oregano
- Basil, dill weed, garlic, and parsley
- Parsley, chervil, chives, and French tarragon (some may include a small amount of basil, fennel, oregano, sage, or saffron)
- Basil, bay leaves* (broken), French tarragon, lemon thyme, and parsley (sometimes fennel, sage, or savory)
- Basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme
- Lovage, marjoram (two parts), and sage (three parts)
(Commercial poultry seasonings may vary by brand but usually include rosemary, oregano, sage, celery seed, marjoram, thyme, and black pepper.)
- Basil, lovage, parsley, and French tarragon
- 5 tsp onion powder
- 1 TBsp ea garlic powder, paprika, and dry mustard
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp celery seed (mix this up and keep it on hand)
- Basil (two parts), bay leaves, marjoram, oregano, and parsley (may include celery leaves or cloves)
- Basil, parsley, and savory
Look Beyond the Box
Once you are experienced and feel more daring, look into some Asian or Mediterranean dishes which often use several herbs and spices, i.e., Chicken Tagine.
If you use convenience foods, they also might benefit from adding your custom seasonings. Herb butter or margarine is excellent on vegetables or meat. Mix either a single or combination of herbs (1-3 tbsp of dried or 2-6 tbsp fresh chopped), ½ tsp lemon juice, and white pepper to taste with a stick of butter or margarine and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Experimenting with herbs in combination will increase the variety, taste sensations, and health benefits of your cooking. No guarantee that it will keep the kids home for dinner, but miracles have been known to happen. Be daring and go, Girl, go.
*Do not break into small pieces as bay leaves do not soften and must be pulled out of a dish before serving.