I’m always looking for ways to wake up my taste buds. In the “Healthy You” classes I teach at the health department, I frequently advise participants to cook with herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of healthy foods without adding fat, salt, sugar, or calories. Also, herbs and spices contribute bright color, savory taste and sensational aroma.
Several of our friends have told Todd and I about a fantastic shop in Old Town Ft. Collins called the “Old Town Spice Shop”. Last weekend, we decided to check it out for ourselves.
Northern Colorado has always had many good restaurants but what had been missing was a shop where people could buy fresh spices and blends tailored to the Colorado way of life. In 2010, the Godbey family decided to create a spice shop for Northern Colorado.
Their shop has been an amazing partnership with food lovers from across Northern Colorado and they happily invite everyone to taste their different products which include fresh spices, blends, seasoning, teas and many other products. They grind many of their spices themselves, making them fresher than you can get at even many other spice shops. Todd and I purchased Himilayan Pink Sea Salt, Cherry Creek Seafood Seasoning, Team Sweet Mama’s Kansas City Rub, Pearl St. Plank Rub and Ghost Pepper Salt.
We rubbed the Team Sweet Mama’s Kansas City Rub last night on grilled chicken and sprinkled the Pearl St. Plank Rub on our hamburgers for a dinner party we hosted at our house. Both the hamburgers and our chicken turned out EXCELLENT!
Here is the Web address to the Old Town Spice Shop:
I also wanted to share a few tips for using herbs and spices. Happy cooking !
Tips for using herbs and spices:
- Avoid overwhelming a dish with too many seasonings, and never use two very strong herbs together. Instead, season with one strong flavor, and one milder flavor to complement the food.
- When cooking, add dried herbs early in the process, but use fresh herbs at the end for optimum flavor.
- Add herbs and spices to cold dishes several hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
- Fresh leaves should be chopped very finely. Exposing a greater number of surface cuts will allow the food to absorb more of the herb’s flavor.
- When necessary, a mortar and pestle can be kept in the kitchen to powder dry herbs.
- If doubling a recipe, you may not need to double the herbs. Use just 50% more.
- Dry herbs and spices carry more flavor than fresh. Use this guide when following a recipe: ¼ teaspoon powder = ¾ teaspoon dried = 2 teaspoons fresh
Guide to using Herbs and Spices
Herb or Spice
Use to Enhance
|Basil||Italian foods (especially tomatoes, pasta, chicken, fish and shellfish)|
|Bay leaf||Bean or meat stews and soups|
|Caraway||Cooked vegetables such as beets, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, turnips and winter squash|
|Chervil||French cuisine, fish, shellfish, chicken, peas, green beans, tomatoes and salad greens|
|Chili powder||Bean or meat stews and soups|
|Chives||Sauces, soups, baked potatoes, salads, omelets, pasta, seafood and meat|
|Cilantro||Mexican, Latin American and Asian cuisine; Rice, beans, fish, shellfish, poultry, vegetables, salsas and salads|
|Cumin||Curried vegetables, poultry, fish and beans|
|Curry||Indian or southeast Asian cuisine; Lamb or meat-based dishes and soups|
|Dill (fresh)||Seafood, chicken, yogurt, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes and beets|
|Dill (seeds)||Rice and fish dishes|
|Ginger (dried)||Rick, chicken and marinades|
|Mace||Baked goods, fruit dishes, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower|
|Marjoram||Tomato-based dishes, fish, meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables|
|Oregano||Italian and Greek cuisine; Meat and poultry dishes|
|Paprika||Spanish dishes, potatoes, soups, stews, baked fish and salad dressings|
|Rosemary||Mushrooms, roasted potatoes, stuffing, ripe melon, poultry and meats (especially grilled)|
|Sage||Poultry stuffing, chicken, duck, pork, eggplant, and bean stews and soups|
|Tarragon||Chicken, veal, fish, shellfish, eggs, salad dressings, tomatoes, mushrooms and carrots|
|Thyme||Fish, shellfish, poultry, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, and summer squash|
|Tumeric||Indian cuisine; Adds color and taste to potatoes and light-colored vegetables|
Question of the Day
What are your favorite seasonings? Do you prefer to use fresh or dried flavorings?