Guidelines for Using Herbs and Spices

1. Be familiar with each spice's aroma, flavor, and effect on food. Looking at a spice chart, including the one in this book, is no substitute for familiarity with the actual product.

2. Store dried herbs and spices in a cool place, tightly covered, in opaque containers. Heat, light, and moisture cause herbs and spices to deteriorate rapidly.

3. Don't use stale spices and herbs, and don't buy more than you can use in about six months. Whole spices keep longer than ground, but both lose much flavor after six months.

4. Be cautious after you have replaced old spices. The fresher products are more potent, so the amount you used before might now be too much.

5. Use good-quality spices and herbs. It doesn't pay to economize here. The difference in cost is only a fraction of a cent per portion.

6. Whole spices take longer to release flavors than ground spices, so allow for adequate cooking time.

7. Whole herbs and spices for flavoring a liquid are tied loosely in a piece of cheesecloth (called a sachet) for easy removal.

8. When in doubt, add less than you think you need. You can always add more, but it's hard to remove what you've already added.

9. Except in dishes like curry or chili, spices should not dominate. Often, they should not even be evident. If you can taste the nutmeg in the creamed spinach, there's probably too much nutmeg.

10. Herbs and spices added to uncooked foods such as salads and dressings need several hours for flavors to be released and blended.

11. Taste foods before serving, whenever possible. How else can you adjust the seasoning?

Top row, left to right: celery seed, dill seed, coriander seed, caraway seed. Bottom row, left to right: fennel seed, cumin seed, anise seed.

Table 4.1 is not a substitute for familiarity with the actual products. Eventually,you should be able to identify any spice on your shelf by aroma, taste,and appearance without looking at the label.The accompanying photos illustrate a number of whole spices.

Top row, left to right: black peppercorns, green peppercorns, pink peppercorns. Bottom row, left to right: white peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns.

Top row, left to right: cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon sticks. Bottom row, left to right: juniper berries, cardamom, saffron, star anise.

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Top row, left to right: cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon sticks. Bottom row, left to right: juniper berries, cardamom, saffron, star anise.

■ TERMS FOR REVIEW

caramelization

infrared

bake

deglaze

gelatinization

microwave

barbecue

flavor profile

fiber

boil

smoke-roast

primary flavor

coagulation

simmer

broil

supporting flavor

denature

poach

grill

seasoning

Maillard reaction

blanch

griddle

flavoring

connective tissues

steam

pan-broil

volatile

smoke point

en papillote

sauté

herb

conduction

braise

pan-fry

spice

convection

stew

deep-fry

radiation

roast

pressure fry

■ QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. Your broiler cook has just broiled a codfish fillet that turned out dry, rubbery, and shrunken. Explain what happened to it.

2. Why might adding some tomato product to a beef stew help make the meat more tender?

3. You are roasting a large quantity of ducklings and must use both your conventional ovens and your convection oven. You set all the ovens at the same temperature, but find the ducklings in the convection oven are done first. Why did this happen?

4. Arrange the following cooking methods in three groups, depending on whether they are moist-heat methods, dry-heat methods without fat, or dry-heat methods with fat: braising, roasting, deep-frying, sauteing, poaching, steaming, broiling,pressure frying, grilling, simmering.

5. What are some advantages of braising a pan of Swiss steaks in the oven instead of on the range?

6. A cook in your restaurant is roasting several pans of chickens. He thinks they are browning too fast, and he covers the pans with foil to keep the chickens from browning much more.What is wrong with this?

7. You are sauteing beef tenderloin tips for stroganoff, and you suddenly find that the meat is simmering in liquid rather than sauteing.What did you do wrong?

8. Your customers complain that your French fries are too greasy and soggy. How can you correct the problem?

9. Describe the difference between primary flavor and supporting flavor. Select a favorite recipe and explain the function of each ingredient, indicating which are primary flavors and which are secondary flavors.

10. What is meant by the phrase "adjust the seasoning"?

11. What is wrong with adding whole caraway seed to a portion of goulash just before serving?

CHAPTER 5

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Responses

  • carey
    What are the guidelibes when selecting herbs and spices?
    2 years ago
  • ALBERTINA
    What is wrong with adding whole caraway seed to a portion of goulash just before serving?
    1 year ago
  • Adalrico Bergamaschi
    What are three guidelines for choosing herbs and spices?
    1 year ago
  • RAIJA
    What guidelines are used for correctly adding herbs and spices to foods?
    5 months ago

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