Anonymous asks: Do you have any tips for how to spice food? I literally have no idea what all of the herbs and spices at the grocery store taste/smell like, so I'm wondering where to start? Thank you!
Sure! I can tell you about the spices I use the most.
Cumin: this has a really strong flavor, and is usually used in a lot of meat rubs. I use this in my tofu scramble, and it goes well in most marinades.
Turmeric: this is used in a lot of indian cooking, but has a mild, pleasant spice. It also has a strong yellow color that’s really pretty when you cook with it. I use this to spice chickpeas and tofu, but you usually pair it with a lot of other spices too, like curry powder.
Garlic Powder: I use on literally everything.
Onion Powder: I only use this if a recipe really calls for it, because I don’t think it has that strong of a flavor and I usually saute onions anyways. But you can add it to soups and sauteed veggies.
Curry Powder: I LOVE curry powder. It’s one of my new favorite spices. I use this in chili, to flavor tofu and chickpeas, and it’s a great add into sweet potato soup. Usually a combo of curry powder, turmeric and a little cumin is fantastic (try it on roasted cauliflower!)
Nutritional Yeast: this is one of the three types of yeast. A lot of vegans and vegetarians use it because it has a natural cheesy/nutty flavor. It’s a great thickener and has a ton of protein too, so I’ll add this to pastas, mashed potatoes or sprinkle it on grilled vegetables and popcorn by itself.
Cayenne Pepper: I like to add a little dash of this to nearly everything, but that’s because I like my food to have a little kick.
Oregano, thyme and rosemary: I group these three together, because i hardly ever use one by itself. They were made for each other, especially for roasted/satueed veggies, and roasted/mashed/baked potatoes. Oregano, thyme and rosemary were made for potatoes, seriously.
Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves: I also usually group these three together. Cinnamon is the main flavor that I add to oatmeal, cookies, peanut butter toast, muffins etc. Nutmeg and cloves give it a little more bite and a bit more of a ‘fall’ taste.
Ginger Root: I find most people either love or hate ginger. I happen to love it, but really only use it in my baking.
And there are ones that I only buy fresh. Like bay leaves, basil, sage, chives, cilantro and parsley. I just don’t use them enough on their own, and only buy them when a recipe calls for it. Sage goes really well with squash and pumpkin, cilantro goes well with any kind of mexican or southwestern food, bay leaves are great for soups, I like parsley on salads, and chives for mashed potatoes or cauliflower.
Spices were really confusing me at first, but once you start cooking more you learn what flavors you like and which you don’t, and then adding them to your cooking gets a lot easier. Hope this helps!