Archive for the ‘spices’ Category

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salt-free herb ranch seasoning

April 12, 2019

You’ll be surprised how often you find yourself using this savory herb blend. Of course it’s amazing mixed into plain yogurt or sour cream for a great dip. Yes, it’s fantastic sprinkled on pasta or pizza as a no-sodium umami boost. But then you will try it on popcorn. Sprinkled in the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich. On mashed potatoes. On roasted veggies. In your veggie/meat burgers. On fish. If you’re on a low sodium diet, this may quickly become one of your go-to seasoning blends.

The ranch I grew up with was mostly cheap soybean oil with an unbelievable amount of sugar and salt. The label’s serving size (two tablespoons of ranch) contains almost 300mg of sodium – that’s 20% of the salt someone with high blood pressure should eat for the entire day (source: ranch / American Heart Association)!! I grew up dipping my pizza crusts into that greasy sludge. If you think that’s what we’re making here, think again!

It reminds me of Capitol Hill seasoning (shallots, dill weed, parsley, chives, salt and pepper; all dried) – a perfect umami kick to top anything bland.

2 T dried parsley
2 t dried dill
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
1 t dry flake onion
1 t black pepper
2 t dried chives
1 t oregano
buttermilk powder (optional. I hear this adds a great tang like a buttermilk ranch, but I left it out and it’s still great.)
(note to self: maybe try with dried orange or lemon zest next time to add the tang of buttermilk?)

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adapted from gimme some oven and from some other recipe I can no longer find rip

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Made this for the first time in early April, and by mid-April I already used almost an entire batch of this on everything from charred onion and cucumber salad to roasted potatoes to Persian chopped salad. Such a great springtime blend to add something different to your healthy diet!

Just one teaspoon of salt has 2300mg of sodium – that’s way more than people with high blood pressure are supposed to have over the course of a day (source : Harvard). Even though most people get most of their sodium from processed foods like frozen food and bread, it can be easy to go overboard on the salt shaker when you are cooking blander food like potatoes and rice. This is an awesome way to give you the flavor bomb you want while cutting back on your salt intake!

It doesn’t taste like the ranch you grew up with – if you want that, add cheap soybean oil, sugar, MSG, tons of salt, and egg yolks. Even if you hate ranch, give this a try! But if herbs aren’t your cup of tea, try some other salt-free spice blends from around the world!

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salt-free seasoning blend

January 9, 2019

My first salt-free seasoning blend was improvised without a recipe. I made a ton, and it was perfect. No clue what I put in it, but my goal is to craft a recipe. Here’s round 2:

1 T coarsely ground black pepper 1/2 T coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 T whole white pepper, coarsely ground
1 T whole mustard seed, coarsely ground
1 T garlic powder or roasted garlic powder
1 T dried minced onion
1 T paprika
3/4 T ground chilli or cayenne
1/2 T dried chives
1/2 T dried basil
1/2 T dried thyme
1/2 T whole coriander seed, toasted and ground
1/2 T whole black or white sesame seeds, coarsely ground
1/4 t powdered ginger
3/4 t dried powdered orange zest
1/4 t smoke powder

There is no particular logic to how this ended up this way besides reading recipes by linda larsen at the spruce eats, bake at midnite, and christina at allrecipes, and whatever I read the first time I made this.

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Needs WAY less black pepper, WAY more sour (lemon zest?), and way more diversity of seasoning. Next time, I will add more smoke powder, more seeds or nuts, lemon zest, and way less pepper!

My salt-free seasoning blends are an essential part of my pantry, so I’m tagging this “favorite”. This will be a living document, edited constantly over time, so check back in to see its evolution!

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I’ll also be doing some different salt-free blends this spring – looking forward to trying a ranch seasoning with no dairy, and a mess of new smokey meat salt-free blends with the smoke powder Mark got me for the holidays. But for now, check out some of my favorite salt-free seasoning blends – like ras-el-hanout, bokharat / baharat, and numbing xi’an spice.

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hot and numbing xi’an style spice

September 17, 2018

This is by far my favorite new condiment. I made a batch for numbing Xi-an style oven-fried chicken, and ate the entire container of the spice blend within a week. Since then, I’ve made two or three more batches, because it’s amazing on eggs, in salad dressing, on pork, on popcorn… everywhere!

This is now a blend I keep in the house at all times, along with my salt-free seasoning blend, bokharat / baharat, ras-el-hanout, and a simple curry powder.

The heat comes from the chili. The “numbing” comes from the Sichuan peppercorns. It’s sweet, savory, hot – a really magical flavor when it comes together. It’s impossible to describe the flavor. Just try this:

It couldn’t be easier. Just toast 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed, 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (preferably Thai,) and 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns, seeds removed. When toasty, grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Recipe from kenji at serious eats

I can’t recommend this highly enough! If you like spicy, you’ll love this! Tagged favorite because it’s just that incredible.

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advieh (persian spice mix)

December 15, 2016

this persian spice mix is used for khoresh (advieh-ye khoresh)

add this to your chicken and eggplant stew for amazing flavor. or add it to stir-fry or soups!

2 T cinnamon
2 T dried rose petals
1 t ground cardamom
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t ground angelica
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander seed
1 t dried persian lime powder

grind, mix, and store in an airtight container

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from New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij – a beautiful book heavy on the recipes – so nice to see a cookbook that isn’t mainly focused on art, layout, and food photography – although the photography sprinkled throughout is very nice, and the persian art is even better, the book is squarely focused on the recipes and not the aesthetic. probably the best cookbook i have read all year.

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ras-el-hanout (moroccan spice blend)

May 8, 2016

moroccan spice blend

similar to the middle eastern spice blend known as baharat or bokharat, you will be amazed how incredibly versatile this is.

i highly recommend this on anything from popcorn to stewed chickpeas with dried fruit.

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1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

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recipe from epicurious

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baharat (middle eastern spice mix)

August 24, 2015

another variation of bokharat

1 dried chili
1 T + 1/2tsp coriander
1 T + 1 3/4tsp cumin
2 1/2tsp ground allspice
1 1/4tsp white pepper
1/2tsp ground turmeric
2 1/2tsp of sweet spice mix

preheat oven to 375. crack dried chili and shake out the seeds. roast deseeded chili, and the whole coriander and cumin seeds, for 6 min. cool, crumble/grind, mix with ground spices, and store in airtight container.

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from Honey & Co. The Cookbook by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer

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middle eastern sweet spice mix

August 24, 2015

for baked goods

10 cardamom pods
6 cloves
1/2 nutmeg
1 1/4tsp whole fennel seeds
2 1/2tsp whole mahleb seeds
1 T + 1/2tsp ground ginger
1 T + 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

preheat oven to 375.

roast cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg for 5 minutes, then add mahleb and roast another 5 minutes.

cool, grind, and mix together.

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from Honey & Co. The Cookbook by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer