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Archive for August, 2011

How to make food taste…. [enter region of choice here]….. like the flavors you love?

My cousin recently told me of his cooking adventures. I remembered when I was first learning how to cook. I wanted to know the basic spices and ingredients for regional flair. The following is a simplified list of ingredients that helped me start experimenting and diversifying my flavors.

Hungarian

garlic

onion

green bell pepper

paprika

white pepper

sour cream

dill seeds

dill weed

caraway seeds

Cook with onion, garlic and or green bell pepper. Season with paprika and caraway seeds or dill seeds and white pepper. Finish with sour cream and/or sharpen with vinegar.

Middle Eastern

garlic

onion

turmeric

cinnamon

cloves

lemon juice

mint

ground cloves

cayenne

yogurt

Cook with onion, garlic. Season with turmeric and cumin or cinnamon and cloves. Spice up with ground red pepper (cayenne). Finish with yogurt and/or lemon juice and fresh mint.

Mexican

garlic

onion

green chilies

oregano

cumin

lime juice

cilantro

vinegar

allspice

cinnamon

chili powder

Cook with garlic, onion, fresh chilies. Season with oregano and cumin or allspice, cinnamon and chili powder. Sharpen with lime juice or vinegar. Finish with cilantro.

Italian

garlic

onion

olive oil

basil

oregano

rosemary

marjoram

sage

bay leaves

crushed red pepper

tomato

parmesan cheese

wine

Cook with garlic, onion in olive oil. Season with basil and oregano or rosemary and marjoram or sage. Spice up with crushed red pepper. Stir in tomato and or wine and bay leave. Flavor with Parmesan cheese.

Indian

garlic

onion

gingerroot

coriander

paprika

cumin

mint

yogurt

lemon juice

turmeric

cayenne

tomatoes

Cook with garlic, gingerroot, onion. Season with coriander and paprika or cumin and turmeric. Spice up with cayenne. Stir in tomato. Finish with yogurt and/or lemon juice and fresh mint.

French (the least vegetarian friendly of all….)

garlic

onion

shallot

thyme

rosemary

tarragon

Dijon mustard

bay leaves

tomato

bacon

butter

cream

Cook with garlic, onion or shallot in butter or bacon fat. Season with thyme and rosemary or tarragon. Sir in wine and/or tomato and bay leaf. Finish with cream and/or Dijon mustard.

Chinese

garlic

scallions

gingerroot

cayenne

hoisin sauce

dark sesame oil

soy sauce

rice wine vinegar

Cook with garlic, gingerroot, scallions in peanut oil. Spice up with cayenne. Flavor with hoisin sauce and toasted sesame oil and or soy sauce and rice-wine vinegar.

Japanese

garlic

gingerroot

chives

soy sauce

miso paste

dark sesame oil

rice wine vinegar

wasabi

honey or sugar

Cook with garlic, gingerroot. Spice up with wasabi and pickled gingerroot. Flavor with miso, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sweetening, and rice wine vinegar. Finish with minced chives.

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