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Thread: Herbgeek and others who preserve herbs in the winter....

  1. #11
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    I took a cooking class once with a nationally-known chef from India who claimed that every herb and spice offers eight different flavors -- raw whole, raw chopped/ground, dried whole, dried chopped/ground, toasted whole, toasted chopped/ground, sauteed whole, and sauteed chopped/ground. He passed around some spices in the various states to make his point. Very illustrative, and one reason why I do prepare flavoring agents like herbs and spices (and onions, garlic, chives, etc.) different ways depending on what I want them to do in the dish.
    I love this idea!

  2. #12
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    I took a cooking class once with a nationally-known chef from India who claimed that every herb and spice offers eight different flavors -- raw whole, raw chopped/ground, dried whole, dried chopped/ground, toasted whole, toasted chopped/ground, sauteed whole, and sauteed chopped/ground. He passed around some spices in the various states to make his point. Very illustrative, and one reason why I do prepare flavoring agents like herbs and spices (and onions, garlic, chives, etc.) different ways depending on what I want them to do in the dish.
    And if any group is expert at using spices, it's certainly the Indians!

  3. #13
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    Steve, what a great idea. Thanks!

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    I took a cooking class once with a nationally-known chef from India who claimed that every herb and spice offers eight different flavors -- raw whole, raw chopped/ground, dried whole, dried chopped/ground, toasted whole, toasted chopped/ground, sauteed whole, and sauteed chopped/ground. He passed around some spices in the various states to make his point. Very illustrative, and one reason why I do prepare flavoring agents like herbs and spices (and onions, garlic, chives, etc.) different ways depending on what I want them to do in the dish.
    This sounds good. Did you get a handout or place to reference to make a determination of when to use the spice/herb and in the best form?

  5. #15
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    I have a sun porch with a southern exposure, and the tile floor has electric radiant heat. Shortly before the first frost I move herbs indoors from the garden. I have 2 kinds of parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage growing in pots. I also have 5 pots of Okinawa spinach, which I use in salad or stir-fry (leaves are green on top and purple on the bottom).

  6. #16
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    I love your sun porch. Plants or not, it sounds like a perfect spot to get through the northern winters.

  7. #17
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal-one View Post
    This sounds good. Did you get a handout or place to reference to make a determination of when to use the spice/herb and in the best form?
    In the recipes handed out at the class, the author (Raghavan Iyer, btw, his cookbooks are recommended) specified when, for example, to toast the mustard seeds or when to make a paste from the chilis and herbs.

    So much of it, though, is subjective: crushing an herb or seed typically releases more of its flavor, which may or may not be what you want in the final flavor of the dish. A mustard or coriander seed, whole, would go through the cooking process and result in a little pop of flavor when you chew it. Maybe that's what you want; maybe that pop of flavor is a disruption to the experience. Sauteeing flavors the fat in which you cook (and that will depend on what you're cooking); that would diminish the flavor a little because you typically do not serve something in all the fat it was cooked in; it also would change the flavor of the spice a little because you're toasting it in the process of sauteeing.

    I've adapted the instruction for non-Indian cooking by sometimes cooking, say, onions, until they're translucent and then tossing them in a slow cooker, if I want an onion flavor that's not that sharp. On the other hand, cooking onions all the way to carmelized and then putting them in the pot may result in a dish that's a little too sweet because of the carmelization. It's actually fun to play with it a little. If I make pork chops and sauerkraut, I don't just toss some dried caraway seeds on top; now I toast them first because I prefer them that way. Others may try it and decide they like just dried caraway seeds. Or crushed seeds. Experiment!
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  8. #18
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    Thanks SteveinMN... I will check Iyer out.

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