All of our recipes use fresh or dried herbs + spices – that is how you add flavor without calories. In the summer, we grow fresh herbs in a small veg trug but they can be grown in the biggest garden or smallest pot on a sunny balcony.
The fresh herbs that we use consistently in our recipes are basil, flat-leaf Italian parsley + cilantro. We grow these (along with mint) in the summer in our trug and buy them every weekend the rest of the year. They are added to everything including salads, soup and eggs. We also find that dried dill has almost the same flavor as fresh dill, so we tend to stick with dried.
You will notice that in most of our recipes, we do not add a measurement for salt, we add “to taste” because people tolerate salt levels differently and some are on a low-sodium diet for health reasons. We recommend also using low-sodium stock and broth – you can always add salt to a meal but you can’t take it away. Tread lightly and start with small amounts and test your dish often and adjust as needed (a good chef will taste their dish several times before serving + with a clean spoon each time – wink, wink). Instead of adding more salt during the cooking process, finish a plating with a little artisan sea salt (like pink Himalayan, hickory smoked or Fleur de Sel).
Some brands we love in the spice category:
- Bragg Organic Sprinkle (organic and sodium-free) – consists of 24 herbs + spices – great all-purpose seasoning
- Spicely Organic Spices (sold in tiny 0.5 oz boxes at Whole Foods or at spicely.com) – how many times does a recipe call for an uncommon spice and then you have a jar of it left unused in your kitchen for the next 5 years? Plus 25% of their sales go to charities to help children without homes. We like their garam masala sprinkled on top of salmon fillets before putting under the broiler for a delicious Indian inspired meal.
- Penzeys Spices – if you have this retail store nearby, go – it’s a playground for cooks. If you don’t, go to penzeys.com. They sell spices in a variety of different sizes and blends you never knew existed. Some of our favorites: Original Taco Seasoning, Sunny Paris, Greek Seasoning, Country French Vinaigrette + Smoked Spanish Style Paprika.
- Borsari (original or citrus) – great for seasoning meat such as chicken, beef or pork, but go easy with this – very high in salt and a little bit adds major flavor. Sold at Whole Foods, Amazon and Walmart, to name a few.