Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some Culinary Herbal Pairings

One of the first things I teach my clients about healthy eating, is that it's all about the flavor! Consider the fact, twith some exception, that most cuisines use the exact same food- but prepared in a different manner! This often helps my clients see 'healthy' eating, or foods different to them, in a better light.
Take chicken for example; Indian is butter, curry, Tikka Marsala etc. Chinese is COMPLETELY different, as is Italian, Greek and German! It's all how you flavor it! My flavoring staples to keep at all times on hand are mustard and salsa, seasonings/spices/herbs, low sodium soy sauce, Walden Farms and lemon juice.

I love experimenting with herbs-besides their great taste, they are packed with antioxidants and help protect our cells against carcinogens and free radical damage

I thought I'd make a little GUIDE ABOUT HERBS and pairings etc, in hopes that it gives you some more options and makes you a bit more adventurous! These are the MOST COMMON pairings, and not to restrict your experimenting. I love Marjoram/Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme, Oregano etc and use them in everything: from omelets, meat, strews, legumes, drinks-to desserts and smoothies.

Tastes Like: Sweet celery, mild licorice
Pairs With: Cabbage, Soups, Potatoes

Tastes like: Cloves, Mint, Anise, Cinnamon
Pairs with: Meat, Poultry, Fish Tomato, Garlic, Berries, Cheese

Tastes like: Mild Anise
Pairs With: Poultry, fish, shellfish, egg, carrots, tomatoes, peas, squash, lettuce

Tastes like: Mild Onion
Pairs With: Poultry, fish, eggs, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, cheese

Tastes Like: Citrus with an undertone of Anise
Pairs with: Meat, Poultry, shellfish, avocado, chiles, tomatoes, citrus

Coriander (seed of Cilantro)
Tastes Like: Coriander is the more familiar, used in gingerbread, cookies, yeast breads, sausages, stews, soups and chicken dishes. Try adding a dash of coriander to cooked beets for a zesty treat.

Tastes Like: Caraway, Parsley- with mild tang
Pairs with: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Asparagus, Beets, Carrots, Cheese


Tastes Like: Sweet Licorice, sweet celery
Used in Soups, Stews, Poultry, Fish. Pairs well with root vegetables, chicken, lamb, pork

Fennel leaves are used in French and Italian cuisine's in sauces for fish and in mayonnaise. In Italy fennel is also used to season pork roasts. The English use fennel seeds in almost all fish dishes, especially as a court bouillon for poaching fish and seafood.

Tastes Like: Floral, Slightly Bitter, Bitter- lemon/citrus notes.
Used in: French Cooking (Herbes de Provence)
This is great in Red sauce, Stews, Rubs, Poultry etc as well as with fruit (raspberries, blueberry's,lemon) and mint. Pairs well with Chocolate and honey.
Try adding it to Ice Cream or Lavender Tuna!

Lemon Balm
Tastes Like: Citrus
Used in: teas, salads, jams, and soups

Lemon Verbena
Tastes Like: This has a strong lemon flavor that works especially well in teas and vegetable dishes. If you can't find it in the spice section, cut open lemon verbena teabags

Tastes Like: Menthol
Pairs With: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Lettuce, Berries, Fresh Ginger, Chocolate

It has a unique sweet, flowery, scent, with a faint whiff of citrus. Although the flavor of dried marjoram is quite strong, it somehow still retains the delicate character of the fresh herb. Marjoram’s closest relative is oregano, but it’s less savory and pungent than oregano. Marjoram is cousin to the other herbs in the family: mint, basil, sage, lavender, rosemary, savory and thyme. It's often used to season meats and fish, and works best when its added near the end of the cooking period.
Pairs with: Beans, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, pasta, pork, poultry, seafood, tomatoes, veal, vegetables

Tastes Like: Slightly bitter, mint-rosemary
Pairs With: Meat, Fish, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Green Beans, Olives

Tastes Like: Mild pepper
Pairs Wish: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Potatoes, Tomatoes

Tastes Like: Pine, Lemon
Pairs With: Meat, Poultry, Shellfish, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Green Beans, Potatoes, Apples, Pears, Citrus

Tastes Like: Musty, slightly bitter mint
Pairs With: Meat, Poultry, Shellfish, Potatoes, Onions, Apples, Citrus

This herb has a strong, peppery flavor, and it's often used in Mediterranean countries to flavor beans, mushrooms, vegetables, and meats. There are two varieties: winter savory and the milder summer savory. Winter savory is best suited to slowly cooked dishes like stews.

Tastes Like: Peppery anise
Pairs With: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Asparagus, Green Beans, Peas

Tastes Like: Mint, mild lemon
Pairs With: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Carrots, Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions, Squash

* I know there are a lot more Herbs! I just did a 'mini' list.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! This is great. I've been wanting to experiment more with herbs. This makes me more comfortable in trying them out. Love it!