HERBS, SPICES and other STUFF
With space at a premium aboard Makana I’ve narrowed my collection of herbs down to 10. And when combined with my spices I’m able to accommodate most all my recipes from Asian to Italian and everything in between. In order of use the dried herbs are; Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Dill Weed, Tarragon, Chives, Cilantro, & Bay Leaves. I also keep a small potted “garden” of fresh Basil, Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano.
Now I should expand on some of these herbs especially the Basil and Oregano as there are several varieties of each with each providing a unique flavor. Most Basil in the dried form as well as the plants you often see in the produce section are Sweet Basil and that is the Basil I use the most often. However there are three additional Fresh varieties I use when available; Thai Basil , Red Basil and Lemon Basil. As you can imaging and imply from the name Thai Basil is wonderful in Asian dishes, I had a plant aboard Makana last winter. Add Thai Basil to coconut milk and ginger and you have the base for an unlimited number of recipes!
On our farm in Maui we grew Sweet, Thai and Red Basil with good results. The key to successful plants are proper fertilizer and watering as well as trimming the tops to prevent them from flowering. Fresh Basil is an awesome antioxidant and actually lethal to misquotes.
Oregano is cultivated in over a half-dozen different varieties however the flavors between them are typically not as diverse when compared to that of the Basil’s. The three main varieties of Oregano used in cooking are Italian, Mexican and Greek. Again as the names imply each is best suited for that particular style of cooking, however if you only choose one make it Greek Oregano. There are also a few varieties of Rosemary however I’ve found them to be quite similar in taste.
My collection of spices are; Black Pepper w/Grinder, White Pepper, Iodized Salt, Coarse Salt or Sea Salt, Curry, Red Pepper-Crushed and Powdered, Paprika, Chili Powder, Ginger Powder, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cumin, Turmeric, Allspice and Ground Cloves. As far as the Curry is concerned we could have a all day discussion on the various types. And at some point I will do just that as Curry is the name of a vast array of spices similar to the way ice cream is a name (vanilla, chocolate, mint chip etc.), stick with the Curry in the link to get started.
That’s about it for the herbs and spices. The other Stuff I use and keep in the bottom of my “rack”are Imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Cream Sherry (do not buy sherry vinegar!), Kikkoman Soy Sauce (most all the locals on Maui used this brand), Liquid Smoke(this stuff is amazing and contains only natural chemicals), Huy Fong – Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (ditto for what I said about the Soy Sauce used on Maui), 100% Pure Sesame Oil and C&H Brown Sugar (C&H is Californian and Hawaiian Sugar Co, with most of the sugar originating from Maui). I’ll also have several bottles of various hot sauces which I tend to pick up on our travels. This one from the Bahamas is particularly good.
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