Friday, February 24, 2017

Food Feature Friday #18: Simple Seasonings For Meats Galore.

Food. We either love it, like it, or are obsessed with it. For those blessed we often crave a meal for each part of the day, jam packed with mouthwatering flavor that can't be beat. Sometimes it happens and other times we make due with what we have. Sometimes we even tackle the task of trying to create our own meals at home, leaving all the flavor combinations up to us. While this can be daunting, it can also be exhilarating.

Seasonings play an intricate part in the eating process, either making or breaking the dish your creating - or someone else has made. Problems can arise quickly with seasonings as well: What seasoning should you use for what meat? What about combination herbs and spices? All very good questions and while I'm not exactly a whiz at cooking - although I truly wish to take a cooking class to get better - I do know a thing or two about which spices you can easily go to for different types of meat. So that's what I thought I'd share with all of you! A simple list of simple seasonings you can use for different types of meat dishes! 

Some of these I've found after scouring the internet for days, trying to find an inclusive list to use as a guide. I will list all resources and credit at the bottom of this page.

WARNING: This won't include salt or pepper, as they are a little too simple for this list and are pretty versatile. 

Bay Leaf: Beef, Chicken, Veal. One of my absolute favorites and tastes really good when using for fajitas. 
Chili Powder: Chicken, beef, and MOST fish. Vegetables and stews can also benefit from this flavor. Goes great with oregano and cumin as well.
Coriander: Fish and chicken.
Cumin: Works best when paired with others.
Garlic Powder: Amazing with all meats and [I think] all fish. If you buy garlic powder with salt, be careful when adding additional salt to the dish. Great when used with other spices. 
Onion Powder: Meats, chicken, and SOME fish. Again, be careful when adding additional salt to your dish if your onion powder includes salt. Amazing when used in spice blends. 
Oregano: Beef and lamb. Also great in cheeses!
Paprika: Fish, chicken, and eggs. Excellent when paired with other spices. A little can go a long way!
Thyme: Beef, fish, lamb, chicken. Beautiful flavor, highly versatile, and plays well with others. 
Turmeric: Fish, chicken, and [apparently] duck. 

Now while you have a tiny bit more insight into what goes best with what, you may be asking yourself why you would need this if they sell pre-mixed seasonings at the stores for certain meats/dishes. 

I know that's an easy opt-out when it comes to making dishes - no shame, I use them too - but perhaps you have a mini garden with herbs and leftover seasonings, or perhaps you're not fond of a particular ingredient in a pre-mixed seasoning, or maybe you prefer to do it completely homemade. Well now you have a little extra knowledge on what goes with what. 

Really, this list isn't a comprehensive list that tells you exactly what to use with what meat. There are so many more spices out there in the world, that it can be a little difficult to choose which "special" spice to add. My rules of thumb are this:

- If it has a similar flavor that can easily compliment ALL the other spices/ingredients, go for it. 
- If it has salt in it, use less salt in your recipe. 
- And when in doubt, smell it out!

If you have the seasonings there in your kitchen, but aren't sure which to mix together, you can always do a mini trial run. Simply add a dash of each ingredient to a small dish and smell the entire blend. You can also taste it (don't put the whole thing in your mouth), to give you a little bit of a better idea on what you're mixing. If it smells or tastes pretty close to the vision you have with the dish you're making, then why not. 

Cooking is all about trying new things. I know you don't always want to be adventurous with your food - perhaps for a special day or something - but keep this in mind: the best creations come from mistakes and failure. 


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