Guest post from : Eric Rea
It is a very apt phrase as it refers to the role spices play in our food. Adding spices to our dishes adds interesting flavors, enhances our fruits, vegetables, and meats, give our taste buds something to relish and savor. Using these spices in new and interesting ways are what separates the cooks from the master chefs.
But, you don't have to be a master chef to try new spices. So, to further your spice journeys, here are 3 spices you may have heard about but never used.
This maple-flavored seed is an annual herb that is a common ingredient in curry powder, pickles, and pastes. But, its unique flavor can be a delightful enhancement to all kinds of hearty soups, stews, salads, chutneys, effectively blended with other spices, used as sprinkles on cakes, and its greens can be used in salads, as well.
Known as the most expensive spice in the world, saffron possesses a pleasant metallic honey flavor with grassy overtones. You've seen its evidence in Spanish Arroz con Pollo, as it is often used to add a distinctive flavor and exceptional yellow-orange color to rices, soups, and breads. Its distinct flavor lends very well to seafood, rice, breads, and cakes.
And if you're wondering why it's so expensive, saffron is actually the stigmas of the saffron crocus. It takes 225,000 handpicked stigmas of 75,000 blossoms to make one pound of saffron! Worth the expense? Absolutely.
You may know this spice as Japanese horseradish. Often found in sushi and sashimi dishes, this particular spice will add pizzazz to your seafood, meats, sauces, and soups. Its strong flavor is hot, yes, but it doesn't linger like chili peppers do. It's the perfect thing for putting a little zest into those meal days when nothing sounds good.
So, spice up your life and your palate! Experiment a little and see how it turns out. Even Julia Child had to start somewhere.
Image taken from: http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/fenugreek-seed.html, http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/saffron.html, http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/wasabi.html