Archive for the ‘Spices & Seasonings’ Category

Everything Bagel Seasoning Blend

I love bagels.  I REALLY love Everything bagels.  Then I started to think about it – do I really love the bagels themselves or is it the seasoning on top.  And furthermore, why is this stuff not in/on anything else?  So I decided to test this out but first I had to make up my own seasoning blend. Yeah… let’s just say this took me a bit to come up with. Now if you cheat and scroll to the recipe below you’ll be like “Seriously Lor, it took you a while to come up with this?”  And the answer is yes.  I went through a bajillion variations of this – caraway seeds, fennel seeds, celery salt, pepper and powdered spices.

EVERYTHING.

Everything Bagel

The thing is, it was all me.  I honestly just over complicated it. I forgot the first rule of cooking – K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid.  Actually isn’t that pretty much the first rule of life?

This seasoning blend will be your go-to blend for dips, breads and bagels!

DIY Oat Flour

DIY Oat Flour… yes, really you can make your own oat flour for real!

Okay so what I’m sharing with you today is so ridiculously simple that I’m almost embarrassed to share it. But I feel it’s my duty to share these super simple tricks that I’ve been using for years that not only saves you money but also, well… let’s face it, it saves you money.  For me that’s a huge bonus in my book! I often use oat flour when I want to mix things up whether it’s in breads, pizza dough, cookies or even breading things. It just a different taste and flavor profile to an element. Now ground oat flour can’t be a straight 1-for-1 swap say with all purpose or bread flour as it is a different protein strength BUT you can use it and replace up to 25% of the flour in your recipe. It adds a great whole grain flavor plus the additional nutrients oats provide. So today I’m sharing with you how to make your own oat flour.  Yeah I’m doing a DIY on you but trust me all you need are 2 things – old fashioned rolled oats and a way to grind them.
oat flour Your muffins, cookies and cakes will LOVE you for this swap out!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – How to dry fresh herbs

I love growing my own fresh herbs. However if you’re like me you tend to plant more than can use – yes, even more.  I think it’s because when we plant the seeds or plants we see them as teeny, not really knowing that they will get bigger and take over your gardens at times.  So towards the end of summer you’re left with gorgeous fresh basil, oregano out the wazoo and enough parsley that you can’t give away.  And if you’re like me you can’t bear the thought of letting one single leaf go to waste however you can only make so much pesto or can so many jars of pizza sauce.  So what are you left to do?

Don’t let your herbs go to waste, dry them and fill up your spice jars!

Tuesday Tip
Making your own dried herbs is easier than you think!  All you need is patience, fresh herbs, some string (or pan) and clean jars to put the dried herbs in.

First you need to decide how you want to dry them.

→ Less Tender Herbs — The more sturdy herbs such as rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and dill,  thyme, summer savory and parsley are the easiest to dry using the air drying method.

→ Tender-Leaf Herbs — Basil, oregano, tarragon, lemon balm and the mints have a high moisture content and will mold if not dried quickly. Try hanging the tender-leaf herbs or those with seeds inside paper bags to dry. Tear or punch holes in the sides of the bag. Suspend a small bunch (large amounts will mold) of herbs in a bag and close the top with a rubber band. Place where air currents will circulate through the bag. Any leaves and seeds that fall off will be caught in the bottom of the bag.

Air Dry

→ Gather 5-10 branches together and tie with string or a rubber band. The smaller the bundle, the easier and faster they will dry.
→ Put the bundle of herbs, stem-side up, in a paper bag (or wrap muslin, a mesh produce bag) with several holes around the bundle, and tie it at the neck.
→ Tie the end of the bag closed, being sure not to crush the herbs as you do, and poke a few holes in the bag for ventilation.
→ Hang the bag by the stem end in a warm, well-ventilated room.
→ After a week they will ready to be placed and stored in your spice jars.

Oven

→ Place herb leaves or seeds on a cookie sheet one inch deep or less.
→ Put herbs in an open oven on low heat – less than 180 degrees F – for 2-4 hours. To see if the herbs are dry, check if leaves crumble easily. Oven-dried herbs will cook a little, removing some of the potency and flavor.

The oven method actually the most labor-intensive, and the least energy-efficient method. Herbs need to be dried at about 100 degrees, but most ovens don’t go that low. They also need air circulation, and some ovens don’t have vents. You’ll need to get an oven thermometer and experiment. Try turning the oven on warm or its lowest setting for a while, then turning it off (while leaving the light on). You can also try propping the door open slightly with a wooden spoon

Dehydrator

For this simply follow your machines instructions. Food dehydrators range in price from $30 to $400 so definitely buy what you can afford.  Most that I’ve ready about that give great reviews are around the $150 range. Quality dehydrators have handy features such as timers and adjustable temperature control.  Dehydrator drying is a fast and easy way to dry high quality herbs because temperature and air circulation can be controlled. Pre-heat dehydrator with the thermostat set to 95°F to 115°F. In areas with higher humidity, temperatures as high as 125°F may be needed. After rinsing under cool, running water and shaking to remove excess moisture, place the herbs in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Drying times may vary from 1 to 4 hours. Check periodically. Herbs are dry when they crumble, and stems break when bent.

Fresh herbs hanging isolated on white background

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – DIY BBQ Rubs and Sauces

With BBQ Season kicking off in a big way, I often get requests for really great sauces and rubs to use.  Now you know me I’m not one to ever, EVER buy a pre-made spice mix or bbq sauce so here are some killer bbq rubs and seasonings that you’ll definitely want on hand all summer long!  These will elevate your steaks, burgers, ribs, chicken and even fish to levels that will surely make you the Grill Master on your block! Plus if you make enough, the spice rubs can be put into jars and given away as gifts!  For the sauces you can use a pressure canner to seal them and then give away or store for later!

Tuesday Tip
Time to get your grillin’ on!

Finlandia Premium Butter Garlic Bread Spread

Right before Valentine’s day Finlandia® made an amazing announcement.  They were expanding their products from their world-renown cheeses to premium imported butter.  Now I know what some of you might be thinking.. “butter is butter, no real difference”, right?  Oh folks you are so mistaken.  It’s kind of like not all cars are made the same way or how all chocolate is of the same quality. I mean there is a difference in quality and in this case,  taste.  Finlandia® Imported Butter is crafted from pure, fresh milk, produced on family owned farms in Finland.  Finlandia® Imported Butter provides authentic rich and luscious flavor that is still made the way butter should be; the old-fashioned way. It’s simple and pure; nothing artificial and no added hormones. And what I love about it is that it’s made with non-GMO ingredients according to EU standards, with no rBST hormones.

Finlandia Butter Garlic Bread Spread

This creamy, delicious butter starts with the purest milk in Europe from small Finnish family owned farms where the cows are treated humanely. The fresh milk is carefully churned and cooled to a perfect temperature that creates a delightfully creamy flavor and smooth texture. Whether you’re one of the most discriminating French chefs creating some of your famous baked goods and croissants or a home baker, Finlandia® Imported Butter is the ultimate butter for baking, cooking and especially, eating! This butter has truly set the bar when it comes to standards of butter!
Seriously this is AMAZING! One taste and you’ll be in LOVE!!!

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