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Jan 2, 2010 04:51 PM

How do you use 'good for you' spices in unexpected ways?

I've been reading for years about how great turmeric is, but I eat Indian food only occasionally, and French's mustard only with things that are very bad for me ... so I bought some, and used it in pretty generous quantity in taco meat. It does change the look of it a bit, but it still tastes great. I'm thinking it would also work well in BBQ sauce, sloppy joes ... perhaps I could sneak a bit into spaghetti sauce.

I use cayenne in most things I cook ... I especially like it on lightly breaded/sauteed chicken livers.

Cinnamon I use pretty conventionally ... made an apple crisp this morning with generous quantities.

Ginger I like to add to my balsamic vinaigrette.

What about you?

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  1. I love putting cinnamon into whatever ice cream I eat, which isn't too often. It's great in any chocolate ice cream, especially, and of course, pumpkin ice cream. I use turmeric in any soup I make and rice dishes, those are probably ordinary uses for it, though. Will be interesting to see what others offer. EDIT: I did use turmeric in egg salad last time I made it...I imagine it would work nicely in deviled eggs too, right? Scrambled eggs also!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      yep - turmeric totally works in scrambled eggs. i love curry powder or garam masala in egg dishes too - scrambled, egg salad, omelet, whatever!

    2. I like to put ginger in the water I use to steam vegetables. Adds a nice (slight) spicy dimension to the steamed vegetables.

      Then I reserve the water for things like rice, congee, soup, etc. Or I just let it cool and drink it like tea.

      By the way, ginger is great for you. People should use/eat more of it.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Yep, I buy fresh ginger every week now...I usually slice it, bruise it and brew it and then add my green tea to it to steep for ginger-green tea...and I like to eat the slices, too, after they're brewed. I didn't add that as an answer here becaused it's more expected than unexpected as foiegras requests. This morning I made chai tea with fresh ginger,whole cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, black pepper and black tea, really nice change-up from my coffee.
        It actually got into the 30's last night here in FL...I'll be having some more of that chai in a little while!

        1. re: Val

          Yeah, I eat raw ginger slices as well (although I eat them completely raw, without brewing or steeping).

          Glad to see I'm not the only one!

          1. re: ipsedixit

            eeek...very hardcore...might try it sometime!

            1. re: ipsedixit

              ipse, do you enjoy spicy food in general? i thought only lunatics like me with asbestos palates did stuff like that ;)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I love spicy food.

                Aside from raw ginger, I also like to eat raw garlic cloves, straight. Just peel and eat. Pop them like M&M's.

                I'm also famous for my Sichuan peppercorn omelet. You can only imagine what that's like!

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  i can't do the raw ginger cloves because my digestive tract tends to punish me for it. but i'm sure i'd love the omelet :) and actually, i'm fighting a rotten cold right now, so i've been od'ing on ginger, pepper and acid because they're the only things that can make a dent right now on my dulled sense of taste! congestion is a Chowhound's worst enemy...

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Ginger, honey and lemon tea does wonders for a head cold.

                    Rest up and get well soon!

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      thanks. sipping my umpteenth cup as i type ;)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I do the ginger/lemon/honey thing also when congested, usually with black tea but sometimes straight ginger tea works very nicely too...GHG, do you take little steam treatments too? sounds funny...and I think Gomez Adams was always having a towel over his head or something...LOL., but last time I had a cold, that really helped. Don't forget the chicken soup! Feel better!

                        1. re: Val

                          LOL! i totally remember that from the Addams Family :) and did you ever see Crocodile Dundee when he dumps the guy's cocaine stash into a bowl of steaming water because he thinks he's snorting it to treat a cold?

                          ok, back on topic here...the lemon-ginger tea i drink isn't technically tea, just an herbal infusion. and since i haven't had the energy to make my own chicken soup, and i refuse to eat soup from a can, for dinner last night i settled for some leftover lentil soup i had in the freezer - i spiked it with plenty of fresh minced garlic (which i wholeheartedly believe possesses curative power), cayenne, and garam masala.

                          i'm already feeling much better today! i get sick maybe once every two years, and it rarely lasts for more than 3 days. i should be able to taste everything again by tomorrow...assuming i haven't scorched off my taste buds with an overdose of capsaicin ;)

        2. building on ipse's reply, i love ginger. it's great in stir-fry sauces, or in a seasoning rub for meat or fish. it's also wonderful in chutney or preserves. i keep crystallized ginger chunks in the freezer for snacking. oh, and ginger + chocolate is one of my favorite flavor pairings.

          cinnamon is delicious mixed into peanut butter or almond butter. as Val said, it's also a great spice to pair with chocolate... and it works with most root vegetables - not just the standard carrots, yams, winter squash & pumpkin, but parsnips & turnips too. i've also had delicious rice dishes with cinnamon.

          and just to hit the trifecta, i need to point out that cayenne/chile is also great with chocolate. sensing a pattern here? ;)

          1. I love using spices in everything! Turmeric in my yogurt or eggs, cayenne or habanero, cinnamon and allspice mixed with peanut butter in my sanwiches, some kind of hot pepper on/in everything! even tea - yummy and clears out the sinuses. Turmeric is good for the immune system and inflammation so I like to add it to soups and things when i'm sick. Lots of other places for spices too - thanks for starting this thread - love it!

            1. Well I almost always put turmeric on my chicken. In stock and with anything chicken because it takes that "smell" away.

              Cinnamon is good with ground beef, so I'll add a dash when browning minced meat with chopped onions and it gives it the best aroma and flavour/twist.

              Cinnamon is also good with chicken, just rub it all over and bake, easy and delicious.

              One of my new favourite blend is 5 spice, a dash of it here and there is great, even in tea!!

              Fenugreek seeds (ground) are very healthy, good in curries, or try adding a dash of it with paprika when browning some stir fry beef or sausage, or even ground beef.
              the downside with it almost always for most people is that you'll smell like it because it really comes out of your pores.

              Fennel, the seed (ground or bruised in the mortal and pestle) is great with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and salt as a marinade for chicken, yum!

              Cumin is great on fish with fresh crushed garlic (try it!!) it's an egyptian recipe that is super good. Lots of cumin mixed with a paste of fresh garlic, salt and oil rubbed all over a fish steak or a whole fish (inside and out) and grilled or fried. You could also pat the pieces with some flour before frying to give it a crispy coating.

              Things like cinnamon and cayenne (together or separately) can go into brownies or gingerbread. 5 spice too adding more benefit!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: BamiaWruz

                what "smell" bothers you about chicken? The smell of it cooking? Tumeric would be great with chicken - and make it an interesting color, too!

                Tumeric is great in rice - put it in the water when you are cooking and it will come out beautifully.

                1. re: momskitchen

                  Well I don't have a problem with it but some people (family members) are sensitive to the chicken smell, my mother always used this trick and it makes things a lot nicer.

                  I'm guessing it's the "not so fresh" chicken smell or something? Supermarket chickens sometimes have this.

                  I almost always put whole cloves in beef stock. In addition to turmeric with rice a few cardamom pods are great too.