I wanted to write this post because I know we all have a lot of trouble seasoning our dishes. And yes, it is OK to measure BUT who wants to get out measuring spoons every time you’re cooking? Baking, YES you must measure, but in my opinion that is the beauty of cooking. No need to measure, just make it like you like it! And, sometime we need to tweak our recipes for our pallets, so I wanted to share how I eyeball the amounts and know the potency of each spice! I hope you find this helpful and as always let me know if you have any questions! Lets get started!
First things first, KOSHER SALT! This is 100% my most used seasoning ever and should be yours too!! Really no matter what your cooking, even sweet, you need salt!! I do NOT used table salt, its WAY too salty. Did you know the larger the salt crystal the less “salty”. This melts very easily and works with everything!! Invest in this if you have not already and throw away the table salt 😉 When I’m seasoning with salt, I use a BIG pinch!! Also, always taste and use salt/pepper in every layer. Example, if you’re cooking soup I would add salt when sauteing veggies, then when you add meat, then when you add broth etc. This ensures that all layers are well seasoned! I have linked some salt (here) and a really cute salt bowl (here).
Next, is of course pepper, this is also a very important spice and once again, throw away the pre-ground kind!! Always use the pepper corns and use a pepper grinder. Typically when you use salt, use pepper!! I usually use about 5-6 grinds whenever I use it! Usually about 1-2 times during each dish. I’ve linked some cute pepper grinders (here) and pepper corns (here)
Now, lets talk about the rest of the spices!
**MP = more potent (use less)/LP = less potent (use more)**
Garlic powder: Mild garlic flavor. (LP) I use this almost always! I love the way it tastes and it gives my dishes a depth of flavor without having to mince garlic! I do not use it when I use fresh garlic.
Cavenders: Sweet, salty, and savory flavor. (MP) I love these! If you haven’t tried them you must! I feel like this gives things a good umami taste! Use it on roasted veggies, chicken, batters, etc. You can buy cavenders (here)
Cayenne: Sharp heat flavor. (MP) When you’re looking for a subtle kick at the end of a bite use this!! Nothing too over the top but adds a nice finishing heat to a dish. Use it on meat, in sauces, in batters, in soups!
Italian Seasoning: Italian flavors. (LP) This has a bunch of flavors all mixed into one seasoning blend! Think, basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, etc. Invest in a good brand of this! It will last you a long time and the better quality the better taste!! I love this one (here) Add this into pasta sauces and sausage to give it an Italian flare!
Chili Powder: Subtle heat and smoky flavor! (LP) I love chili powder!! I obviously put it in my chili, but you can add it on burgers, chicken, soups. Really anything that you want a nice smoky flavor without having to use a grill!
Red Chili Flakes: Hot heat!! (MP) We all know chili flakes as a topping to pizzas, but really it also works nicely on roasted veggies and in a pasta sauce! When you need a kick of heat add a LITTLE bit of these and they go a long way!
Paprika: Subtle smoke and color! (LP)This spice is nice and subtle adds a great tint of red to your dish! I add this into batters or anywhere you want some smoky heat!
Ground Cumin: Sweet, smoky flavor! (LP)I love cumin in anything Mexican!! It adds a great smokiness and a subtle sweet note!
Ground Coriander: sweet, citrus notes! (LP) I love this also to give depth to any Mexican dish! It’s also wonderful in marinades and soups!!
Nutmeg: Rich and nutty notes! (MP) Always use the whole nutmeg and grate yourself! Ground nutmeg looses its flavors too quickly. I use this in cream sauces and cheese sauces! Gives a nice subtle “whats that” flavor. A little goes a long way!!
Mustard Powder: tangy flavor! (MP) This is also great in marinades and in a spice rub! I also love using it in my cheese sauces for a nice tangy note!
Montreal Steak Seasoning: Sweet, licorice, peppery flavor! (LP) This is just a great spice blend that I love to add to my steaks! Add a lot as most spices fall off when cooking!!
** Seasoning notes**
1. Trust your taste buds!!
2. Add a little to begin with. You can always add more!
3. Season every layer and taste at every point in the cooking!
4. Smell and taste the spices if you’re not sure what they taste like.
5. Lastly, sprinkle seasonings around the whole pan with less potent spices (LP) and only half of the pan for more potent spices (MP).