Spices are an essential part of creating delicious and flavorful dishes. It stands to reason that this would be true, especially when creating Italian dishes. Spices are particularly prevalent in Italian cooking in dishes from meatballs to different kinds of pasta to pizza. Aside from rich olive oil and fresh produce, Italian spices just may be the most important part of Italian cooking.
If you’re not experienced with Italian cooking and spices, what takes the most time to figure out is which spices to use with which components of each dish and which combinations work well together to create that authentic Italian taste you are looking for. Below are 5 Italian spices that are easy to use to get you started.
Not only is Rosemary easy to use, but it’s also easy to grow for yourself. There’s nothing quite like a freshly grown herb from your own garden to have fresh in your Italian meals. In traditional Italian cooking, Rosemary is frequently used when adding a spicy, peppery yet floral flavor to stocks and roasted meats.
When you begin creating your Italian dish, all you’ll need is to add a small amount of Rosemary to give your dish some big flavor. You’ll have a delicious dish with a woody, peppery taste. Rosemary is especially good when cooking homemade focaccia.
Basil is the second to none herb in Italian cuisine. The flavor of Basil is fresh and bright, and it goes well with Italian staples like balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and cheese. Basil Pesto is another popular Italian favorite.
Basil can be used in both its fresh and dried variety. Fresh Basil is most commonly used in cold dishes. It can also be added after cooking. Its dry counterpart is used to flavor things such as soups and pasta sauces that take some time to cook. Basil also is beneficially antibacterial, which is good for your health.
Have you had the Italian dishes risotto, gnocchi, or the ever-common ravioli? If you have, you’ve most likely had Sage, a common herb used in these fabulous Italian dishes. Sage has been used all over the world for its health properties, such as its ability to aid in digestion and its anti-inflammatory properties. Sage has a naturally warm aroma and enhances heavier Italian dishes. Sage can also be fresh or dried and is a complementary herb in either variety.
One of the most universally used herbs in Italian cooking is Prezzemolo or better known as Parsley. The chances are that you will not find a sauce, soup, or pasta without Parsley.
Parsley typically comes in flat-leaf and curly-leaf varieties. However, the flat-leaf Parsley is so much more commonplace in Italian dishes. Although curly leaf parsley is great for fine chopping and garnishing, the flat-leaf variety has a more full-bodied taste for adding flavor to dishes as they cook.
Additionally, Parsley has many vitamins and minerals. It is also frequently added to a variety of dishes to complement other spices because of its natural ability to enhance other flavors.
Oregano is traditionally used in many Sicilian and southern Italian dishes. It works well in everyday cooking with tomato-based pasta sauces. Oregano is also used dry or fresh. Dried is more commonly preferred since the strong, spicy flavor comes out more after the herb has been dried.
Spice Up Your Fruit Salad
Who doesn’t love a fresh and tangy fruit salad in the summer? This classic dish is popular with all ages, and it can be done many ways. Fruit salad can be too sweet for some people, and spicing it up will give it that savory flavor that takes it to the next level. If you haven’t tried adding some Spice Station spices to your fruit salad, you are missing out!
Fruits to Use
Feel free to mix it up and substitute in other fruits, or even neutral vegetables such as cucumber. Fruits that are in season will have the best flavor, so it will depend on the season. Chop up your larger fruits into bite size pieces. You can even use a melon ball tool for the watermelon and cantaloupe if you are feeling fancy! The great thing about fruit salad is that you don’t have to measure anything to make it. Just grab the fruits that you love, and fill up your bowl! Load up your chopped fruit into a big, decorative bowl and then get started on your seasoning.
- Lime Juice
- Chile Powder
Squeeze the lime juice over the fruit in the bowl and mix well to make sure all fruit is coated. Then sprinkle on the chile powder and mix again to ensure all fruit is evenly coated. The amount of lime juice and chile powder you will need will depend on how much fruit you are using and how big you want your fruit salad to be. You can adjust the levels of both ingredients based on how tangy and or/spicy you want your fruit salad!
Bring some spice to the sweetness with this refreshing combination that is perfect for those hot summer days. This spiced up fruit salad will be a hit at summer picnics and potlucks, and brings a Mexican twist that will appeal to kids and adults alike who appreciate some spice!
Making Margarita Salt Rims
The Classic Margarita
If you are a fan of tequila, there is no more quintessential beverage than the Margarita. Making a Margarita is easy and uses simple ingredients common in many households. Tequila, Triple Sec, and lime juice, with a salty flare at the rim. As such, the Margarita is also the perfect cocktail to get creative. If tequila is liquid bliss, a Margarita is liquid bliss with style. Rather than continuing to look for your lost shaker of salt, why not try something with a bit more spice or sweetness.
For those who also enjoy a spicy margarita, try one of the many spice station blends, such as Chili Lime Salt, as your margarita rim. The green chili, combined with flaky salt, provide just the right amount spice to complement your afternoon beverage. Enjoy on its own, or with a bowl of tortilla chips to leave you both satisfied and craving for that next irresistible taste.
If, however, you have more of a sweet tooth, try a Margarita rimmed with Lemon Twist Salt. Just the right combination of exotic and classic, each sip will reward you with a melody of flavors swirling with the citrusy base. The perfect combination for fall or winter, and excellent either before or after a meal, Lemon Twist Salt is sure to be a winner, you can even mix it with a little bit of sugar.
How to Make a Salted Rim
Whether you try a spicy or sweet blend, try something new and interesting. It may just become your next favorite drink. Once the perfect blend is selected, applying your rim is easy.
- Step 1: Take an empty Margarita glass and slightly wet the rim either with your fingers or lime wedge.
- Step 2: Spread the spice station blend in a thin layer on a small plate and touch the damp rim of the glass to the blend.
- Step 3: Fill the glass with a classic Margarita base and you have your very own drink creation. You now have a Margarita with style. A Margarita with your style.
Make It Your Own
The next time you grab for that bottle of tequila, get creative. If Chili Lime Salt or Lavender Vanilla Sugar does not define your style, try one of the other beverage spice station blends. Perhaps try Vulcan’s Fire Salt, or even Hibiscus Blossoms. Experiment with different flavors or try mixing more than one blend to create your perfect Margarita. While the Margarita may be an old standard, making it your own never gets old.
Making Your Own Salad Dressing
Have you ever thought about making your salad dressing but are not aware of how to do it? You are not alone, but it is effortless to create and tasty at the same time. Your salad dressing requires a few ingredients. When ready to make your dressing, there are many varieties to choose from such as Ranch, Creamy Italian, Honey Mustard, Classic Vinaigrette, Creamy Blue Cheese, Asian Sesame, and more. Be aware that any extra salad dressing you make can last just over several weeks when stored firmly in a jar or bottle.
Try a Vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette is very easy to make. Just mix a few tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil, balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, three tablespoons yellow mustard, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and minced shallots to taste. Once thoroughly mixed, place your newly made dressing securely in a mason jar and keep it refrigerated. When you are ready to use it, simply shake it before pouring it out.
The good thing about this dressing is that you can always experiment with its taste by adding or lowering the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
When you want to make your salad dressing the freshest tasting, try to add Spice station spices to it. Making your own dressing can help to lower cholesterol, help with asthma, reduce high blood pressure, and specific respiratory issues due to all natural ingredients and less processed ingredients.
A Few Great Tips When Creating Your Salad Dressing
Give your dressing a boost by adding fresh herbs. Always experiment when adding herbs like thyme, basil, or even rosemary. Be sure to add these herbs after the olive oil and blend everything smoothly.
Cut back using mustard powder, but instead, use fresh yellow mustard. The flavor is important but cutting back on mustard powder gives your dressing a good source of flavor compared to the other ingredients.
If you can use a different form of balsamic vinegar, your dressing will come out slightly different every time. If you want the best flavor for yourself or sharing it with friends and family, a little goes a long way.
Homemade Salad Dressing Has Health Benefits
Homemade salad dressing has health benefits because you will not be adding extra unwanted sugar, oil, and sodium to your body. It comes out fresh and tasty compared to store-bought dressings.
Save Money Today!! Create Your Own Salad Dressing!!
Top Spices To Use For Beginner Cooks
The culinary arts are a common passion. A lot of people love to cook and know how to season their dish with just the right spices. Some, however, are just starting out as beginner cooks and need to hone their skill. It’s not usually a good idea to just jump in and improvise with spices, especially if you are making something for the first time. Yes, it can be hard to know where to start.
Not to worry though. If you fail, try again. That’s the beauty of art of any kind. When in doubt, you can turn to Spice Station Spices to figure out where to begin. They have a wide selection of beginner’s spices and more. Also, there are a few good spices to use in general if you are just starting out that you can almost never go wrong with. Here is a short list of such diverse spices for beginners.
1. Black Pepper
Right alongside salt, black pepper is among the most commonly used seasonings on the planet. Pepper can be sprinkled on a lot of things, from casseroles to soups, even simple rice dishes. Just like with any seasoning or spice though, you want to be careful of how much you use on one dish. Better too little pepper than too much! That way you can add a little more the next time you make your dish!
As with pepper, paprika is commonly used in dishes such as casseroles, potato dishes, and curry. You can be more liberal with paprika, as it is full of flavor but light on the spice. Again, if you find that you have used too much or too little, you can be more cautious next time!
Cinnamon is a very diverse spice. It can go on pies and cobblers, but it can also go in coffee or on oatmeal, among many other things. Most of the time, you can find a recipe for dessert that requires it. As with the other spices mentioned above, you will be safe to use too little then too much.
4. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is a mix of oregano, parsley, basil, and other plant based seasonings usually associated with Italian food. None of them are extremely spicy or strong on the taste buds, but the all have their own touch of flavor. Italian seasoning goes well on most things pasta based. It also goes well on garlic bread and mashed potatoes.
So if you are a beginner cook, getting into the culinary arts and wonder where to start with spices, turn to Spice Station Spices. They can help guide you in the right direction! Their spices range from basic to professional, fit for any chef to use!
Everything Bagel Seasoning, a Great Addition to your Kitchen!
Everything bagel seasoning is a delicious blend that is made of poppyseeds, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried onion flakes, and coarse sea salt. Ideas for the blend include: avocado toast, on a bagel, on any type of bread, roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes, tofu, creative dips popcorn, pizza and even a salad.
1. Hashbrowns : Nearly every seasoning goes well with hashbrowns, but everything but the bagel blend goes really well when paired with these breakfast potatoes. You don’t even need to add any extra seasoning on top.
2. Grilled salmon: grilled salmon that is drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice taste delicious when you add everything but the bagel seasoning on top right before you put your salmon on the grill.
3. Cornbread: for corn bread you can add the everything but the bagel seasoning into the batter before you bake the cornbread or you can sprinkle it over the top after you add your creamy topping of choice, it goes well with jalapeño cream cheese.
4. Avocado toast: yes you can have everything but the bagel seasoning on a bagel, and a regular toast. It is also delicious when you add it to avocado toast and even more of an extra boost of protein when you add an egg on top of the everything but the bagel avocado toast.
5. Everything bagel dip: this is one of the most creative dips that I have ever seen. It is a dip that you can use on anything. It includes cream cheese, sour cream, and everything but the bagel seasoning. It’s delicious with pretzel chips, vegetables, potato chips and more. To make this dip healthier, you can use plain greek yogurt and add the seasoning to it. Trust us, it is delicious!
6. Everything but the bagel pull apart bread: this pull apart bread comes complete with honey, delicious melted cream cheese, everything but the bagel seasoning and a few other items. It is delicious to have for parties where everyone can just pull their own piece off.
7. Everything but the bagel popcorn: this is a great recipe to use when you were in a pinch or just for a fun night time movie treat. You can use your everything but the bagel seasoning on homemade popcorn and microwave popcorn. All you have to do is sprinkle the seasoning over top.
Everything but the bagel seasoning is a universally used seasoning because there are many useful ideas for the blend. It can be utilized on many different types of food in order to achieve different flavor levels. This seasoning is good on breakfast, lunch or dinner and even your mid day or night time snacks. You can find the seasoning at most stores now, but for the freshest spices, we suggest our Spice Station Everything Bagel Blend.
Spice up your Condiments
Condiments are a great way to add some additional flavor and texture to all of your favorite food items and meals. In fact, condiments are so important in most cultures that specific foods cannot even be thought of without also thinking of their condiment counterparts. For example, what are tacos without spicy red salsa or salsa verde? Who can imagine eating a hot dog without any ketchup, mustard, or relish? These foods are intrinsically connected with their condiment counterparts and it is almost impossible to imagine eating them without those.
How to Spice Up Your Condiments
When shopping for condiments in the grocery store and using condiments in your kitchen, it is important to remember more than just the basics. Barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, ketchup, mayo, and mustard are not the only ways to sauce your food. By paying attention to the following tips you can up your condiment game and add more flavor to all of your favorite food items.
Make Your Own Condiments
Making your own condiments in the kitchen at home can be easier than you might think. By combining some pantry staples with some spice station spices, you are often able to make delicious condiments like barbecue sauce at home. When making your own condiments, it is important to use a good recipe. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can make it your own by changing heat levels and adding spices.
Try Adding Spices to Your Condiments
Creatively changing the flavor of your pre-made condiments is an easy way to add unique flavor to your food. For example, you can try adding a little bit of smoked paprika to your ketchup to give it a unique flavor. You can also add garlic, herbs, and spices to mayo to create your own aioli spread at home.
Try Foreign Condiments
If you are bored of your standard condiment options at home, try some international options. Asian condiments can add umami flavor, saltiness, and spice to foods. South American and Central American countries are known for their hot sauces and herb based blends. These will help you to diversify your palette and switch up your standard go-to recipes.
Add Heat to Your Condiments
Upping the heat levels of your condiments is a great way to take them from “blah” to “wow.” Adding hot sauce, crushed red pepper, or cayenne pepper to ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce can really impact the flavor profile. When adding some heat to your condiments, add just a little bit at a time to make sure that your new creation is not too spicy to handle.
For fresh spices sent right to your door, check out our website.
Meet Bloody Mary’s Spicy Cousin: Bloody Maria
The Classic Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary first graced our palates in the 1920s or ’30s, but its exact origin and namesake is a bit of a mystery. It’s no mystery, however, that the tomato juice and vodka-based breakfast beverage is the perfect hangover cure.
History on the Bloody Mary offers a few different perspectives on where the name originated. Is it named for the last victim of a crazed serial killer, Jack the Ripper? Or does it hail from the bloody reign of terror held by Queen Mary I, the first Queen to rule England? Alternatively, it could be named after a young waitress who worked at a Chicago Diner called “Buckets of Blood.”
However it came about, we’re sure glad it did. Nothing goes better with a Sunday brunch than tomato juice and liquor. Bonus points for crunchy, green garnishes!
If you enjoy a Bloody Mary, try a Bloody Maria!
Now, onto Maria. We all have our preferences, right? Our “drink of choice,” if you will. Well, the Bloody Maria uses tequila instead of vodka, so if that matches your style, you should take note.
Much like its birth story, the exact recipe for a Bloody Mary isn’t written in stone. Vodka and tomato are standard and add-ins such as hot sauce and seasonings vary by the bartender.
After swapping out vodka for tequila, you’ll need some other ingredients:
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Lime Juice
- Salt & Pepper
- Celery Salt
Garnishing, the final touch on a beverage, is crucial when it comes to Bloody drinks. For a Bloody Mary or Maria, the more the Mary-er. Some things to include on the rim of your glass:
- celery stalks
- pickle spears
- fried foods
- pickled peppers
After that Bloody Maria quenches your thirst, consider what spice station spices might kick your recipe up a notch. This is a fun drink to experiment with if you enjoy cooking with spices because the possibilities are limitless. History on the Bloody Mary consists of essentially nothing but experimenting with different ingredients to make the perfect spicy brunch beverage!
Try to add some Heat to your Recipes
If you are bored of your day to day eating routine, it just might be time to spice things up a little bit in the kitchen, both figuratively and literally. Different types of hot spices, spicy blends, hot sauces, and fresh peppers can all contribute different flavor profiles and heat levels to foods and individual dishes. Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower are all delicious when roasted with hot spices. Proteins like chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and salmon are also all delicious when prepared with spicy sauces and seasonings.
Try Different Types of Hot Spices
Black pepper is not the only spice out there that will add some flavor to your food. In fact, black pepper is likely one of the most mild spices on your spice rack. Smoked hot paprika, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and cayenne pepper are all popular choices for hot spices. Powdered and dried hot spices are perfect to keep in the pantry because they last for a very long time. This will allow you to spice up foods without having fresh ingredients on hand.
Try Spicy Blends from Different Brands or Make Your Own
Many different cultures and different brands produce their own spice blends. These blends can contain different herbs and spices, depending on the recipe. Spice blends can also easily be made at home by using a recipe or experimenting with random ingredients. Spice rub blends are delicious when used on smoked or grilled meats like brisket and ribs. When shopping for spice blends, make sure you find one that does not contain too much salt. Salt can always be added at home and the best spice blends focus on maximizing flavor and heat. Paying attention to heat level descriptions on product labels is important when shopping for hot spice blends. When making your own at home, it is sometimes easier to control the heat level. You can also tweak pre-made spice blends by adding your own addition salt, herbs, or spices.
Use Fresh Peppers to Spice Up Foods
If you have fresh peppers on hand, they are a great way to add heat to different culinary dishes. It is important to do your research and make sure that you know the heat level of the type of pepper that you are using. For example, when handling extremely spicy peppers like ghost peppers you will want to use great caution. Peppers that have extremely high spice levels should be cut carefully while wearing gloves to prevent heat transference. Other popular fresh peppers used to spice up dishes include jalapeno peppers, shishito peppers, red bell peppers, orange bell peppers, green bell peppers, chili peppers.
You can always take a look at our spice blends here.
What Spices to Use to Up Your Grilling Game
Becoming a Grill Master
Grilling is a useful skill that helps you to enjoy delicious meals, to keep the house cool inside during summer months, and to become the life of every party and entertaining situation. A good grill master knows how to flavor meats and vegetables with all of the right spices, sauces, and marinades. Keeping your pantry stocked with spice station spices is one key to grilling success.
Garlic powder is one of the healthier spices for grilling. It can be used for making marinades and can also be used in homemade spices blends. Garlic powder compliments all sorts of meats and vegetables that are delicious on the grill. This assortment includes steak, chicken, pork, mushrooms, asparagus, potatoes, and onions.
Real chopped onions are best used for marinades. When it comes to spice rubs for grilling, onion powder is a far better option. Even the finest chopped fresh or dehydrated onion will have a hard time sticking to meats that are about to go on the grill. Dry onion powder mixes well with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and other spices.
This is another one of the healthier spices for grilling. Paprika does not contain any sodium, so it can be used to give heavy flavor when avoiding or limiting salt intake. Paprika can give a delicious smoky, sweet, or spicy flavor. This depends on the type of paprika that is purchased. It is delicious on red meats like beef, venison, and lamb.
This is an important ingredient for smoky rubs and dry barbecue blends. Chili powders come in a range of varieties. Depending on personal preference and recipe needs, you can find chili powders of all heat and spice levels.
Iodized salt, sea salt, kosher salt, rock salt, and pink himalayan salt are just a few of the many salt options available for grilling. The right amount of salt is key for unlocking flavor and tenderness in grilled meats. Applying too much salt can give a bitter and overwhelming flavor. It also poses multiple health risks so we suggest keeping it to a minimum.
Freshly cracked black pepper and finely ground white pepper are two great options for grilling. Freshly cracked black pepper is a good complement to grilled vegetables like onions and asparagus and to grilled seafood like fish or shrimp. White pepper mixes nicely into a variety of spice rubs.
These are just a few spice station spices that can up your grilling game, check out our bbq rub spice set!