It’s the difference between “Meh” and “WOWZA”! It can turn plain chicken into a masterpiece and a bowl of pasta into a treasured recipe. It’s what separates us from the lower life forms and elevates us into to the culinary stratosphere. It’s what keeps us foodies in the kitchen, tweaking and fine-tuning until our taste buds are satisfied.
Without spices, our food would be BORING. Even the most takeout-happy bachelor has at least some salt and pepper laying around. The right combinations can take a simple protein on an around-the-world journey, never repeating the same destination twice. With a little creativity, you can create layers of flavor so intense and succulent that Julia Child herself would swoon.
This is the first installment of what will be several on my favorite spice mixes. We all know the nasty stuff that comes in those packets of flavor you can conveniently find at any grocery store. Hopefully this will inspire you to bypass the unnecessary additives and preservatives and create your own culinary masterpiece!
Zesty Italian Dressing Mix
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 2 teaspoon minced dried onion
Combine all ingredients, store in an air-tight container. Makes about 1/2 cup. Suggested Uses: Mix 2 tablespoons with 1/3 cup red wine vinegar and 2/3 cup olive oil for salad dressing, or sprinkle 1 tablespoon per 1 pound meat to season.
Hidden Valley Dressing and Dip Mix
- 1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dried portabella mushrooms (I know…weird. But this is the “secret” ingredient that makes the famous taste!)
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Combine all the ingredients into a food processor, blend until powdered and mixed well. Add the following to the mixture:
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
Store mixture in an air-tight container. Makes about a cup. Suggested Uses: For Ranch Dressing add 3 tablespoons of spice mix to 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup of mayonnaise, blending until smooth. To season meat, add 2-3 tablespoons per 1 pound of meat. As a dip, add 3 tablespoons to 1 cup sour cream, mix well.