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The Cooking Inn : Herbs, Spices, Oils & Flavorings A Page

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Ajwain Seed:
Cultivated from India to Ethiopia, ajwain (also known as Bishop's weed) has a pungent taste with a thyme-like aroma. The Greeks and Romans called it 'ammi' or 'king's cumin'.

Uses: It is widely used in Indian breads, snacks, and savoury dishes.

Alkanet (root, cut pieces):
A source of red food colouring, the medieval alternative to 'Red Dye #2'. Crush and boil it in white wine or water to extract the colour.

Dried berry of the pimento tree of the clove family. this dried, unripened fruit has the flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Uses: Ground used in baked goods, catsup, and pot roast. Whole used in pickling, stews, boiled fish, soups, and sauces.

Almond Paste:
A sweet paste made from finely ground blanched almonds mixed with powdered sugar and enough glucose or syrup to bind it together.

Uses: Used in baking dishes.

Sour, unripe mangoes that are dried and sold in slices and powder.

Uses: Its primary use is in Indian cooking, giving foods a sweet/sour flavor.

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Angelica Seed:
In Iran the seeds (called 'golpar' in Persian) are powdered and sprinkled over cooked broad beans and other pulses to relieve flatulence (natural "Beano"?). In Europe angelica was thought a remedy against witchcraft, poison, and plague.

Uses:The seeds are used to flavour some liquers, including Chartreuse.

Animal Fats:
Such as lard and butter, have been condemned by the health community because they are high in saturated fats. Some recent studies, however, suggest they might have advantages over some highly processed alternatives.
Butter has 61 percent saturated fat, beef 49 percent and lard 40 percent. Naughty or not, these fats have their places, in moderation. Pie crusts made with lard still walk away with the ribbons at county fairs, pork fat gravy is incomparable, and mushrooms or snipe sauteéd in butter are a delight.

Belonging to the celery family, this plant has a licorice flavor.
Uses: Coffee cake, sweet rolls, cookies, pickles, candies, and cough syrup.

Anise Hyssop:
Lilac-coloured blossoms. Strong anise-licorice taste. Sweet and tasty. Flavor similar to root beer.
Uses: Great in salads, sweet  pastries, butter cookies and as a garnish. Leaves can be used to make tea.

Annatto Seeds:
These seeds were widely used in tropical America in pre-Columbian times as food-colouring, fabric dye, and body paint for warriors. Also known as 'aciote', 'urucu', or 'roucon'. The brick-red seed coating gives golden to orange-red colours for food.

Uses: The colour, got by macerating the seeds in water and then straining, has long been used in butter and cheese.

Apple Pie Spice:
Cloves, nutmeg, and cinamon, make up this spice.

Uses: For apple pies or any foods, that cinamon and nutmeg might be used.

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A general (mainly Italian) term used to describe various herbs, such as rosemary, sage, tyme, etc. Aromatic vegetables, such as celery and onions are also called aromi. The term is used when no specific herbs are mentioned, the choice being left to the discretion and knowledge of the cook.

Arrow Root:
The starchy product of a tropical tubar of the same name.

Uses: Used as a thickening agent for puddings, sauces and other cooked foods. Is more easily digested than flour. Arrowroot is tasteless and becomes clear when cooked.

Asafoetida (Asafetida):
A flavoring obtained from a giant fennellike plant that grows mainly in Iran and India. It has a fetid, garlicky smell and should be used in small quantities. It is found in powdered or lump form in mainly Indian markets.

Uses: It is used mainly in Indian dishes.

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