Herbs and spices go back a long way. They have always been in demand and we still use them on a daily basis. For example, sage is used in a variety of different ways in cooking. It is used with the Turkey to make the best Thanksgiving meal. It is often used with chicken. It makes a fantastic combination with lemon, bringing out its pungent aroma.

A brief history of sage

Here, we are taken all the way back to ancient Greece. The Greeks and Romans had a strong belief that sage produced a lot of wisdom as well as the mental acuity. In the 10th century the Arab physicians also jumped on the bandwagon, saying that it help with immortality

To sum it up people believed that sage was an important herb because it brought about wisdom, skill, esteem , good health and increased psychic powers. They also believed that long life was an attribute which came from the power of sage.

The plant was said to belong to the Styrs, who were believed to be half men and half goat kind of creatures.

When it came to the seventeenth century, the Royal family in England employed herb stewers and they then scattered sage and lavender, which helped rid the towns of the nasty odors of the time.

In the Middle ages, sage was beneficial in treating people who were suffering from fevers, intestinal problems as well as memory loss. There were other things that this was able to treat such as eye problems, epilepsy, various types of infections and liver diseases. We can see from this, that this is indeed an extremely versatile herb.

The medicinal uses for sage

Whilst, sage may not have treated all of these conditions, back in the day, the herb is still has its uses today and is in fact quite powerful. It contains high doses of calcium and potassium. It also contains vitamin A, C and B-complex. It is a great antioxidant and works as an anti-inflammatory. You can use it for a sore mouth as well as mouth ulcers. If you have a sore throat then cut up some sage with a little chamomile and place it in some boiling water. Leave this to brew. You can also make a sage gargle with 3 teaspoons of sage leaves in boiling water. Leave it for 15 minutes, then strain it and allow to cool.

Cooking with sage

Sage can bring a lot of dishes to life. Combining it with other ingredients which work well together is also a good idea. You must know what to use, otherwise you will get the wrong flavors. You can also make a sauce out of it or even make a pesto. It can become overwhelming so don’t use too much of this. It works well with poultry. Things like chicken, turkey as well as pork work well with this herb. Sage also works very well with a lot of vegetables and just gives them a hint of flavor that they may be missing.

In the world of cooking, it is a huge advantage if cooks and chefs know their food. Sometimes, even if they have graduated from a culinary school, it does not automatically mean that they will be getting their dream jobs. Nevertheless, some self-taught chefs have that passion of knowing the crops around them and continue to experiment on how they can incorporate them in their other dishes. One particular species of food that repeatedly amazes people is the Scotch Bonnet peppers. Its variety has various levels of hotness so chefs have to figure out on how to use them.

Such peppers are known in various names like Scotty Bonns, Caribbean red peppers as well as Boabs Bonnet. These peppers are generally found in the islands of the Caribbean. The heat that these peppers bring has fascinated people all around the world. Thus, using them in so many dishes as well as condiments is not surprising at all. Scotch bonnets are present in Jamaican, Haitian, Grenadian and Barbadian cuisines. However, there are also some chefs and cooks coming from various parts of the country that try to incorporate these peppers into their dishes. It is a risk worth taking since they know that there is nothing really to lose.

Thanks to the colors of these peppers, individuals are able to add them to almost any dish they desire. There is green, pumpkin orange and even scarlet red. In case people want to try and grow this pepper, they can easily do so by cutting out the seeds.

To name a few, the scotch bonnet Burkina yellow comes from an African strain. You know they are matured when the light green color turns to a yellow lemon color. This is one of the rare varieties as well as a collector’s dream. Its heat is very hot, so be careful if you want to add them to your dish.

The scotch bonnet chocolate is a Jamaican pepper. With its fruity and smoky flavor, it suits the Jamaican cuisine perfectly. When you see that this pepper turns from dark green to chocolate brown, then you know it is ripe already.

Scotch bonnet red, on the other hand, becomes bright red from pale green in color once it matures. Another rare pepper is the scotch bonnet sweet. Based on the name itself, the heat is sweet or no heat at all. This is particularly suited for those serious chili lovers. It is quite difficult to explain how the taste of this pepper is but it is recommended that you use it in your pasta dishes because it makes a full flavored pasta sauce.

These are only a few of the many scotch bonnet peppers in the world. Trying to eat a few of them can be exciting especially those who want to add a little thrill in their lives. Just remember to keep a glass or even bottle of milk beside you in case you choose to try these out. Milk puts out the heat in your mouth easily so you would not worry about anything.

Garlic powder just as the name suggests is dehydrated or dried garlic. The garlic bulb is put through a process and when this process is complete the end product is a powder. Garlic on its own is a species of the well known onion and is closely related to the red onion, leek, chive and shallot.

It grows in areas that have mild climatic weather patterns and the way to grow them is to put an actual clove into the ground. It is a good idea to use cloves from different bulbs and not plant cloves from a single bulb during the planting process. In areas where the climate is a bit chilly, they can be grown during the fall season before the soil freezes over to be harvested later in the spring.

That said, the garlic plant is rarely attacked by pests. In fact they repel moles and rabbits. They are however prone to pink root which consequently stunts the roots and turn them into a pinkish or reddish color. They can also get attacked by rot disease if the soil is infected with the same.

When the garlic bulb is harvested, it can be converted into either dried, fermented, or frozen. It is therefore common sense to say that the main ingredient of garlic powder is garlic. The process of turning the bulb into the powder involves breaking down the entire bulb into individual cloves. This is done by passing them through rubber rollers. The papery translucent shell is then removed from the clove via aspiration. After that the cloves are sliced by passing them under rollers and this causes them to form flakes. These flakes continue to be passed under a drier belt and once they are fine and dry they are packed immediately. This ensures that they do not absorb moisture from the surrounding atmosphere. The conversion is 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, per 1 clove fresh garlic.

What are the uses of garlic powder?

  1.  Garlic in its natural form is a well known herb. It is famed for treating a variety of ailments and the same can be said about garlic powder. It contains antiseptic properties and can therefore be used to cook meals and as a result promote general good health.
  2. It can be used as a marinade. Combined with other herbs it can be rubbed into beef, chicken or pork to give it a rich flavor.
  3. It can be used together with vinegar and oil to prepare salad dressings.
  4. It is used in the preparation of flavored tomato sauce as a condiment.
  5. It has been used to make garlic capsules which help in giving the body a high immunity system.
  6. It can be used a seasoning to season practically every meal raging from soups, hamburger patties, eggs, popcorns, the list is endless.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Shrimp, deveined and butterflied
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Lemon Zest
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Italian Parsley
  • Pinch of Red Pepper flakes1/3 cups Dry White Wine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ lb Linguine Pasta
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (garnish)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking add the butter and olive oil to pan on Medium high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add completely dry shrimp to pan by placing them on their side. Once shrimp are fully cooked remove them from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add the lemon juice, zest, Italian parsley, red pepper flakes, white wine, salt and pepper.
  6. Mix together and then add the pasta and the shrimp. Stir to coat.
  7. Serve with Parmesan cheese and lemon slices

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper – sliced
  • 1 Red Onion – sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • ½ Lemon
  • 1 Lime

Directions

  1. Slice the onion and bell pepper into ½ inch slices.
  2. Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Add the oil and sliced onion and bell peppers.
  3. Add cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and paprika, and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook the vegetables until slightly tender, about 5 – 8 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 4 – 6 minutes.
  5. Squeeze the lemon and lime over the vegetables and shrimp.
  6. Serve atop warm tortillas and garnish with the cilantro lime sour cream (recipe follows).

Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

½ Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Minced Cilantro
Juice of ½ a Lime
Salt
Mix ingredients together and serve.

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Eggs
  • Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • Marinara Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • ½ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Trim and rinse the chicken breasts.  Place flat in a large ziplock bag.  Flatten chicken to about ¾ inches thick by hitting it with a meat mallet or a large heavy pan.
  3. Beat eggs with 1 Tbsp water.  Place flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, in ziplock bag.  Dip each chicken in egg mixture then place in plastic bag with flour.  Seal bag and shake to coat chicken in flour.
  4. Remove chicken and pan fry in a little amount of olive oil over medium high heat.  Brown chicken on each side.
  5. Place chicken flat in baking dish. Cover the chicken breasts with marinara sauce and cover in shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  6. Place in oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
  7. Remove and serve.

Serves 4

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • ½ Yellow Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 32 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz can Tomato Puree or Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Basil or 2 Tbsp dried Basil
  • 2 Tbsp dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Mince garlic and finely chop yellow onion
  2. Add garlic and onion to medium high saucepan with 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Cook until aromatic, about 3 – 6 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 3 egg yolk, well beaten
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ Cups Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Egg Whites, beaten till stiff
  • 1 container fresh Blueberries

Directions

  1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Mix together egg yolks, melted butter, milk and vanilla extract. Build a well in the dry ingredients to pour the wet ingredients into. Whisk together wet and dry ingredients gently, a few lumps are ok.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the egg mixture gently.
  4. Add ½ cup of batter to a waffle iron, drop 8-10 blueberries into the batter, and close the waffle iron.
  5. Remove the waffle after about 5 minutes, when golden brown.
  6. Serve with fresh blueberries and orange maple syrup.

Orange Maple Syrup (Optional)

  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup
  • Juice from ½ an Orange
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Mix all ingredients in a Saucepan. Heat on low heat for 10 minutes.

Black PeppercornsBlack pepper – Piper nigrum, regarded as the king of all spices, is probably the oldest and also the most in-demand spice all over the world. It belongs to perennial family, twining and climbing vine native to the region of Indian Malabar Coast. This fiercely pungent seasoning is formed from its dried berries.

History

In early historic period, black pepper was cultivated widely in the tropical regions of South-east Asia, where it evolved into a primary item of overland commerce between Europe and India. It started to be a channel of exchange between the two. During the Middle-Ages, the Genoese and the Venetian was crowned the primary distributors, their own virtual monopoly on the trade serving to start the quest for an eastern-sea route.

The name ‘pepper’ derives from the Sanskrit term ‘pippali’ which means berry. Indigenous to India, pepper has played a key role all through the history and has become a prized spice for thousands of years. Since ancient Greece, pepper has held high-prestige that it wasn’t only used as a spice but also as a currency exchange. It was utilized to both pay tribute to the Gods and also to pay ransoms and taxes. During the fall of Rome, the invaded barbarians were privileged by being given pepper. Moreover, during Middle Ages the wealth of a person was often assessed by his stockpile of black pepper.

Black pepperis cultivated in the southern part of India since over 2000 years. It has always been very much valued worldwide.Following, Alexander the Great had fought upon Central Asian countries, and even arrived at India (4-th century B.C), new trading sea routes were being established that brought black pepper into the Western part of World for the first time. Within short span of time, pepper’s increasing popularity made it a most significant item of trade. Quickly, Arabic merchants set up a pepper monopoly and moved the spice through the spice route via the Arab-peninsular and Egypt to their Western European customers, to whom they denied any information about the exact origin of pepper.

Pepper evolved into a major spice that accelerated most of the spice trade. This not just ended in discovery of many lands, but also to the growth and development of important merchant towns in Europe and other Middle East countries. It is one of the earliest seasonings known these days.

Pepper as a medicine

Similar to all eastern seasonings, pepper was historically used both a spice and medicine as well. Black peppercorns are employed in treatment options like Siddha, Ayurveda and Unani medication in India. The Syriac Book of Medicines suggests pepper (or simply long-pepper) for such ailments as bowel irregularity, diarrhea, ear-ache, gangrene, cardiovascular disease, hernia, acid reflux, insect bites, sleeping disorders, joint pain, liver complications, sunburn, dental problems, and toothaches. Several resources from the 5th century onward also suggest pepper to help remedy eye problems, often by using salves made out of pepper applied on to the eye. But there isn’t any medical eveidence avialble at present.

Today, the Jalapeno is one of the most commonly used and consumed peppers. Not only is it used as a garnish or a topping, but it is also used to make powders, and used for several recipes which are popular in the US and in other areas around the world.

History

The use of the Jalapeno dates back as far as the Aztecs, who were known to smoke the chiles. Since they are so thick, and have such a fleshy skin, the Jalapeno cannot be dried to preserve, as it will rot after sitting out for a couple of days.

The Jalapeno is one of the most commonly grown chiles in Mexico, and today it is one of the most commonly used and grown in the US as well. The name is taken from the term Jalapa, which is the capital of Veracruz, Mexico. The size of these chiles range anywhere from 2 to 2.5 inches in length, and are about 1 inch around.

Uses

As it is one of the most versatile chile peppers, there are several different uses for the Jalapeno in different cuisines, for various different regions around the world, not only in Mexico and in the US. It can be roasted, pickled, filled, or stuffed, making a wide range of culinary options. The Jalapeno can also be diced and used in a salsa of some sort, or can be used in the pickled form as a condiment for different foods and garnishes.

The Jalapeno pepper is sometimes used fresh in the chile pepper form. Then can be store bought and refrigerated for a few days (without going bad or rotting). Many people eat the chile raw in this manner, while others will cut it, and use it as a topping for other foods.

Another use for the Jalapeno is to make it in to a powder substance. It is not very useful in many recipes, and does not add much flavor or taste, but it is a great option if you are looking to add some heat to the meals you are preparing. Whether you want to add spice, or whether you do not have access to a fresh chile, you can use the powder to add some heat to whatever meals you are making.

The Jalapeno can also be used whole (chipotle). They are generally dried out and then smoked, and you can purchase them in this form in supermarkets. When prepared in this manner it is best served as a heat additive (in things like rice, beans, or even on any meats you prepare)

A final use for the Jalapeno is en Escabeche (canned or jarred). The chile is pickled and it is then used to create a liquid substance in order to add as a garnish, or to add some heat to any foods you are making. There are recipes you can use, or you can purchase it directly at an Ethnic market.

Regardless of the levels of heat you want, any of these forms will add differing levels of heat, depending on how the Jalapeno is prepared and served.

Chili peppers, which are used to create Chili Powder, originated in the Americas after Columbus made his voyage (Columbian Exchange), and the peppers have been used in many dishes for cooking, as well as being used as a medicinal herb.

History

Chili peppers (used to make Chili Powder), have been part of the diet since around 7500 BC. It was one of the first cultivated crops in S. America, and has been used in many dishes since then. Christopher Columbus was the first European to contact them, and gave them the name “pepper” due to the spicy hot taste. Chilies were also used for their medicinal effects and curing certain conditions, which was first documented around 1494.

Although chilis were first used in the South and Latin American countries, they quickly spread due to trade (after Columbus discovered them), and made their way in to cuisines for Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, and other Asian cultures. Depending on where the chilis are cultivated and where they are grown, the intensity of these peppers is going to vary; and, when made in to the Chili Powder form, they are even stronger and hotter in intensity, due to the fact that the seeds (the hottest part of the pepper) are used to create the chili powders used in different cuisines.

Culinary & Other Uses for Chili Powder

There are several different cuisines which use the Chili Powder ingredient, and include it in different dishes in their culture. Dried chilis are often converted in to the Chili Powder which is used quite often, due to the accessibility, and due to the fact that it is a bit hotter than some of the peppers themselves. The chili is prominent in many Latin, South, and Central American dishes, but it does find its way in to other cuisines as well. When used for cooking, Chili Powder is usually used as a garnish, as you can control the amount to be used; if added to a dish, it is usually used sparingly, due to the fact that it is extremely hot.

In addition to culinary uses, there are also other uses for the chili and Chili Powder. Some of these uses include:

  • medicinal (capsaicin is a safe and effective topical agent for arthritis, diabetic patients, treating herpes, and can even be used to treat headaches)
  • psychological (phsychologists claim that eating this food allows individuals to experience extreme feelings, without having any harmful effects to the body)
  • used in sprays (for defense mechanisms such as pepper sprays);
  • used to protect and defend crops (against elephants and other possible animals or threats).

Although it is mainly used in culinary dishes (whether as a garnish, or used in foods), there are also other uses for the chili. So, regardless of what you use Chili Powder, or how often you use it, there are various ways in which chili can be utilized.