My apologies to all the guys who came here looking for women in clothing that accentuates their ample bosom.
Scroll down to the bottom and maybe I’ll hook you up with a little something. Maybe.
When it comes to creating magic in the kitchen I tend to spice things up a bit. I’m not discussing any magic that may or may not be created anywhere else in the house. And no, I’m not discussing food as it relates to “social” activities. Sorry.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a world class chef or if you rock a hot plate like no other, there are a few things that you always want at your fingertips. I guess you would call them your “go to” items. I sometimes cook at my friends places and I’ve been known to bring a few of these items with me, just in case I needed them.
One quick word about sauces and marinades before we begin. I’m all about both but the reality is that a large percentage of bottled sauces are loaded with calories. You should check the labels before you start slathering them on your food.
If some the products you like seem to have more calories than you would like, see if there are any alternatives. You might be surprised to see the difference between brands. Take BBQ sauce for example.
Bullseye is a major brand but many of their sauces are in the 60-70 calorie range for a 2 Tbsp. portion. Sweet Baby Ray’s (a personal fav) has 70. I scanned the shelves at my local market one day and found Guy Fieri’s Pacific Rim BBQ sauce which has only 35 for the same 2 Tbsp. serving and is loaded with flavah.
Let’s look at a few of my fav’s and how to use them.
A clove of garlic averages 4 calories which makes it a great way to add flavor to guacamole, salsa, soups, potatoes or roasts. It’s relatively inexpensive but that doesn’t mean you should load up on it. When adding garlic take into consideration who you will be around later and whether or not they may be in close physical proximity to you.
I love cooking Latin and the smoky flavor of cumin is a perfect accent to my favorite dishes. I use it in my Cuban black beans, guacamole, some soups as well as in potato dishes and it’s always in the mix when I make a rub for chicken or pork. If you want to make killer carnitas you definitely need to make sure you rub the pork with some cumin.
I should probably tell you that I have a guacamole addiction which means my use of lime juice may be higher than most people. I use it in my homemade mango salsa, guac, Cuban black beans and albondigas soup. Anytime I need a splash of citrus I know I have a bottle on hand in case there are no fresh limes in the kitchen. It’s also great to use in a marinade for chicken and fish.
Living in Southern California I’m spoiled with the abundance of Latin markets and cilantro is extremely inexpensive. I can generally pick up four or five bunches for a dollar. A quarter cup has one calorie so again it’s something with a lot of flavor that won’t add to your girth.
Use it on chicken sandwiches and as a garnish on any number of things from soups to rice to salads. The leaves are what you want although you can eat the stems as well. A little cilantro can go a long way so if you don’t use it often, start with a little and add more.
No disrespect to yellow, brown and white onions, but red onions have a sweetness and a flavor that other onions don’t have. I do use yellow and brown onions for some dishes but a little diced red onion adds flavor and crunch to whatever you’re cooking. Plus, who doesn’t like a thin slice of red onion on a sandwich or burger?
Sea salt/Kosher salt
Personally I prefer sea salt because it has minerals that kosher salt doesn’t have but honestly either one will work. I like the coarseness of sea salt and kosher salt over old school table salt and to me it has a better flavor. I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking but there are some things that are better with salt.
Lawry’s seasoned salt with black pepper
I like natural spiciness and this seasoned salt with black pepper is a great rub for beef and pork. One thing to keep in mind is that even though it has a kick from the pepper, this is still seasoned salt. Remember that as you add your ingredients to whatever you’re making.
I could buy this by the gallon. Hands down this is my absolute favorite marinade and I generally dice the breast up and marinate it but often use whole breasts with some fresh cilantro. I find that the chicken tastes better if you dice it and let it sit in the marinade overnight.
I generally cook it in my electric skillet and use it on tortas, tacos, tostadas and in a bowl with lime rice and my Cuban black beans. If you forget to marinate, relax. Stick it in a bowl for 15-20 minutes and it will be tasty.
Mojo is a traditional marinade of spices and citrus and is easily a favorite of my teenage daughter. The brand I love most is Goya and you can find it in most grocery stores. It’s usually located with the Mexican or International foods and not with the bbq sauces and marinades. It’s 10 calories for 2 Tbsp which is nothing compared to the flavor you’ll get.
At only five calories for a tablespoon it’s a ton of flavor for next to no calories. I often make a salad with diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, peppers and whatever else is around. I add a shake of sea salt and a couple shakes of balsamic and I have a rockin side dish.
Now that you’ve seen my list I want you to tell me what you would make with any of my favorites. Did I miss one or two of your go-to items? Tell me what they are. I love finding new tips and tricks.
*British food writer, cookbook author and TV cooking hostess
In case you were wondering, the slider photo includes (L-R) Tyler Florence, Spike Mendelsohn, Guy Fieri, Nigella Lawson and Michael Symon