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Kitchen Tips and flavour profiles (ECK spice blends)

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Kitchen Tips and Flavour Profiles is an article that has been requested many times behind the scenes. One if the biggest issues that many people have on the Keto diet, is just not knowing how to put a meal together. What spices to use and how to achieve that taste they’re looking for. We’re hoping that our Kitchen Tips and Flavour Profiles will help you put together a great meal in your home kitchen tonight.

The ultimate dish is said to have all the taste components in one dish: salty (umami) sweet, bitter salty and sour. As if that’s not intimidating enough, add in temperature, texture, acidity, spice. It’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re new to the kitchen. Our Kitchen Tips and Flavour Profiles article can help you achieve the flavours you want.

Here are some cooking components that can help along any dish:

My most favourite- Red Spirit Santuko Knife
My most favourite- Red Spirit Santuko Knife

A sharp quality knife is probably one of the most important tools to have in the kitchen. Different knives excel at different tasks and choosing the right one can make your work on the kitchen so much easier.

Our favourites are an 8” chefs for general knife work like chopping and dicing, a paring knife for peeling and fine knife work and a santuko (that’s the Asian looking one with the indents on the blade) knife for meat, fish and veggies.

Knife technique The Claw
Knife technique The Claw

Claw Hold – Hold your knife in your hand lie a claw with your fingers tucked in under your hand. Use your knuckle as a guide for the knife, while keeping it far away from those tucked in fingers.

Kitchen towel trick -wet a kitchen or paper towel and place it under your cutting board if you’re learning knife skills. It will keep your cutting board from moving around and might save your fingers.

Pastry Dough Scraper
Pastry Dough Scraper

Dough scrapers are your friend. Use them to quickly transfer ingredients for your cutting board to you pot.

Never overcrowd your pan or cooking dish. It will take much longer to cook and it also will result in food not getting crispy. Most foods release moisture when they cook, if your food is all squished together in the pan it will steam instead of brown. Cook in several batches instead of trying to cook all at once.

Mise en Place
Mise en Place

Read your recipe in advance and then prep and organize. Timing is often crucial in recipes and if you have to stop everything to cut an ingredient while cooking, it may impact your final results. In the cooking world this is known as ‘Mise en Place’ which is French for everything in it’s place. Have everything chopped, washed, and ready to roll before you turn on your stove.

Use quality ingredients. You get out of a dish what you put in, so buy the best quality ingredients that you can.

Treat your meats with respect. Take them out of the fridge to bring them to room temperature before cooking. Dry/blot them with a paper towel to help them brown and always, let your meats rest after cooking. In general, Steak sized cuts rest for 3-5 minutes, Roast sized cuts should be rested 10-20 minutes. Large turkeys can rest for 30-90 minutes.  Don’t worry about it getting cold, especially if you’re serving your meat with a hot sauce or gravy. Resting allows the juice to return to the core of the meat, instead of spilling out onto your cutting board.

Add acid to perk up a dish! A splash of cider vinegar, wine or lemon juice can help to intensify flavour in many dishes. Don’t forget to allow it to cook for a few minutes after adding this ingredient to let it incorporate and also burn off any alcohol.

Preheat your plates in the oven. Cold plates will chill your perfectly cooked meals, keep food hot by warming your plates in the oven (on low) ahead of time.

Browning/ searing meat – people underestimate the importance of browning that meat as a first step. In the cooking world, Brown means flavour. So before you put that roast in the oven, give it a dark and dirty sear on the stove top first. Make sure the meat has been patted dry with paper towels etc. Before you do. Wet meat will not sear. Also, keep in mind That your non-stick costing also prevents your dish from browning properly. For a proper brown, choose a pan with no non-stick coating.

Pink Himalayan Salt
Pink Himalayan Salt

Salting – salting not only helps to decrease the bitterness of a dish, it also helps the other ingredients play a starring role in your meal. You don’t want the dish to taste salty, more the other flavours to shine through.

If you add too much salt, you can dilute the liquid, add a potato to soak up the excess salt or add more sweet or other ingredients until your dish is balanced again.  * in our WOL, pink Himalayan (or Sea salt) are recommended. These two varieties will provide more minerals and are not as processed as table salt. Pink Himalayan salt is the only salt known to lower blood pressure.

Deglazing– should be done to get all those tasty burnt bits off the bottom of the pan. If brown means flavour, why leave the best of it stuck on to your pan’s bottom. A few dashes of acid best suit this task. The acid acts as a flavour enhancer for the dish, especially if you’ve added salt and it still needs an extra boost. Vinegar, wine or lemon to bring out this extra layer of flavour and incorporate all those caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan as well.

Herbs and Spices, what’s the diff?

Fresh herbs from our garden
Fresh herbs from our garden
Fresh Herbs

Herbs are the green leaves of the plant, while spices come from the roots, bark, and seeds. Some plants have both, for example cilantro comes from the leaves of the cilantro plant and coriander comes from the seeds of that same plant.

Wakening the spices- spices should be added directly to the oil (or toasted on a dry pan) and heat of the pan, instead of being added to other food ingredients. Push everything else back to the pan edges and let this flavours bloom.

When working with Herbs, the dry version will be more intense flavour than fresh herbs, because of this, dry herbs can be added at the beginning of cooking, but save fresh herbs until the dish is almost cooked and add them then. Roll dry herbs between your hands to waken them before adding to a dish. Roll fresh herbs into a cigar shaped cylinder and cut them into small ribbons. We add them to the pot after we have turn off the heat. Stir them in, wait 5 minutes and then serve.

Creating Flavour Profiles

One of the biggest frustrations of being a ketogenic home cook is learning about all the ugly ingredients they hide in commercially prepared spice mixes. For this reason, we recommend you learn to make your own flavour profiles using these basic spice combination recipes, that way you control what goes in and there are no nasty surprises.

These spice mixes are based on our own personal tastes. Feel free to fool around with the measurements to find the right level of seasoning for you and your family.

Mexican spice mix

2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1⁄2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1⁄4 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
pinch cinnamon
pinch cloves

Italian spice mix

1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp sage
11/2 tsp Garlic
1 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes

French Herbs de Provence mix

1/2 tsp thyme
¼ cup marjoram
2 Tbsp rosemary
2 Tbsp savory
1 tsp lavender
1 tsp orange zest, dried
1 tsp fennel

Jamaican jerk spice mix

1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
4 tsp swerve, confectioners
1 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp garlic
1 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
1 1⁄2 tsp thyme
1 1⁄2 tsp dry mustard
1⁄8 tsp ground cloves

Chinese Five spice mix

2 Tbsp ground anise
1 Tbsp whole Szechuan peppercorn
1Tbsp ground fennel)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

BBQ dry spice/rub mix

1 Tbsp garlic
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp granulated onion
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp swerve, confectioners
2 Tbsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper

Curry mix

2 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Cajun spice mix

3 Tbsp smoked paprika.
3 Tbsp Himalayan salt or sea salt.
¼ cup garlic.
1 Tbsp pepper.
2 Tbsp onion powder.
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp oregano.
1 tsp thyme.

Lemon pepper mix

Zest from lemon
6 Tbsp Pepper
6 Tbsp pink Himalayan salt

Taco seasoning mix

1/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 tsp pepper

Garam Masala mix

1 Tbsp cardamom
1/2 cloves
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp chili
6 curry leaves or tsp curry powder

Pumpkin spice mix

3 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
Pinch salt

Are you loving our Kitchen Tips and Flavour Profiles article? Check out guide to keto friendly sweeteners.

You can find the article here.

That’s it for this time! Thanks for joining me for another East Coast Keto Life Lesson.  There’s still a lot to learn and we’re glad you’re along for the ride!

Keep Keto-ing with one foot in front of the other. Keto seconds lead to keto moments, Keto moments lead to keto days. Keto days will take you on a successful keto journey life time. We’ll meet you THERE!!

Our before and after
Our before and after

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