Spice - more is not always better

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Spice - more is not always better

Postby Bill Spohn » Tue May 22, 2012 5:34 pm

There are some spices and herbs that are best used to add a subtle hint of taste/smell to a dish - the grace notes, rather than becoming the main focus, because they easily become overbearing if you add just a soupcon too much.

Among the additives that I find one needs a moderated touch with are:

Cinnamon

Cloves

Saffron

Tarragon

Coffee

Almond extract

Vanilla (especially in non-dessert applications)

Any others?
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Doug Surplus » Tue May 22, 2012 6:00 pm

Cilantro!
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Bill Spohn » Tue May 22, 2012 7:34 pm

Funny, but I guess tolerances for cilantro vary. I recently did a dish where my salad was comprised solely of cilantro and flat leaf parsley, tossed with EVOO, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Not too strong at all.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Jenise » Tue May 22, 2012 7:44 pm

Bill, I suspect this is one of those beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder things to some degree. That is, I agree with your list but would take exception to tarragon. I love it and see almost no point in using it unless it's going to be a star player. It enhances the match with a good cold sauvignon blanc, too.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Bill Spohn » Tue May 22, 2012 7:48 pm

I love it too, but I do believe that it can easily become the major flavour if too much is used.

I love spicing things so that you know there is something in there, but you can't quite put a name to what it is. (Not always, but sometimes)
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Howie Hart » Tue May 22, 2012 8:06 pm

Cayenne, oregano
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Fred Sipe » Tue May 22, 2012 8:06 pm

Jenise wrote:I love it and see almost no point in using it unless it's going to be a star player. It enhances the match with a good cold sauvignon blanc, too.


Mmm... flavoring an orange juice / wine reduction finished with butter on seared scallops...
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Fred Sipe » Tue May 22, 2012 8:13 pm

Sage. Love it, especially with browned butter. But, too much in a stuffing or whatever...
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Rahsaan » Tue May 22, 2012 9:01 pm

Juniper berries.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Robin Garr » Tue May 22, 2012 9:04 pm

Cumin. Love a little, but a lot of it dominates.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby John Treder » Tue May 22, 2012 9:52 pm

Yup. Many things are in the "enough is just right, too much is too much" group. Smoke comes instantly to my mind.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue May 22, 2012 10:12 pm

Yes, Juniper berries, rosemary, oregano and star anise can all be (easily) used in excess for my taste. Raw onion and garlic are two other seasonings that can be used in excess. And any amount of "truffle oil" is too much for me. :D

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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Tue May 22, 2012 10:14 pm

Cumin
Cilantro
Rosemary
Saffron
Nutmeg
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue May 22, 2012 11:11 pm

Any hot spice or sauce; guess it's just a function of old age!
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Jenise » Wed May 23, 2012 9:02 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:I love it too, but I do believe that it can easily become the major flavour if too much is used.

I love spicing things so that you know there is something in there, but you can't quite put a name to what it is. (Not always, but sometimes)


You and I disagree on this. I think it's perfectly okay for anything I like to be a major flavor. I just don't usually want it to be the only flavor in a way that's simplistically singular. Most 'major flavors' are best when fleshed out with layers of supporting nuances.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu May 24, 2012 1:35 pm

Asafoetida has to top the list.

Would salt count in this category?

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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Susan B » Thu May 24, 2012 2:11 pm

I am curious about saffron hitting several people's list. I can not think of any instance of too much saffron in a dish, perhaps because of the cost. Any examples of such dishes?
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Ted Richards » Thu May 24, 2012 3:01 pm

Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets :lol:

OK, I know they're really fruits, not spices :D
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat May 26, 2012 1:25 am

Paul Winalski wrote:Would salt count in this category?

-Paul W.



Yes! And so many people use far too much!
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Jenise » Sat May 26, 2012 9:45 am

Susan B wrote:I am curious about saffron hitting several people's list. I can not think of any instance of too much saffron in a dish, perhaps because of the cost. Any examples of such dishes?


In my case, the problem is probably--and I'm just realizing this as I type it--that I don't like saffron all that much so what to one person would be a good, strong saffron flavor is more saffron than I would prefer.
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat May 26, 2012 1:41 pm

Jenise wrote:
Susan B wrote:I am curious about saffron hitting several people's list. I can not think of any instance of too much saffron in a dish, perhaps because of the cost. Any examples of such dishes?


In my case, the problem is probably--and I'm just realizing this as I type it--that I don't like saffron all that much so what to one person would be a good, strong saffron flavor is more saffron than I would prefer.


And I think that equally explains the difference in tolerance with other strong flavourings like tarragon, which some people do not like in higher concentrations (I'm OK with reasonably high, but I know some who are not).
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Jenise » Sat May 26, 2012 3:02 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
Jenise wrote:
Susan B wrote:I am curious about saffron hitting several people's list. I can not think of any instance of too much saffron in a dish, perhaps because of the cost. Any examples of such dishes?


In my case, the problem is probably--and I'm just realizing this as I type it--that I don't like saffron all that much so what to one person would be a good, strong saffron flavor is more saffron than I would prefer.


And I think that equally explains the difference in tolerance with other strong flavourings like tarragon, which some people do not like in higher concentrations (I'm OK with reasonably high, but I know some who are not).


Indeed it does. Cumin, especially if alone and not tempered with coriander or something else, will also tire my taste buds quickly--most Merguez sausage, in fact, would qualify. I don't hate it, but I never seek it out. In the green herb department, though, the more the better. Wait until you taste the potato salad I made to go with those lobsters tomorrow. :)
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat May 26, 2012 4:11 pm

Jenise wrote: Wait until you taste the potato salad I made to go with those lobsters tomorrow. :)


Drooling just thinking about!

Think I'll upgrade my main course bottle to something outside of Jugoslavia.....
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Re: Spice - more is not always better

Postby Jenise » Sat May 26, 2012 7:59 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
Jenise wrote: Wait until you taste the potato salad I made to go with those lobsters tomorrow. :)


Drooling just thinking about!

Think I'll upgrade my main course bottle to something outside of Jugoslavia.....


Go big. :)
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