Star Anise (Illicium Verum) is a star shaped fruit from an Evergreen Tree that is native to China. These trees can bear fruit for over a century. The tree bears yellow flower that ripens into a brown star shaped spice. The Star Anise seeds are not as aromatic and flavorful as the pod. Star Anise is an important spice in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking and is an essential ingredient in the Chinese five spice powder. Star Anise is not the same as Anise Seed. Both Star Anise and Anise Seed share an essential oil called Anethole (Licorice Taste) which is why these spices have a similar flavor. Star Anise has more of a robust flavor than the Anise Seed. Star Anise is rusty brown, star shaped ranging from 1" to 1-1/2" wide.
Use Star Anise in barbecued or roasted chicken, poached fish or shellfish, light soups based on clear broth, rice pudding, steamed cabbage and braised leeks. For a spicy sweet flavor add a star inside the cavity of a whole chicken or duck before roasting.
Dried Star Anise.
Star anise can be added whole to a recipe or ground. To grind, use a spice mill or food processor. When added whole, the star may be removed or used as a garnish after the cooking period.
Cardamom (Elettaria Cardamomum) is native to India and is an often used spice in many dishes from South Asia. Fancy Green Cardamom Pods are about 1/2" long and have a fresh green color and pungent, aromatic flavor. Chewing on Cardamom Pods can calm an upset stomach while sweetening the breath. Each pod contains about 20 aromatic seeds. There are Brown, White and Green Cardamom Pods. The green is most common and the white pods are simply bleached green pods. The brown pods are not true Cardamom, but come from a related variety. For best results, buy whole Green Cardamom and remove seeds just before using.
Cardamom mixed with ginger, cloves and cinnamon is great in rice pudding, black tea and even in hot chocolate. The slightly spicy flavor of Cardamom also mixes well into traditional coffee cake recipes. It is also a great spice for pickling.
Ready to use. Just add to baked goods or curry blend recipes. Place in cheese cloth bag for tea infusions.
Toast or grind sesame seeds or add directly to your recipe. To toast, heat a frying pan or skillet on high, add seeds and stir occasionally. Watch seeds closely. When the seeds release a toasted nutty fragrance, remove from pan or skillet (about 3-5 minutes).
One taste of a dish prepared with this blend, and you'll understand how all the "Magic" got started! Chef Paul's now world-famous Blackened Redfish Magic captures the essence of Southern Louisiana cuisine and works wonders on any kind of fish, no matter how it's prepared! For a taste you won't forget, try sprinkling it on shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster, catfish, etc. Fantastic in your gumbos, soups, sauces, and dressings. (To use, simply substitute for salt, pepper, and other herbs & spices in your recipe.)
Pickling Spice is a blend of herbs and spices used for seasoning in various foods. It is most frequently used in concert with vinegar to pickle cucumbers.
Used to pickle cucumbers this blend also adds complex flavor to braised meats, stews, beans and rice dishes.
Allspice is very versatile. It can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. It is often used to season poultry, squash and desserts. The slight peppery undertones of Allspice make it an obvious choice to mix with fresh ground pepper.
Allspice was introduced to Europe by the Spanish who brought it back from the New World. Now Allspice is an important seasoning in cuisines across the globe. The name Allspice describes the flavor of this berry
Five Spice Powder is a blend of traditional Oriental spices used in Chinese cooking. Five Spice Powder includes a blend of Star Anise, Red or Black Peppercorns, Cassia (A.K.A. Cinnamon), Fennel and Clove. The blending of these spices offers a sweet, savory, and pungent flavor. This spice blend should be cooked for a relatively long amount of time in order to bring out the complex flavors. In ancient Chinese lore, the universe is composed of five elements wood, metal, water, fir and earth. The ingredients of Five Spice Powder represent the five elements of the earth, creating a harmonious blend. Just as the elements of the universe were carefully balanced, so too did the elements of civil life have to be harmonized. In the preparation of food especially, the proper fivefold relationships had to be created and maintained.
A staple in Chinese Kitchens, use it in sauces, marinades and rubs for seafood, pork and poultry. Rub on chicken or duck before roasting to add a spicy-sweet flavor.
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of summer herbs that are common to southern France. The hot temperature of southern France in late summer is ideal for growing these herbs, that include Thyme, Blue Lavender Flowers, Rosemary, Majoram, Fennel Seed, Savory, & Basil.
Herbs de Provence is a flavorful addition to dishes from the Mediterranean region in addition to French cuisines. Use in stews with baked tomatores or roast chicken, apply before grilling or baking to kabobs, chicken and white fish.