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Marinades: A Way to Create Your Own Signature Dishes

by Sandra Bowens

A survey of this site revealed 78% of respondents choose marinades when preparing food for the grill. Don't just stop at grilling, though. Marinades enhance roasted meats, baked or broiled fish and vegetables prepared every way. Look here for a bit of creative inspiration along with do's and don't's for marinating your favorite foods.

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The Simple, Essential Herb Garden

by Sandra Bowens

Spring into action with an herb garden of your very own. We offer the basic information to get you started, ideas for what to grow plus hints for tending and harvesting what you sow. Herb gardening is fun, it's rewarding, and above all, it's easy. Now get growing! 


The cookbook is now available for purchase! To find out more about it as well as take advantage of special website pricing ($8 off--use discount code U9KGY74Z) visit the Spiced Right e-store at CreateSpace.

We got a glowing review! Check it out at the Chef Talk website.


Newsflash: 2013 Flavor Forecast

Each year, spice giant McCormick and Company issues a Flavor Forecast that tells us what exciting flavors and trends we can anticipate as the year unfolds. For 2013 traditional flavors collide with innovation, they report. Familiar tastes are combined with unusual ingredients to make up the five trends featured.    
Photo courtesy of 

A Book Review: Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD

by Sandra Bowens

These days we have nanotechnology and robots performing surgery yet, on the other end of the spectrum, some scientists are devoting themselves to something far more basic: the herbs and spices that have been around as long as we have. Healing Spices bundles up all that information and hands it to us in an easy to read, and understand, book.

All About Sumac

by Sandra Bowens

As the world becomes a smaller place our spice shelves deepen. Sumac is one spice you may not have heard of yet but you will definitely want to know it. And try it. Why not add this Za'atar-Tomato Appetizer to your next tapas table?  

The Great Garlic Roasting Experiment

by Sandra Bowens

There may be hundreds of ways to use roasted garlic but is there a single best way to make it? Follow along as we try four different recipes for roasting garlic.  We let you in on the advantages and disadvantages to each method so that you can decide which one works best for you.

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  Have you seen it?  Check out the  Reference Desk

A Pinch Of... has been around for more than ten years now. The site has nearly 175 pages so we created this area to help you find your way around. Find quick links to the pages in which you are most interested along with our favorite stuff, where to buy herbs, metric conversions and more!  

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We have answered so many questions over the years that the list below has grown quite long. Now you can browse the Q&A by the category or subject that interests you the most today.
 The general Q&A bank is below and here
or click to Question Quick Find to see the categories.

Ask a Question                           Click here to see all questions.

New questions are posted each Monday.

Q: I live in an apartment in S. CA. and have a small garden. There are small green caterpillars (aprox. an inch in length) attacking my tomatoes, lavender, watermelon, and lemon thyme. Although, it is not attacking any other plants yet. During my internet research all I keep seeing is information on the hornworm. This green caterpillar has no horns on it. It does have a faint white line down its back and blends very well under the leafs. Is there anything you can recommend to rid this pest without using pesticides? Thank you much. DR
A: You might want to look into "cabbage loopers." The best control for these or hornworms is to simply handpick them off the plants. It's creepy, I know, wear gloves. Be sure to check the undersides of leaves for eggs, too, as that's where both of these creatures like to lay them.
Q: I'm growing my 1st plant ever, basil, in a clay pot. I neglected watering it and the leaves were droopy and I watered it as soon as I noticed it. Then it poured rain the next day and now my plant has dark brown spots on the tops of the leaves. My plant also gets alot of sunlight. The leaves are still a healthy dark green color and smell great. Can me and my guinea pig still eat these leaves? Will these leaves recover or should I pinch them off? It kind looks like they are sunburnt but I also read it could also be that the leaves don't like to get wet? Help please. VP
A: The leaves won't recover but they are still edible. Just pinch them off at the closest leaf pair section on the stems. I would tear off the brown spots just to make them more palatable.
Q: Where can I buy JD Magic seasoning? JW
A: I am not familiar with this brand and it doesn't seem to be available online anywhere. I did find a recipe to make your own at
Q: Hi, Iíve recently bought a potted Greek basil plant from a supermarket which I keep inside on the window ledge. There appears to be little black blobs appearing at the leaf joints usually after watering. These black blobs are moist about the size of a pin head and resemble little blobs of poo. There is no apparent infestation and no degradation of the leaves or anything and to all intents and purposes, the plant looks extremely healthy. Could these blobs be a result of watering? Thanks RMAT
A: I can't imagine that watering a plant could cause these blobs that you describe. This is one of those cases where you would want to take the plant to a Master Gardener office or local nursery where they could help you determine the problem after seeing it in person.
Q: My basil leaves have white squiggly lines on them from columbine leaf borers. Can I eat the leaves fresh? SC
A: The white lines are dead cells so I don't think they would hurt you or anything. However, I would check the leaves thoroughly to make sure all the bugs are gone.
Q: Can I use fresh rosemary stems in bottling olive oil for later use? JL
A: You can use fresh rosemary to flavor olive oil, but you will want to store it in the refrigerator for no more than a week. Botulism is a common worry to flavored oils.
See all Questions           Find questions by subject
Other Foodie Sites: see all links...
Grass Fed Beef
Great meals start with great ingredients. Montana-based La Cense Beef is a company you can count on for great taste.
The Original Orlando
At long last the popular Orlando Vanilla from Mexico is available on the web!
Great Grapeseed Oil
Seasoned dipping oils are only one of the high-quality, all-natural products from Wildtree. Order online or host a tasting party for your friends.
Quaint but Current
Whether you need an ounce or a pound of seasonings, you can get it at the Spice and Tea Exchange. Check the website for a shop in your neighborhood or order online.
Spoons as American Art
Visit the Chester P. Basil website for a wonderful array of wooden tools for the kitchen. You'll find everything from the basic spoon to spreaders and tongs and peppermills.
A Passion for the Fruit
Bring the flavor of Hawaiian passion fruit to your kitchen with the wide variety of tasty treats available from Aunty Lilikoi. Visit the website to see a photo of the coveted Napa Valley Mustard Festival trophy. The Passion Fruit Wasabi Mustard is a real winner.
The End of Clumps
Dry Spice prevents caking and clumping of spices with a tiny canister of silica gel. Keep your spices, and your teas and vitamins, fresher longer. FDA approved for use with food.
Useful Gifts with Style
Sterling silver is always a welcome gift. offers a variety of useful items like salt shakers and peppermills or oil and vinegar sets. Make it even more special with their engraving service. 
The Fine Art of Pasta
Chances are good you have never had pasta as tasty as that from Pappardelle's. A true artisan product that's bursting with the fresh taste of veggies, herbs and even chocolate!

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Books we like...

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs

At last, the answer to the age old question of what goes with what. Thousands of ingredients are listed and cross-referenced making this book part reference, part cookbook.


 Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe

Spice up your life with breakfast anytime of the day. Hundreds of recipes with a vegetarian slant that taste great morning, noon or night.  See's review of this book.  


Simply Vanilla: Recipes for Everyday Use

There is more to this luscious spice than just dessert. Learn the secrets to enhancing all of your dishes with a little something extra.

The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking Here's the latest from chile aficionado Dave DeWitt complete with information for a spicy garden. It covers 100 chiles and offers 85 recipes to put them work.  


  The Herb Gardener: A Guide for All Seasons  Here are the answers to all of your questions arranged season by season. Fully illustrated, this growing guide covers 64 different herbs.


  Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking  Madhur Jaffrey, everybody's favorite Indian chef, shows us how to prepare authentic foods fast.


 The Mistress of Spices: A Novel
An exotic novel that's so much fun! The unpredictable, likable mistress will keep you turning pages until the end when you'll wish for more. See's review of this book.


  Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
These darlings of the blogosphere take on classic desserts in their own quirky style.


  Edible Landscaping  Rosalind Creasy knows all about using food plants to round out your yard. She pioneered the idea 25 years ago. This updated edition includes 300 inspiring photographs.



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