Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.
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Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe: Breakfast All Day
Quote of the Month...
"I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food."
Questions and answers...
Q: Online I purchased a large chile ristra from a vendor in Hatch, NM. I had it sprayed so it would be ornamental and not to be consumed. It has hung in my kitchen and I love it. When I dust it seeds fall from it and I worry about my grandkids finding a stray one. Do you know the best way to wash or clean this beautiful ristra? Thank you. JW
A: We have covered cleaning ristras on the Chiles Q&A Page. If you can't hold the ristra over a sink, perhaps before you begin cleaning it you could spread out some newspaper or a torn-open paper bag to catch any seeds that might fall.
Q: Hi, Can I substitute juniper berries for ground sumac? Or is there another substitution for ground sumac I could use? I am making a dressing for a Middle Eastern dish. Thanks, PV
A: I suppose juniper berries might provide the sour taste that sumac presents. In her book Spices, Manisha Gambhir Harkins suggests using caraway instead of sumac. Although the flavors are different, she points out, caraway is also a classic Middle Eastern spice. She suggests adding the seeds to the oil when beginning a recipe.
Q: What is the difference between spices and herbs. At age almost 60, I am learning to cook. YEA!! MT
A: Congratulations! Cooking is a rewarding endeavor. Generally speaking, spices are fruits or seeds, or in the case of cinnamon--bark, of plants while herbs are leaves. Please see our "Articles" list for information on individual herbs and spices to learn more.