Cardiologist Says “Spice it Up!” Without Raising Your Blood Pressure

 

Spice Up Your Life (Without Raising Your Blood Pressure)

Richard E. Collins, MD
The Cooking Cardiologist®

Ask any great chef, when all else fails….add salt! In America, we accept salt as a spice. Excessive salt causes fluid retention and increases blood pressure. Salt can induce congestive heart failure, swell the ankles and bloat the belly. Most prepared spices have a base of salt. Salt boosts the intensity of flavors. A dash of salt with chocolate is the classic example, boosting the flavors of the chocolate. Prepared spices often have inert ingredients to expand content and have added preservatives as well as flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate. Taking out these ingredients and blending your own herbs can improve heart health without sacrificing taste. According to an ancient Greek proverb…Gobble your food however you might, never eat a dish that is trite.
To reduce expenses, spices can be purchased in bulk and blended according to your taste preference. Remember, spices do die on the shelf, loosing intensities. Always date your blends, keep stored in an airtight container and replace after 3 to 6 months for aromatic spices.
Universal Herb Blend
This herb blend is perfect for pasta dishes, omelets, as herb butter or great for a crust on chicken, fish or pork.
Yield: About 3/4 cup
2 T dried rosemary
2 T dried savory
2 T garlic powder
2 T dried parsley
2 T dried chives
4 t onion powder
4 t dried oregano
Blend all ingredients. Store in an airtight container away from light and heat.
Perfect for:
• Pasta, hot or cold
• Omelets, breads, herb butter, or herb spread
• As an herb crust for chicken, fish or pork. Add 2 tablespoons with 1 ½ cup plain bread crumbs, Blend and coat chicken pieces, fish filets or pork, Bake as usual.
Salt Free Herb Salt
Yield: About 2/3 cup
2 T dried basil
2 T dried parsley
2 T dried marjoram
2 T dried savory
2 t ground rosemary
2 t sweet paprika
2 t onion granules (not powder)
2 t powered milk (aids in shaking and prevents caking)
Mix ingredients. Store in an airtight container away from heat and light. Shake from a wide-holed shaking jar. Sprinkle on steamed vegetables, potatoes or chicken.
Popcorn Seasoning
Yield: About 5 cups
½ cup dried marjoram
½ cup dried thyme
½ cup dried basil
2 cups cheddar cheese powder
1 cup nutritional yeast powder
½ cup garlic powder
In a spice grinder (a clean coffee grinder works well), powder the marjoram, thyme and basil. Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container away from light and heat. Sprinkle lightly on fresh popped popcorn.
Southwest Seasoning
Yield: About ½ cup
2 T chili powder
2 t ground cumin
2 T paprika
1 t dried oregano
1 T dried ground coriander
1 t cayenne pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t black pepper
1 T No Salt® (optional)
The intensity of the heat can be adjusted using more or less cayenne and red pepper flakes. Ideal for creating a southwest bean burger or mix with fat free mayonnaise and cream cheese for a dip. Add the seasoning blend with olive oil for a rub on meats or chicken. Adjust the amount of seasoning to taste preference.
Tagine Seasoning
(Moroccan Spice Blend)
Tagine cooking is a method of blending pungent spices with a slow cooking process…a tagine or tajine cooking vessel with fish, chicken or shrimp. Often the dish is served with couscous. Usually lemon slices are added to the tagine. The spices of nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin crank up the complexity of flavors.
Yield: About 4 ½ cups
1 ½ cups dried cilantro
1 ½ cups dried parsley
1 cup dried mint
3 T dried onion flakes
2 T dried marjoram
1 T ground cumin
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t white pepper (black may be used)
¾ t Cayenne pepper
¼ t ground cloves
¼ t ground cardamom seeds
¼ t ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients, store in an airtight light-free container away from heat. Use 2 to 4 T of the spice blend for cooking.
Cinnamon Spice Topping
Yield: ¾ cup
½ cup Splenda sugar blend
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T cocoa
Combine all ingredients. Sprinkle on warm puddings, oatmeal, custards or sugar cookies.

What Goes with What?

Using Spices and Herbs

Breads

Poppy seed

Anise seed

Thyme

Sesame seed

Caraway

Parsley

Fennel seed

Dill weed

Cheese flavors

Butter flavors

Garlic

Vegetables

Tarragon

Marjoram

Dill

Rosemary

Sage

Anise

Parsley

Garlic

Basil

Oregano

Thyme

Beef

Tarragon

Basil

Pepper

Rosemary

Oregano

Onion

Dill weed

Marjoram

Horseradish

Thyme

Garlic

Southwest

Poultry

Tarragon

Caraway

Thyme

Parsley

Oregano

Paprika

Sage

Basil

Ginger

Rosemary

Bay leaf

Curry

Pork

Rosemary

Mustard

Pepper

Cumin

Fennel seed

Caraway

Thyme

Parsley

Basil

Lamb

Mint

Sage

Caraway

Dill

Marjoram

Curry

Fennel seed

Tarragon

Basil

Rosemary

Soups

Rosemary

Parsley

Oregano

Dill

Sage

Chives

Caraway

Basil

Tarragon

Curry

Bay leaf

Anise

Fish

Marjoram

Basil

Lemon

Tarragon

Thyme

Parsley

Rosemary

Dill

Bay leaf

Sage

Shellfish

Oregano

Thyme

Basil

Dill

Garlic

Tarragon

Marjoram

Turmeric

Eggs

Thyme

Dill

Chives

Garlic

Basil

Parsley

Bay leaf

Rosemary

Oregano

Tarragon

Tofu

Ginger

Soy sauce

Sesame

Onion

Oriental spices

Fruits

Ginger

Cinnamon

Sugar

Honey

Cloves

Nutmeg

Allspice