I've received feedback from reader emails and folks who have attended past workshops regarding some of the terms I use on PGEW. From certain herbs & spices to the abbreviations I use, some folks have found a few things in PGEW land to be a bit... mysterious. So, I figured it was high time to unravel these mysteries and define some of these terms quickly & simply so that even the most novice cook can get into the kitchen and start giving some of these recipes a try.  

NOTE: This is not a complete list of ingredients that may show up in my recipes, as I like to experiment with just about anything I can afford to get my hands on.  But for now, here is a very brief list of terms & ingredients that come up frequently in my posts.

Measurement Abbreviations:

T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon
c = cup
lb(s) = pound(s)
oz(s) = ounce(s)
dz = dozen


Frequently Used Herbs & Spices:

Cayenne pepper:
Hot, spicy, and pungent ground red pepper that gives both zest & heat to almost any dish.  It's extremely versatile, but not for the faint of heart!  Be careful not to get it confused with your paprika!

Sharp, sweet "spice" that actually comes from the bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree.  Used both in sticks and ground, it's not only great in its most common use as a way to enhance sweet dishes, it adds a wonderful depth to more exotic dishes like curries & different stews.

Aromatic, pungent spice commonly used in Latin American, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.  It has a deliciously smoky quality that instantly makes any dish just a little more mysterious.

Used mainly in its ground form, nutmeg lends a warm, spicy, and (would you believe it?) nutty aroma and flavor to both sweet and savory dishes.

This pungent and aromatic herb is also known as marjoram in some instances.  There are slight differences in the flavor and aroma of Mexican vs. Mediterranean oregano, but either way they enhance many different dishes and sauces, particularly those that are tomato based.

A ground blend of mainly mild, sweet peppers that not only offers a lovely flavor to plenty of savory dishes from a variety of different cuisines, but also adds a beautiful color to soups and stews.  Dusted lightly on a finished dish, it's also a lovely garnish!

A fragrant, aromatic herb that grows practically everywhere and is used in both fresh & dried forms.  It usually goes great with most meats and will always make a stew extra special.  In its fresh form, it's also a very beautiful garnish!

An aromatic herb with the slightest hint of licorice/anise-like flavor that is especially good for chicken, fish and egg dishes.

An absolute essential in Poor Girl's kitchen!  This herb is very versatile and works wonderfully in poultry, meat, and fish dishes, not to mention soups and stews.  Flavors vary from slightly minty to wonderfully lemony, depending on which variety you pick up.


Frequently Used Grains:

Some folks consider it a pasta, but it's really just tiny grains of semolina flour.  Wonderful in soups, stews, or as a base for some super-creative salads.  Wonderful in place of rice or pasta as a side dish, too.

A high-protein wheat grain, some research says that it can actually be tolerated by some folks with wheat allergies (still, if you have celiac disease or other wheat intolerance, please refrain from using this grain and use brown rice as a substitute).  It has great chewy texture and subtle nutty flavor that goes quite well in a variety of dishes.

Ahhh, the Mother Grain!  Quinoa is swiftly becoming the darling grain of many kitchens around the world.  Super high in protein and fiber, this ancient grain is positively packed with nutrition!  It is extremely versatile and can be used in anything from salads, sides, risottos, breakfast bowls, you name it!

For basic cooking methods for these grains, simply go to the Basic Recipes & Methods section of PGEW Basics.  Enjoy!


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