Spice Up Your Kitchen: 11 All-Star Seasonings Every 4 Hour Chef Needs


You’re tired of the same old thing, right? Yeah, I know Tim Ferriss told us we should eat the same things over and over, but we don’t have to listen.

Here’s the thing, though: you don’t have to be a fancy chef to take something ordinary and make it exquisite. All you need are the right tools.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be showing you how to prepare the same foods different ways. There are recipes for eggs, chicken, veggies, beef, and more just waiting for their time to come. But before we get to those, we need to get your kitchen ready.

The Basics

The star of any “4 hour kitchen”, in my opinion, is going to be your spice rack. Here’s the down low on the ones I think you need immediately.

Pro Tip:
If you only have one tool in your kitchen for seasoning, it should be a spice grinder.

If you’ve never had freshly ground pepper, you haven’t tasted pepper. Get a grinder like this for salt and pepper. For other spices, a mortar and pestle can work really well, or you can get a blade grinder. A small coffee grinder works very well.

Some of the will work fine already in powder form though, so no need to get ridiculous. The really aromatic ones (cinnamon, cloves, etc) are just best freshly ground.

Sea Salt
I prefer to use an iodized sea salt because most of us are iodine deficient or celtic sea salt because it’s less processed. The one everyone’s talking about these days, though, is Himilayan salt.

Veggie Salt
I add Veggie Salt to soups, stews or lentils to add depth of flavor when I don’t have any stock or broth on hand.  I believe there are some equivalent products in the US.

Whole Peppercorns
Any will do, just pop them in a grinder.  Fresh pepper has so much more flavor than pre-ground.

All Purpose Spice Blend
When I don’t have time to think about seasoning, there’s nothing easier than coating some chicken or meat in a pre-blended everyday seasoning and serving it up with some veggies – not the most gourmet meal, but it serves its purpose  (quick and easy!) and still tastes great. Lowrey’s makes a fantastic seasoned salt.

Italian Herb Blend
Pre-blended Italian herbs are great for seasoning chicken, soups, stews, Bolognese sauce, etc.   I buy this blend from Penzey’s because their spices are very high quality, but any blend will do so long as it doesn’t have any added fillers.

Dried Chili Flakes
Sprinkle chili on just about anything to add a bit of kick. I usually buy in bulk and put the chili into a grinder with some sea salt to make a chili salt blend and because I like my dried chili a bit finer than the whole flakes.  You can also make your own custom blends with peppercorns and other spices by putting them directly into a grinder or shaker.  You can get something fancy and make it a staple on your table or just re-use spice grinders that you’ve emptied and washed out.

Garlic Salt
It almost seems like cheating, but that’s OK. We’re all about hacking our lifestyle to make it easier anyway, aren’t we? I use garlic salt on meats, eggs, veggies, and in various rubs. It’s pretty versatile and delicious.

The Clinchers

Cinnamon

Sure, you can put it in your coffee, but have you ever tried it on chicken? I dare you. Toss it into some coconut milk with a curry powder or boil it with your lentils and some salt. Really subtle, but enough to tingle the taste buds!

Cloves

Cloves are really nice in tea, especially with a bit of orange rind in it. Did you know it works extremely well with pork?

Cumin

Eggs, chicken, beef, use it anywhere. Is there any other spice that is like cumin? It goes amazing with most meats and is particularly spectacular in hamburgers. I also like to put it in my lentils or beans while they cook.

Curry

Using curry is one of the simplest ways to really kick up any dish. I’ll show you a bunch of them later on. I use both yellow and red varieties. My favorite use for curry is in a chicken dish that I’ll eat over a bed of shredded cauliflower, or “fake rice”.

By adding any of these spices to the ordinary meals you’re already eating, you’ll be following the principle of keeping it simple, while at the same time creating something pretty different.

We’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite way to spice up your slow-carb meals? Share with us in the comments!

About Jason

Working on my own fitness, I love sharing with you what I find. You might recognize me from Finding My Fitness.

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2 Responses to Spice Up Your Kitchen: 11 All-Star Seasonings Every 4 Hour Chef Needs

  1. cheryl April 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I think it’s easy to make food taste good when you use any form of salt….a lot of your ideas come with lots of salt… not good if you have to avoid salt

    • Laura April 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Hi Cheryl, very true. I do use a considerable amount of salt, but for the most part, I’m consuming little to no packaged goods which would normally made up the brunt of most people’s sodium intake intake in the SAD (Standard-American-Diet). If you can’t or choose not to use any at all, you can certainly bump up the amount of spices you use to make dishes more flavorful. I’ve also recently discovered celtic sea salt, which contains way more minerals than traditional sea salt as the natural minerals haven’t been stripped out during the drying process. It’s very potent so you can use far less. You may also wish to check out this well researched article on salt intake. It’s part 2 of a series of articles. I’m looking forward to part 3 that will discuss the contradictory evidence regarding the dietary guidelines for salt reduction, as well as the potential risks of consuming a diet too low in salt. http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-the-human-need-for-salt

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