Salt is a necessary flavor enhancer. Add it in stages during cooking, tasting the dish along the way. For best results, pour salt into the palm of your hand or a small bowl and pinch between your fingers to add.
Spices are great on their own, or combined into a mixture known as a dry rub. To create a balanced mix, include each of these elements: salt, sugar (granulated or brown), pepper, and a spice or a combination of spices.
Herbs come in many textures and flavors. Sturdy herbs, like rosemary and thyme, can be added before cooking. Tender herbs, like basil and parsley, are better added at the end.
These simple and delicious spuds will make it into your regular dinner rotation. Leftover rosemary can be air-dried and then stored in a jar or a plastic bag for up to a year.
If you make the salsa in a blender, add a tablespoon or two of water for easier processing.
Make a full batch of this sweet-spicy rub and you'll have enough for two meals. Store the remaining rub at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a month.
Basil and pine nut pesto is classic, but for an untraditional twist you can combine different tender herbs to make a delicious pasta sauce.
Here's a sweet way to introduce a more exotic spice into your repertoire. Cardamom is an Indian spice that pairs nicely with cinnamon.
Originally published in the December 2013 issue of Parents magazine.