I’ve been thinking about seasonings lately. There are some days where all I want or can tolerate is really plainly seasoned foods and others where I’d welcome a meal with “a good smack across the face” of flavor. I catch myself imagining what a dish “should” taste like and in my pre-GP life I’d know exactly how to get it there. I’m routinely disappointed when my expectations aren’t meet with a GP-friendly meal. The mantra in culinary school was: “Fat is flavor!” and “Everything needs salt!” but there is more to it than that. There’s a synergy between ingredients and when your list of ingredients is as limited as ours is it’s time to get creative. I’m still new to this low-fat, low fiber (potentially low flavor) Gastroparesis diet and I’m learning something new one dish at a time. These are a few seasoning tricks I’ve learned along the way:
Grinding dried herbs in a spice grinder (an inexpensive coffee grinder designated only for spices) with a little salt pulverizes them into dust. The salt acts as an abrasive. To clean the spice grinder between uses just grind up a small piece of bread to clean any dust residue.
Lemon juice (just a few drops) is a great “pick me up” for tuna salad, fat free sauces and gravies and of course all fish.
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg makes anything made with spinach and milk or cheese (especially parmesan) sing.
Real parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) in very small amounts and grated into wisps using a microplane/rasp delivers big flavor for not a lot of fat.
A spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate straight from the freezer gives anything from mashed sweet potatoes and roasted butternut squash to fat-free custard mixture for french toast a sunny punch of citrus.
Raw garlic cloves grated to a paste using a microplane/rasp adds flavor without adding bits and pieces.
Buttermilk and yogurt add a nice low-fat/fat free twang to potato dishes.
Maple syrup (especially grade B which has a more maple flavor), molasses and brown sugar are sweeteners that offer more flavor than white sugar.
Soy sauce offers umami (savory) flavor compared with kosher or sea salt.
Laughing Cow cheese wedges (any variety) add 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and a little punch of flavor to baked potatoes, noodles (just melt with a little fat free milk) or whatever they’re spread on.
Salt-free seasoning mixes (in conjunction with a little salt) are an easy “two pinches” to flavor.
Chicken stock simmered with chopped onions, celery, parsley and fresh herbs then strained provides all the flavor without all the skins and strings.
A small amount (1/2 cup or less-depending on number of servings) of dry French white vermouth is an acceptable substitute for a larger amount of white wine in a recipe. Unlike white wine it can sit in the refrigerator for a while once opened. Just make sure you’re able to tolerated small amounts of alcohol.
Hopefully, more seasoning trick are in my future but until then feel free to share your tips for GP-friendly seasoning ideas. Eat well! Be well! Enjoy!