About My Blog.

Welcome! This is "Catatonic Digressions."
Most, if not all readers don't understand my blog's title. It's an old inside joke from a forum long gone. I was going to change it, but since it's been "confusing" for so long, I decided to leave it. Don't worry about what it means, the content of the blog is what is important.

Unfortunately, my blog isn't what I set out for it to be. A disturbed and manic online stalker and cyberbully has made it impossible for me to post about family, my son, life in my part of New York...so I stopped (for the most part), and I mostly reblog and repost what I feel is important, necessary or close to my heart. As for the stalking sociopath, she can go to hell for harassing me and my family since mid-2008. You can't scare me offline with a few lame threats and dozens of pages of defamation, abuse, depravity and libel. I'm bitchy like that. ;)
(Anyone who knows me knows I'm not actually a bitch, but let's allow this psychopath to think I'm a bitch to her blackened heart's content—it seems to make her feel she has some sort of control over me…and it does not.)

If you read a story and you feel moved in any way, comment. Comments are more than welcome.

Unlike those online who lie and hide behind fake photos and insanely fabricated stories, I'm a real person. I'm real and I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. After years of putting up with online abuse by manipulative, pathological liars, attention whores or narcissists, I've had it. Don't bother me with pathetic drama. I have no time for these types of people and their need to absorb others' time and attention.

Feel free to email me if you have a story or cause you would like shared, especially if it pertains to animal rights, liberation, veganism, animal welfare, health and well-being, geekery, Macs and computer dorkiness, music, lowbrow art, kitchy stuff, skateboards, the beach, swimming, diving, NYC, beading (it's my hobby), recipes (love to cook, especially if I made the recipe up myself!), VEGAN!, ALF, Sea Shepherd, Action for Animals, NIO, 269Life and/or anything you think I might enjoy or others might—you never know. It doesn't always have to be serious. Hilarious stories, local NY, funny videos or photos, photobombs (especially if they contain pets!)...I might be partially censored, but I'm not closed down!

Please, join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and follow them and The Barbi Twins on Twitter and Facebook.

For the Oceans,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Herbs and Spices — Tips for Vegan cooking

By Compassionate Cooks


Which Spices/Herbs to Use

How many of us have spice racks with jars of spices we bought years ago and never used – whose sole purpose is to collect the dust in your kitchen? ☺ Now is the time to dust them off (or replace them) and start adding flavor to your dishes-The correct spice or herb (whether it is fresh or dried) for any food is the one that tastes right for you-When you're at a loss about what to add to a dish, try something from the list below


Beans - cumin, cayenne, chili, oregano, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, thyme

Breads - anise, basil, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, lemon peel, orange peel, oregano, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme

Fruits - allspice, anise, cardamom, Chinese 5-spice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mint

Potatoes - basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, tarragon, thyme

Salads and Salad Dressings - basil, caraway, celery seed, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, horseradish, lemon peel, lovage, marjoram, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sumac, tarragon, thyme

Soups - basil, bay, chervil, chili, chives, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, marjoram, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, star anise, thyme

Sweets - allspice, angelica, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, mace, nutmeg, mint, orange peel, rosemary, star anise

Tomatoes - basil, bay, celery seed, cinnamon, chili, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme

Vegetables - chili, chives, curry, dill, marjoram, parsley, savory, thyme


Allspice: An ingredient in many baked goods as well as "Jerk" sauces

Anise Seed: Mild licorice flavor, used in cookies, or candies

Arrowroot Powder: Use as a thickener in puddings, pies, soups, sauces, and gravies

Basil: used in Italian and Mediterranean cooking, especially good with tomatoes

Bay Leaves: Perfect use in stews, sauces, soups, and marinades

Caraway Seeds: Great in baked goods and with fruits

Cardamom, ground: A wonderful addition to Indian dishes

Cardamom, whole: Dry roast the whole cardamom seeds for more flavor in your recipe

Cayenne Pepper: Wonderful heat for any Mexican dish

Chervil Leaf: Similar to parsley, a mild flavor for any meat, soup or vegetable dish

Cilantro: Used in Mexican cooking & salsas; may also be used in Indian dishes-

Cloves, ground: Popular in desserts, syrups, and sweet vegetable dishes-

Coriander seed, ground: Citrusy, sweet & tart flavor to be used at the end when cooking

Cream of Tartar: Adds consistency and stability to any cookie or cake-

Cumin Seed, ground: Wonderful with tomato dishes, chili, salsa & Indian dishes

Dill Weed: Great in dressings and sauces and on potatoes

Ginger, crystallized: Sliced ginger partially dried in a sugar syrup solution - For sweets

Ginger, ground: A sharp, aromatic spice is used in many sweet baked goods and curries

Lemongrass: A grass with citric oils, very popular in Thai cooking-

Marjoram: Like oregano & from the mint family, it has a sweeter and subtler taste

Nutmeg, ground: A sweet, nutty spice is used in custards, pastries, and vegetables

Oregano, Greek: A must for Italian cooking, Greek oregano has a mild, delicate flavor

Oregano, Mexican: Slightly stronger than Greek and less sweet, used in Spanish cooking

Paprika, hot: Mixed with cayenne, these red peppers make the Hungarians famous

Paprika, sweet: This sweet, milder Paprika will add radiant color to any dish

Parsley: This versatile herb can be used as a garnish or with anything other than sweets

Poppy Seeds: Used in baked goods, breads & to flavor noodles

Rosemary, ground: Use ground in sauces or stocks to avoid the "needle" look

Saffron, whole threads: Use for saffron rice and Indian dishes

Sage: Well known for use in stuffings

Salt, Kosher: Coarser than regular granulated, easier to control in cooking

Savory: Strong, peppery taste, good with veggies & stuffing

Sesame Seeds: Used mostly for baking breads & rolls, nice for stir-frys

Spearmint: A popular tea flavoring, used in sauces and veggie dishes

Tarragon: Aromatic herb used to flavor vinegar, dressings, breads- Great with potatoes!

Thyme, ground: Great for Greek & Italian cooking, use ground for sauces & soups

Thyme, whole leaf: Versatile in flavoring veggies, pizza, stews & herb blends

Turmeric: Used as a natural yellow coloring for soups, sauces, rice, curry, & tofu scramble


• Store spices in a cool, dark place- Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly- Although the most convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove, moving your spices to a different location may keep them fresh longer

• As a general rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors for a year

Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years-Proper storage should result in longer

freshness times

• Because the refrigerator is a rather humid environment, storing herbs and spices there is not recommended-To keep larger quantities of spices fresh, store them in the freezer in tightly sealed containers


• For long-cooking dishes, add herbs and spices an hour or less before serving

Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong flavors

• Use restraint! In general, ¼ teaspoon of spice is enough for 4 servings

• Do not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh- In most cases, use ¼ the amount in dried as is called for fresh-

• Seasoning food is an art, not a science-..................Experimenting with herbs and spices can be fun and educational, and while you may occasionally be eating a less than perfect dish, you may also end up creating that recipe that will become a classic in your household

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