Fab Natural Cooking Staples

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After learning about the hidden sources of MSG in one of my favorite cooking ingredients was I was determined to find an alternative that was both natural and easy to use. I scoured the Internet looking for “All Natural” or “Organic” vegetable bouillon with no hidden MSG, but to no avail. Every time I thought I’d found one, I was disappointed by an ingredient like “yeast extract” or “malt extract” which are MSG indicators. After a thorough search I decided to try to make it myself.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon two wonderful recipes for Vegetable Bouillon and Tempero.

The recipe for Vegetable Buillon is from an online recipe journal called 101 Cookbooks which is a natural cooking site with a wealth of information, and amazing recipes. I’ve included the ingredients below,

5 ounces / 150 g leeks, sliced and well-washed
7 ounces / 200g fennel bulb, chopped
7 ounces / 200g carrot, well scrubbed and chopped
3.5 ounces / 100 g celery
3.5 ounces / 100g celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped
1 ounce / 30g sun-dried tomatoes
3.5 ounces / 100g shallots, peeled
3 medium garlic cloves
9 ounces / 250g fine grain sea salt
1.5 ounces / 40 g flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped
2 ounces / 60g cilantro (coriander), loosely chopped *I added a little mushroom for added depth of flavor.

I find myself using this bouillon on anything savory dish in place of salt because it creates a depth of flavor that you just can’t get from plain salt, with the benefit of not having to worry about what’s in it!

Another natural flavor enhancer I found is Tempero. Tempero is a Brazilian cooking staple that is as flavorful as it is simple; it made from basil, parsley, leeks, scallions, onions and garlic with salt to preserve. I have yet to cook a Brazilian dish, but this sauce is great in anything you’d put basil, garlic and onions in.

For the full recipe and instructions, check out the blog post A Sauce to Crow About, by Mama Minutia.

In both of these recipes, there seems to be a lot of salt, but it’s important to remember that the salt is the key to making the ingredients stable. Without the precise amount of salt (don’t skimp!) these sauces will spoil quickly. Don’t worry about over salting, just add bouillon to your recipes instead of salt, in very small amounts.

Both of these cooking pastes are amazing staples that I rotate regularly depending on the dish. They add a “wow, that’s delicious” factor to all of your dishes, and you’ll be tempted to use them in everything. Seriously. I’m now contemplating creating other flavors to cook with. Even if you weren’t a bouillon user before, I promise your cooking will greatly benefit from these wonderful ingredients.

Try using one of these natural flavor enhancers in your favorite dish. Comment to tell me what you think!

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