Recently our family of 5 has done what I call the unthinkable. We have gone gluten-free – At least temporarily. My son has terrible sinus infections and after having his adenoids out and not noticing much of a change we decided to change our diet to see if it would make a difference. We eat a large amount of meat to keep us full during the day and I have been looking for new ways to flavor our chicken since that is what we eat the most of.
Last week I had the opportunity to try out some new spices from a company called Wild Cheff. They make all natural, preservative free seasoning products that will not only enable but inspire any individual (from inexperienced to professional chefs) to prepare wild game, free-range and organic ingredients more deliciously and more often. The concept behind Wild Cheff stems from the game itself. As all fish and game has a unique texture and flavor, so do the ingredients used in their preparation. Some spices enhance a particular flavor while others disguise some of them. And as chicken should taste differently from pheasant so should a steak taste differently from venison.
A top-quality spice mix should achieve the goal of complementing the food’s flavors, but should not hide them or overpower the original natural aroma. I try to remember when cooking that each raw dish under preparation has a complementary seasoning, similar to pairing wine with a meal.
My husband and I have grilled a variety of meats, poultry, and fish on the barbecue lately, and often find ourselves reaching for the same spices. Having the opportunity to experiment with 4 new spice blends from Wild Cheff gave us a chance to test our cooking skills and imagination… and indulge.
My first meal was a combination of grilled chicken thighs and pork cutlets, with a side dish of steamed sugar snap peas with grape tomatoes. For the pork, I tried the Tuscan and Cinnamon Chile (separately, of course). I used the Tuscan and Tex/Mex for the chicken, and tried the Sesame Ginger for the vegetables.
The first quality I noticed was that the spices smell appealing and strong. The ingredients stand out independently, and blend together for a single aroma seamlessly. Pinching a bit at a time and sprinkling with my fingers, I used the Tuscan for the chicken, and Sesame Ginger for the vegetables. The scent of each was exactly as you might expect, and I observed from the texture, color, and moisture that these spices are very high quality. There’s no doubt of which one you have used, once you pinch a small amount onto the food and can still observe the pleasant scent on your fingers.
All of the meats were cooked at a medium to high flame on the grill, and the cooking time was mostly as expected. For the pork, my cutlets were thinner than usual, and I think the spice helped them cook somewhat faster – so the result was the pork became a bit drier than I prefer. The chicken was very tender. The vegetables gave a clear aroma of an Asian kitchen, and I can imagine using the Sesame Ginger as a complement for almost any side dish with an Asian flair.
When the time came for my family to enjoy all the cooking experiments, our favorite was the chicken with the Tuscan spice. It had all the anticipated flavors of a balanced poultry seasoning. The pork with Cinnamon Chile was a bit spicy for the kids’ tastes, and the Asian vegetables were very flavorful and offered nice variety to the meats. The Tex/Mex chicken was also a strong and tasty flavor.
As with most new products, I would normally recommend to try a little at first and check the results. Perhaps my eagerness missed my advice, because some of the flavors were somewhat too strong for my kids (age 7 and 11), but were ok for me. I believe I just used more than was necessary, and it shows that I should reconsider my dated spice rack and toss anything that has lingered for too long. I really enjoyed the Tex/Mex, and decided to try it mixed into a big burger. It was fantastic (topped with Havarti cheese). Each time I grill now, I start thinking of the spice while I select the main course. I will often saute chicken, pork, or vegetables on the stove as well, and have some ideas on which seasoning to try.
Reading the bottles, I see they have suggested uses which are quite diverse. I’m really pleased with this selection and feel I’m stepping into a new breed of spices for which I’m not worthy… but I’m enjoying the ride and will be back for more!
For More Information visit www.wildcheff.com or find them on Facebook .