My basic chili recipe for newbs says “Cumin. Lots of cumin. No, more than that.”
Mustard powder. ¼ teaspoon goes a long way.
I suspect my husband thinks I overdo the cumin.
I’m not a big fan of rum, so a little bit of rum goes a long way, but I do use it for flavoring. My 3 scoworker and I can polish off a 2 L bottle of coke and a 750 mL bottle of rum in one session. Of the 4, I drink the least amount of rum and the most amount of coke.
Tarragon can really take over a dish. I once was told by a waitress that they would not be serving the salad that day because they were out of tarragon for the dressing. I almost told her, Thank God!"
I have to respectfully but strongly disagree with Nora here. Pasta Puttanesca and Chicken Piccata, two go-to meals in my rotation, would not be the same without capers. Also, capers and seafood, like a nice salmon filet, pair up nicely.
I like a spoonful in my tuna salad.
A little goes a long way. My friend Mike. I don’t see him all that often. We have fun when we do stuff and always say we’ll get together more often, but really that wouldn’t be good.
I love capers. I put them in chicken, turkey, tuna salads, maybe into macaroni and potato salad, and into home-made tartar sauce. All they are are a form of tiny pickle… There used to be a mediterranean olive bar with all the usual suspects, and whole big marble sized caper buds.
I agree with most of the “too much” opinions, but i have too say that I’ve never felt a dish had too much cumin, nor too much thyme. I mean, it would be a different dish without them. And maybe I’d like it more. But neither ruins an otherwise tasty food like too much sage, or too much caper, or too much mustard.
Actually, I love them myself. Funny quip though.
Too much cumin in anything makes it taste like the dank armpits of a Middle Eastern day laborer on a crowded downtown F train.
I deal with cloves in recipes by leaving out cloves. I make an excellent tourtiere Quebecois with no clove whatsoever.
Caper berries (the big ones) go really, really well with aged goat cheese.
I make a mac and cheese that’s a knockoff recipe from a fairly well-known restaurant in my area, and it’s a big hit with friends and family. It needs nutmeg, but just a very small amount. Too much will ruin it. It’s a very small window.
Years ago I bought a Jamaican recipes cookbook at a garage sale. Still reference it to this day. It had been well-used since it still had a couple dozen little sticky note tabs marking recipes that the former owner had tried. A small detail I found amusing was that ‘nutmeg’ had been crossed out in every single recipe the person had tried. I wondered if the person was allergic, or they just really, really didn’t like nutmeg.
There’s a fine line between just enough and too much hot Chinese mustard (the real kind, not what take-out places offer in plastic packets). You want scalp-tingling heat, but not enough to blow out a new sinus cavity. A real killer is the hidden hot mustard pocket; it’s considered uncouth in some circles to suddenly spew a mouthful of Szechuan beef and broccoli across the room. Speaking of etiquette:
Yeah, I’d never go back to that restaurant again.