Flavor tips:

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Bursting with flavor, Mexican cooking is celebrated for its use of spices and a variety of peppers. Seasonings can spice up your own Mexican feast or add the flavor of Mexico to everyday meals.

Favorite spices for Mexican cooking: cumin seed, cilantro, chipotle chili, ancho chili and Mexican oregano.

Flavor tips:

n Substitute dried cilantro for parsley in any dish.

n Add zest to barbecue sauce by adding crushed chipotle chili pepper and ground ancho chili powder.

n Mix a little dried cilantro and lime juice with sour cream or creme fraiche to make a cool dip for spicy shrimp or other hot fish dishes.

n For huevos ricos, add 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, a dash of dried parsley, cilantro and garlic to 3 eggs; beat lightly and cook in a saucepan; top with sour cream and sliced jalapeno peppers.

n Create a Mexican-style Caprese salad with sliced tomatoes, asadero cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and dash of dried cilantro.

n A flavorful side like posole, a favorite Mexican soup made with pork, cloves, garlic, pepper, cumin, oregano, onion, garlic and hominy makes a tasty addition to traditional meals.

-Whip up a warm, soothing nighttime drink by heating 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and a dash of ground cinnamon.

-Top it with salsa. Salsa adds freshness and flavor to any dish from grilled chicken to salad and French bread.

-Create a zesty topping for roasted corn-on-the-cob by mixing butter and lime juice with a dash of chili powder and a sprinkle of sugar.

-Create a spicy pesto for pasta or pizza, or for dipping, by substituting cilantro for basil and adding jalapeno chili pepper.

Source: The Spice Hunter. On the Web: http://www.spicehunter.com.

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