Unusual ways to spice up everyday meals

LOS ANGELES Peanut butter is a key ingredient to making some Asian dishes. Try a tablespoon in a dressing made with low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic and a squeeze of citrus and a dash of sugar or agave syrup.

Put a couple tablespoons in broth to offer a nutty taste to soup. Or stir a tablespoon into a pan sauce in lieu of dairy or butter to drizzle a rich, creamy taste over poultry or pork.

A fiery spice known as cayenne or red pepper provides a kick to many a savory meal, but use it in dessert, and you've got a delicious secret.

Add a quarter-teaspoon to hot chocolate, or the same amount to a chocolate sauce to top a cake or even berries. Some even like a quarter-teaspoon over a tropical fruit salad, or even a pinch dusted over creamy vanilla ice cream.

Finally, if you or your neighbor have a rosemary bush, grab a few sprigs and spice things up like iced tea, and even jam.

Boil water, sugar and rosemary to make a sweet, pine-flavored simple syrup that is a nice touch to lemonade or iced tea.

Or heat up a bit of your favorite jam, then stir snipped rosemary into it for a lemon-eucalyptus fragrance to top a muffin or waffle. It will completely change the taste of a typical meal.

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