Nov/Dec 04..From an email I sent to a friend..
...since you mentioned not knowing as many cooking tricks for
adding flavoring to your dishes, here is an unofficial list of
'secrets' or 'tricks' I use..

1) One can always just 'steal' taste from a fancy store bought
   seasoning or salad dressing (secret trick #1: salad dressings are
   not just for salads! They work, if one chooses well, in many many
   hot dishes, if one uses the right, more modest amounts). Sure
   Goddess dressing costs more, maybe $3, but if you use it only for
   special dishes then using 1/6 or even 1/3 of it is just 50 cents to
   a dollar, to make one's Veggie Potluck dish more special..

2) Another trick is to season the veggies separately, on top of the
   seasoning in the main dish. For example, when stir-frying (or
   healthier, when steaming). For example, this time I steamed the
   nappa (sp?) cabbage in my steamer..One way to flavor it is this,
   steam with water...but then pour a mixture on top. The mixture is
   maybe 1/4 of a cup, which is 2/3 water, 1/6 lemon juice
   concentrate, 1/6 liquid aminos (or use soy sauce) or just a bit
   less dilluted than that but almost as dilluted. Then this mixture
   is poured, in two or three pourings, over the steaming veggies,
   once every 1-3 minutes. The veggies absorb much of the flavor, and
   the rest ends up in the boiling water beneath the steaming veggies
   and flavors them slowly. The lemon juice and healthier soy sauce
   (liquid  aminos) are just the two most basic ones, but you can create
   variations on this basic idea. The key is the veggies are not
   flavors on top of the flavoring (see 1) above and 3) etc below) you
   put into the hot dish itself.

3) In general slow, longer cooking = more subtle flavors and aromas,
   more flavor seeping in.

4) In general, oil helps carry and hold flavors/aromas, so I put the
   olive oil even with the water as I start the water boiling, before
   later adding the couscous (as in this case) or kasha, millet,
   amaranth, quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah" as you may know), etc (tip
   for quinoa: rinse the soap-like "saponins" off first to avoid slight
   bitter taste)

5) More "serious"  flavor tips like in 1) above. Don't be afraid to
   try innovative things, like a little bit of "sweet" herbs (allspice
   or cinnamon or nutmeg) in a non-sweet dish. As always when
   experimenting, trying a small amount the first time..

6) Experimenting with combinations. My "secret flavorings" are often a
   combination of a *small* amount of *seven* or more things, like, in
   addition to the lemon/soysauce on the veggies, I might use, some
   of the fake chicken broth in Healthful Habits, a *small* amount of
   mustard, a *small* amount of some salad dressing, small amount of
   blackstrap molasses, small amount (you get the idea) of 'hot chili
   ketchup' (which is not very hot and which I got a full bottle,
   normally $4 or so, for only $1.25 when on sale at Health Store and
   More), a bit of Nayonaise vegan dressing to give some creamy
   texture and more flavor, plus regular spices (often I use things
   like garlic powder, rosemary, etc). Of course onions even steamed
   are always very nice for aroma.

7) I even used the Thai Kitchen (vegan) flavor packet *plus* a bit of
most of the above secrets, at the last veggie potluck with the
rice-noodle dish I brought in..Again the key is small amounts
otherwise it will, of course, be taste overkill and will be too spicy
or won't taste good. And gain, it's best when you're experimenting for
the first time to only try 2-3 tricks and expand later when you are
confident in how much is enough/not too much, which
combinations..though in small amounts you don't have to worry nearly
as much about getting the combinations 'right'..

There you have it, a crash course in some of the secrets I've
discovered over the years...for giving unique flavors to dishes..when
I cook for myself i'm often lazy and less fancy but when cooking for
UU or Veggie Potluck a little extra time helps make for unique flavors..

Dec 30 2004 -- Recent recipe: cooked millet and dahl (Indian legume..similar to a lentil or split pea). Added blackstrap molasses (make sure it says "blackstrap"; that's the good stuff, and 1 tbsp will contain something like 18% of daily iron and some 10% of daily calcium) ; cilantro, rosemary, and thyme; olive oil; modest amounts of organic italian herb vinaigrette (seeds of change) and sesame dressings;

and steamed veggies flavored as in 2) above, veggies were baby carrot slices, red and white onion, zucchini, etc. Added some greens from a can since didn't have fresh, but that's optional. Can add garlic et al to steamed veggie list above.

When done, I added some vegan mayo (Nayonaise, but veganaise would probably also work) to make it more velvety. Make as many of the above organic if possible, of course.

It was very well received at the veggie potluck tonight, particularly the flavorings in this dish..