It’s the final countdown

It’s not just the end of the month, it’s the end of 2013!  So to finish off this month’s project I rounded up the remaining spices: curry powder, rosemary, sage, basil, lemon & pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  There is also Japanese 7 spice, turmeric and dashi (not pictured).final spices

I couldn’t find any recipes that used all these spices at once (that would be one crazy recipe!),  I did however find ways to use them all 🙂

Garlic powder and Onion powder

These two have always thrown me for a loop.  I mean why would I use powdered garlic or onions when the real thing is so easy and delicious.  Turns out the powdered forms are great in seasoning mixes, sauces and rubs.  They also add a little sweetness to mix.  I don’t think they would ever replace the real thing, but they do add their own special flavour.

TACO SEASONING – It’s a great way to flavor any ground meat or ground round.

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Ingredients:

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container.

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Turmeric

When I got to turmeric I already knew what to make, the recipe I bought turmeric for in the first place… Turmeric Tofu Scramble.  This recipe is based on a breakfast at the Chicago Diner I had many moons ago.  I love the color and flavour of this spice.  Turmeric also has so many touted health benefits I’m surprised it isn’t added to every meal.  There are claims it helps with Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer and Arthritis.scramble

Ingredients:

2 14-ounce blocks extra-firm tofu

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Squeeze the extra liquid from the block of tofu.  Break the tofu into a large bowl and use a fork to mash it to pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and peppers.  Stir frequently until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.  Add the cumin.

Add the tofu and the turmeric, salt and pepper.  Keep stirring and add in the beans.  Cook until fully heated then stir in cilantro.

You can easily add other options to the scramble like salsa, avocado, grated cheese, hot sauce or anything you can think of.  Serve alone or on warmed tortillas.

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Japanese 7 Spice and Lemon & Pepper

These spices are Dan’s standard spices.  We have a standard meal that we love to make all the time.  It’s simple it makes a lot and we can make it all over the world.  It actually so simple I feel silly writing out a recipe… but here goes 🙂

Baked chicken with lots o’ spice!

Ingredients:

1 package chicken thighs

Japanese 7 spice or lemon & pepper spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease a baking dish with a bit of oil and place the chicken thighs in it.  Cover the thighs with a generous amount of either spice.  Bake for 45 minutes.

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Rosemary

After surveying lots of recipes, I’ve learned one thing… rosemary is for potatoes.  I looked to one of my favourite food blogs, “Oh She Glows”, for help with a good rosemary potato recipe and it did not disappoint.

 roasted-brussels-sprouts-and-fingerling-potatoes-with-rosemary-6793-3

Ingredients:

1 lb fingerling potatoes

1/2 lb brussels sprouts

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp fresh minced rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Rinse and scrub potatoes. Pat dry. Slice in half lengthwise and place into large mixing bowl.

3. Cut off stem of brussels sprouts and remove loose outer leaves. Rinse and pat dry. Place in bowl.

4. Add the minced garlic, minced rosemary, oil, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes into the bowl along with the potatoes and sprouts. Toss with your hands to combine and place on baking sheet.

5. Roast for 35-38 minutes at 400F, stirring once half way through baking. Potatoes will be golden and brussels will be lightly charred when ready. Season with Herbamare (or salt) and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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Sage

I don’t think I have ever used sage before, and I had a hard time finding recipes that I was interested in making.  Even though this recipe was tasty, I think this spice just isn’t my favourite.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained

and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in beans, and toss to coat. Season with sage, thyme, pepper, and salt. Cook 5 minutes, or until beans are slightly crisp.

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Dried Basil

Fresh basil is one of my favourite herbs in the world.  When I grew it in the summer, I just wanted to add it to everything.  I like dried basil, but it definitely isn’t a substitute for fresh basil in most situations.  However it is delicious in spaghetti sauce 🙂spaghetti+with+meat+sauce11

Ingredients:

  • 1  lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt ( or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ground pepper
  • 1 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef and set aside, reserve some of the grease for the net step.
  2. In the pan you used to brown the beef, saute the onion, garlic and green pepper with bay leaves, oregano, basil,  salt and pepper.
  3. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and sugar.
  4. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  5. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Use sauce to top your cooked spaghetti, top with fresh parmesan if you like.

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Dashi

This one was easy, more miso soup!

Dashi is a powdered fish or seaweed stock that adds a depth of flavour to miso soup.

miso-soup

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Curry Powder

Before I went to India I used this powder to make a veggie curry.  At the time it seemed pretty easy and tasty… that was before I had curry in India.  Honestly even a trip to an Indian restaurant would have probably taught me that my curry was out of date.  I guess I have this curry powder to thank for the main lesson I learned this month…

Spices expire!   I’ve never really thought about spices having a shelf life.  Which sounds silly, but it also probably part of the reason fresh herbs always taste so much better than my dried spices.  I think a lot of my spices are dried out.  So here are a few spice rules to follow:

 

1.)  Stale spices won’t have the flavour they should… no matter how much you add.  Spices are pods of complex oils that start to lose their potency as soon as they are ground.  Toss spices you haven’t used in years.

2.) Quaility matters.  Buy spices you really love from spice stores, bulk foods stores or online spice stores.  Grocery stores don’t tend to have a fast enough turn over of spices to ensure freshness.

2.) Organize your spices, if you can’t see you spices easily they are probably not going to get used.  Also to make them last a little longer keep your spices away from heat and light.

3.) Whole spices stay fresh longer,and the taste of freshly grinding your spices will blow your mind.  You can use a cheap coffee grinder to grind the spices easily.  I haven’t gotten to this level of spice savvy, but I’m on my way!

5599254-whole-variety-of-colorful-spices-assortment-of-cuisine-ingredients-in-ceramic-containers

 

Happy New Year Everyone!  To a life full of spice 🙂

 

 

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