My new cookbook ‘ally’s kitchen~a passport for adventurous palates’ debuts MAY 2015! It has an entire section dedicated to some of my most boholicious spice mixtures and sauces that I’ll teach you to make. And, there’s a huge difference between homemade and store bought! Take a peek here at the cookbook website~~just click~
If I want to travel the world, I need go no further than my kitchen. And, for me and my family, that means spices! We can make-believe we’re anywhere just by the scents of the spices! You know how well smells evoke memories, associations, thoughts, feelings—I mean you probably think of Christmas or Thanksgiving when you smell things like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves .
What do you think of when you smell bacon frying? The early morning dew on grass? The wafting of coffee being brewed? Yeast and freshly baking bread? There’s something else about spices that can turn you on~~tune in, I’m getting it on my retro radio~
It’s well-documented in medicine and health that spices have medicinal purposes and have value for your body beyond the taste buds and making foods wake up. Here’s an article from TreeHugger on some of these spices and the benefits—but, you can Google and read on to find out more if you like.
For now, I’m gonna share with you some favorite combinations of spices—yes, they pack an exotic punch that makes your food giggle with happiness! You’ll be making your own blends~~don’t miss one thing about the cookbook because I’ve got mixtures from around the globe like Harissa, Ras el Hanout, and more.
Check out some of my recipes with these spice blends~~
Chinese Five Spice~~this has some real sweet scents going on~~the most wonderful for me is the anise~~it just reminds me of eating
licorice as a little girl. Funny how smells evoke memories like that! Also in here is cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ginger. Check out this recipe I used it in~~
Chinese Five Spice Cookies
Tandoori Masala~~Why do I love this one. Well, check out what it’s got going on~~salt, coriander, paprika, cumin, mustard, chili, cassia (that’s new for me, but it’s Chinese cinnamon), garlic, turmeric, cloves, lemon oil. I mean how can it be anything but enchanting! You can use it for marinading~~mix with plain yogurt or your liquid magic!
Stay tuned for how I’m going to use this~~I’m thinking in one of my tagine creations!
Za’atar~~ This is Za’atar or an in Arabic: زَعْتَر za‘tar. It’s a mixture of thyme, sesame seed, sea salt, and sumac. Of course, like all spice mixtures, there are variations, but the basics of za’atar are there. My recipe for Za’atar highly suggests fresh thyme and oregano to get the vibrant green color.
The cool thing about this spice combination when you read about it is the history—I mean it dates back to ancient Egypt—it’s great to get history lessons from your spices! Of course, we can make our own Za’atar, which adds to the fun of spicing! I’ve used this spice in several recipes~~
Key Lime Zahtar Roasted Chicken
Garam Masala~~a ‘masala’ is simply a spice mixture~~so this spice combination would be full of flavor—coriander, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, black and green cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Now, you might ask what in the name of Sam’s Hill would you use that for? Well, the only thing you’re limited by is your imagination! Let’s try chicken, but you could do pork or veggies~~
Madras Curry~~rounding out these five is another newbie for me, and that would be because I just love the smell of it—reminds me
of an Indian, as in authentic from india—restaurant. And, another thing, madras was reall cool and hip when I was in college—guys and girls who wore madras with weejuns—well, just hip—don’t think there’s a weejun spice blend, but hey, that doesn’t mean we can’t make one!
What goes into this ‘Madras Curry’—cumin, coriander, yellow mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.