Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mission Accomplished

I am not a spice wimp. I'm not chary about chiles, grossed out by garlic, negatory on nigella seeds.
But I just haven't been using spices much.
I think it's the good, local food we've been getting at the farmers market that has calmed down my need for added flavors. The fresh vegetables, meat, seafood just taste so good already.
I do like to use salt. I don't think I overuse it at all, and I'm not saying I like salty food. I just think salt works magic in cooking.
It's rare that I ever ransack the baking spices. You know, the warm, holiday-tasting ones like cinnamon, cloves, allspice. I think they're lovely, but so noticeable in food as to trump the native flavor of your essential eats. (And I think I'm off vanilla forever, but that's another story.) Maybe I am a spice wimp!
Herbs, yes, I do like herbs (both fresh and — gasp — dried).
I adore cumin and pepper, and I think I could cook with those two alone (plus salt) and never need another flavor.
But why?
It's like I was getting all Taliban about the additives. Loosen up, use judgment, give it a try. Go easy, have a little fun. Raid that compound!
So. Spiced rice.
There's really nothing to say here, except that this dish of rice is flavored with cracked, roasted almonds and chopped homegrown prunes. A handful of peas. Salt and pepper, of course, and cumin (of course!).
At the end, I stirred in a microscopic flick of allspice, and it went to another dimension. It was a bad mutha... (shut yo' mouth!).
I threw off that burka and reveled in a little spice.


cookiecrumb said...


SimplyStated said...

Cookie...you know I am an unapologetic spice whore. I really feel it's a bit of a craft to learn to how to "let the spice(s) accentuate the dish and not become the dish". Did I just say that...oh well, ignore me..I was having a philosophical spice moment. Ye gads.

And are we talking "Shaft" in the blog headline today or some other "complicated man"? And how was the birthday?

kudzu said...

Allspice is one of my favorite-est spices, used judiciously so there is only enough to make you wonder for a moment what that wonderful back-flavor is. I especially like it in homemade tomato soup and with a nice pot roast. Using one spice at a time is a good way to make sure you love that taste before you overdose and develop a dislike.

Any culinary/gustatory reports on the birthday? Hope it was great!

cookiecrumb said...

Simply: And no one understands him but his woman.
DINGDINGDINGDING! You take the prize.
Just talkin' about my preznit.
Ya know, I appreciate your remarks about learning how to use spices. I just can never agree with recipes that have you putting in a half teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of that. It's usually too much.
Birthday: Right up there! I am the recipient of a new kitchen appliance that will get its own post soon.
You are a dear. Right on.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Allspice is quite a sparkler. Nicer than cinnamon. I completely agree that you want that "what was that?" moment. I've got plans for a deconstructed "stuffed" grape leaf with a twinge of allspice. (The little baby leaves are too small to roll, but they are tender NOW.)
Nothing fancy on the food front for birfday. I needed smooth, easy comfort, and Cranky was there for that. Very great.

Zoomie said...

Yes, he is, and I think that's why we had a success. He _thinks_things_through_. What a concept.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: It's like he resubmitted his resume, and we all went -- What? You are this COOL?

namastenancy said...

A complicated man and nobody loves him? OK, if you say so....

To heck with the photo of rice. I want to see a photo of you in a burka, holding up a bottle of hot sauce.

Now that's saucy!

Anonymous said...

I know everyone has seen this, but it's just too good:

"Sorry it took me so long to produce my birth certificate... I was busy killing Osama"

and, by the way, great job with the spices.. ;-)

Greg said...

Love the Shaft reference. :)Are prunes back to being prunes? For a while they were dried plums. As Vinnie Barbarino would say..I'm so confused.

Zoomie said...

Yes, he's that cool!

meathenge said...


It's going to totally be a nice, warm, spring day. Ain't it great?

xo, Biggles

cookiecrumb said...

BK: Yeah, I saw that. Too cool.

Greg: If I grow them and dehydrate them, they are PRUNES. Easy.

Zoomie: I wonder what went on in the bedroom of 1600 that night!

Biggles: Yes, isn't it nice? Eee!
I don't forget the citrus. To me it's food, not spice, but definitely flavor.

Zoomie said...

I hope they made another baby. :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: You misread. I am the woman who understands him. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Could be!