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.
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.