Archive for ‘Spices’

February 14, 2013

Fast Fashion | Five-Spice Duck

This meal is simple enough for a weeknight, but also sexy enough for a date night.

Just like a good pair of skinny black pants.

Duck turns out to cost about as much as a good piece of grass-fed beef.  But somehow it seems altogether fresh and new for a weeknight meal.  Toss in some bulk wild rice and some handfuls of baby spinach and you’ve got yourself something that despite it’s cheap and cheerful cost, almost poses as downright elegant.

Think of it as the H&M of meals.  Fast fashion at the dinner table.

The duck is spiced simply with salt and pepper and a generous amount of Chinese five spice.  Now before you go writing that off with “oh I can’t find that stuff,” know that in addition to you being able to easily grab a bit a your finer spice stores, you can also pick up a jar at your local grocery store because even McCormick’s makes it.  Pan sear the duck, then drain (and save for oh so delicious potatoes) the fat that’s rendered off, then in the same pan wilt down your spinach that you douse with a bit of apple cider vinegar and a generous pinch of sugar.  The wild rice, while it takes 45 minutes to cook, can easily be made ahead of time.  Or you can unwind with some Jesse Ware and a cocktail while that simmers.

I always opt for the second.

Timing is, as it turns out – in fashion and the kitchen – is everything.

Chinese Five-Spiced Duck. Wild Rice Salad. Warm Spinach.  For Two.

For the Wild Rice Salad

8 oz wild rice blend

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May 21, 2012

Unexpected Savory | Cumin Granola

Sometimes texture can be just as important to a dish as flavor. It’s harder to enjoy something that’s just a bowl of mush.  Ok, aside from perhaps enjoying a whole dinner of say, mashed potatoes with copious amounts of butter or oodles of macaroni and cheese.  I have those days, too.  But sometimes there are some things that need a little crunch.

Enter this delicious and surprising garnish for a ho-hum dinner in need of some oomph.  Consider moderating the spices based on your dish.  I think a curry granola or a chile scented granola would be equally tasty.  And if you’re local to Columbus, stop by North Market Spices to pick up one of their many spice blends (which are amazing) to use.

Savory Cumin Granola

1 c rolled oats

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March 17, 2012

It’s Not Just for St. Patrick’s | Scratch Corned Beef

When we visited our farmer friend Dick Jensen a few weeks ago for maple tapping, we picked up some of his lovingly raised and delicious grass-fed beef.  We blew through the short ribs (I still owe you some posts on those, two ways) but we also bought a brisket with the full intention of having it as corned beef.

And everyone loves it for St. Patrick’s Day.  But consider it as something you could make anytime.  It makes enough for leftovers for a couple of days.  Turn it into amazing sandwiches with a little Russian dressing and coleslaw.  Add some leftover potatoes that you par boiled and then roasted in fat and turn it into hash.  This is not your out of the can variety.

It’s worth the effort.

There is a bit of wiggle room just how long you choose to brine your brisket. 

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February 24, 2012

My Most Favorite Soup | Spicy Senegalese Peanut

This is truly and honestly my most favorite soup of all time.  It is creamy and comforting, spicy and flavorful.  It is African-influenced.  It is at once modern and familiar.  And while you’ll need a handful of spices (have you been building your spice cabinet?), the technique is simple and fairly quick.

I first came across this soup years and years ago when I lived in New Jersey.  Montclair, with its “winter views” of Manhattan, had an outpost of what was, for a brief shining moment, a wonderful little soup shop.  Initially, it was really great.  But then, the original owners dropped out after making a cookbook, someone else took over.   You know the story.  This shop was in a teeny what-used-to-probably-be-a-closet-for-maintenance-equipment underneath railroad tracks.

But this soup.  The combination of leeks and curry and peanuts and spice and goodness, well, it was worth it what I seem to recall being like nine bucks a bowl.

Here’s my take on all the warm toasty soup goodness with none of the pesky cost.  Enjoy it when it’s chilly and you want to skip the meat for a night or four.  This makes plenty.

Spicy Senegalese Peanut Soup, makes a whole bunch (inspired by a recipe in The Daily Soup Cookbook)

1  12 oz bag of roasted, salted peanuts (this is the size of a bag from Whole Foods)

2 T vegetable oil, (or preferably peanut oil)

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February 16, 2012

Mix This | Georgian ‘Curry’ Mix

ImageIn Georgian cooking, Khmeli Suneli is a spice mix that can be used as a dry rub or as an enhancement to soups and stews. It is essentially a curry, since it’s just a mix of spices.  You can choose to use all dried ingredients, or include some fresh, if you have it or it’s in season.

I used this in a mixed braise with lamb and short ribs (expect a post about that soon).  But it would also be great mixed with some olive oil and bread crumbs as an herb crust on chicken or fish.  Or sprinkle in a heaping tablespoon once you’ve sweated down some onions as a base for soup.

It’s fragrant, beautiful stuff, with forgiving measurements.

Persephone’s Khmeli Suneli

Mix equal parts dried of (I used a tablespoon each):

Whole fenugreek seeds

Bay leaf (I used 2 huge ones)

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November 23, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | The Rum Whitfield

Oh my goodness.  I stumbled on something.  Pumpkin water.

Water.  Only the complete essence of pumpkin.  Much like tomato water.  Only pumpkiny-er.  Obviously.

I just knew this would make a good cocktail addition.  And of course, my friend Molly completely helped me in sussing out some ingredients.  Because she’s totally good at it.  And she knows all about cocktails.  And does stuff for these guys.

So this cocktail is entirely inspired by the season, what I had around (I was roasting a pumpkin for a pie, y’all, and had this left over), the Ohio seasons, and our recent trip back to New Jersey, our former home.

The Rum Whitfield, makes one

1.5 oz. spiced pumpkin water* (**)

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October 22, 2011

Because You’re Only 4 1/2 Once | Chocolate Pudding

Birthdays call for cakes.  Half birthdays, pudding.  Cherub celebrated her four and half years in this world just this past Friday.  We had pudding as a special I-turned-four-and-a-half dessert.  Homemade chocolate pudding is no harder than a box mix, honestly.  Just just need a few ingredients.  Like anything else.  But these few ingredients can make a little person feel awfully special.  Or a big person for that matter.

PK’s Celebratory Chocolate Pudding, Serves 4

3 T corn starch

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 t ground cinnamon

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