Posts tagged ‘Spice’

December 12, 2011

Cookie Exchange | Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkles

It’s not the holidays without at least one cookie exchange.

This year I wanted to make a traditional cookie (the ubiquitous crinkle) with just a slight kick.  Enter Sichuan pepper: not related at all to black peppercorns or chili peppers, it’s used most commonly in Chinese and Japanese cooking.  It is a most unusual spice, one that has a piney, citrusy flavor and makes your mouth a bit numb.  Up until 2005 they were technically illegal to import (but not for any consumption reasons).  It all adds up to give these chocolatey cookies a feeling of just a hint of lemon and danger.  Who else’s cookies can promise that?

Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkle Cookies, makes 90 (whoa), inspired by a classic Betty Crocker recipe

3/4 cup vegetable oil

6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled

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August 23, 2011

A Quick Pickle | Szechuan and Dill

These are my first pickles.

I thank sites like Hounds in the Kitchen and Food in Jars for giving me the nudge in the direction of preserving and pickling.

What is it about these methods that seem so daunting?  Perhaps it is that you hear stories of the six thousand pints that your grandmother used to make at one sitting. (Who has time?)  Perhaps it’s the old stories that it won’t keep as well as you hope.  Fear mongers.  Truly folks, don’t listen.  You can put up just a few pints at a time, in two hours or less.

And the satisfaction of a pickle from a cucumber you grew or just picked up at a farmers’ market is like nothing else.

I made up my own pickling spice, because I think things can be a bit boring if you go the conventional route.  I like a bit of extra spice.  I also kicked in some fresh ginger in some and a massive quantity of garlic as well.  They turned out crispy and salty and kind of awesome.

PK Szechuan Dill Pickling Spice

1 t caraway seeds

1 T corriander seeds

1 t cumin seeds

1 t celery seeds

5 cloves

10 juniper berries

8 green cardamom pods

1 T black peppercorns

1 T Szechuan peppercorns

2 T dill seed

Lightly crush all larger spices, especially the cardamom pods and juniper berries.  Use in quantities as your pickle recipe advises.

Playlist included My Heart Skips a Beat by The Secret Sisters.

 

March 25, 2011

Persephone’s Cocina | Lamb Chili

This is as close to elegant as a bowl of chili can get – it’s more appropriate for date night than for game night.  The lamb mellows beautifully after some time on the stove, the texture is velvety and tender, and the flavor is at once comforting and surprising.  This recipe makes use of some bold and non-traditional spicing, and the payoff is extraordinary.  The black cardamom provides a smoky warmth, the fenugreek a little burnt maple.  Pair these with the traditional cumin, chili powder and coffee, and the result is wonderful.  Its stunning, brick-red color is worth making it alone.  It’s a refined chili with a faint, almost-Persian echo.  Serve it over tamales, with some homemade cornbread, or simply with some sour cream.  It’s easy, and it’s a star.

Chile de Cordero, Serves 2

2 strips bacon, chopped

1/2 pound ground lamb

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