Forget about produce-driven or farm-to-table; here’s a new approach — spice-based.
It seems like every culture has its unique spice mix, from Indian Garam Masala to Chinese Five Spice to Egyptian Dukkah. I first got into spice mixes when I was living in Maryland and discovered Old Bay, with its distinct celery seed flavor. I’ve been a condiment fiend ever since. So experimenting with three new Pereg spice blends was just up my alley.
The two I was most excited about were Ras el Hanout (Morocco) and Harissa (Tunisia), neither of which are readily available kosher-certified in the metro area, but can now be easily sourced via the Pereg Gourmet website. (By coincidence, I noticed this weekend that King Soopers has started carrying a kosher-certified harissa.) Being a flavor of the southwest, the third blend, Chipotle, is available locally, but Pereg’s variety is just as good — and smoky — as any I’ve had here.
Any of the three could be used in a stew, marinade or on top of a fried egg. The chipotle would be especially good in any black bean dish. And while harissa is typically a paste, Pereg’s dry version doesn’t lack the fiery tomato caraway flavor.
Note: cooking the raw spices in olive oil or butter will develop a more mellow, softer flavor. For my part, I’ve experimented, so far, with a celery root/cauliflower dish and homemade falafel. More to come.
Here’s an idea: Next time you’re struggling with what to prepare for dinner, check your spice cabinet. You may just be inspired!
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Calling all food lovers and cooks — and I know there are plenty in the Jewish community!
A feature on the IJN blog, Rocky Mountain Jew, from its launch in 2007, has been recipes, most of which come from our print holiday food issues.
Over the past month, we have reformatted all the recipes on our site to make them easy to print or download.