Mama Rose's Blog
SPICE IT UP A LITTLE
How do you judge whether a recipe you made will be a dish you will want to make again and maybe again and again? Since I cook all the time, I tend to ponder this question since I get bored with the same ol’ same ol’. I think to myself often if what I just cooked and tasted is really good enough to put on my list of favorites, or was it just ok? What didn’t I like about it? What would I do different? Would I even bother?
If you are like most cooks you have a few ‘go to’ recipes on hand that you know you can whip up and will taste good, be fairly consistent and your family likes it as well, but you may also think to yourself that you want to try something new, right? How to pick a new recipe? In this world of the inter-web the choices are limitless. And if you’re like me, I have a ton of cookbooks. First of all I look at all of the ingredients. There may be some ingredients I’ve never used before and will have to experiment and adjust with the portions to satisfy my particular taste. Spices like saffron, curry or turmeric are strong and powerful additions to a dish but can be overwhelming if you are not used to those tastes. I use a lot of cumin. It’s a great spice for Mexican or Indian cooking. Again this spice is strong and use it as your taste dictates. Is your spice cabinet supplied with everything you need or do you need to shop for them? Spices and herbs are expensive. Spices aren’t just for flavor but their scent and health benefits are also valuable. There have been so many studies lately on turmeric for example being great for cancer, but using it as just a taste enhancement uses very little. You have to use much more for any real health effect.
I started writing this blog while in New York. There is a great spice store in the East Village that I will visit again soon and stock up on some spices I use frequently like smokey paprika. I started using a lot of this after my son, Jason cooked something for me using it. I forget at this time what that was but I remember liking it so much I searched for it in Chico to no avail. This was a few years ago and since then I can find it all over the place now. My spice rack has plenty of it so I won’t be buying that spice but I know I’ll find some others I want to play around with in the kitchen for recipes that I’ve not cooked. Since my raised garden bed is shadowed by a large walnut tree, about the only thing I can grow are herbs, which is fine since my son, Robert has a farm and grows just about everything else and supplies me with a fully bounty of veggies and fruits year round.
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To give life to beauty, the painter uses a whole range of colours,musicians of sounds, the cook of tastes -- and it is indeed remarkable that there are seven colours, seven musical notes and seven tastes.”
Lucien Tendret (1825-1896)
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