Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Various wonderful spice mixtures

You will probably notice, if you are a reasonably discerning person, that all four spice mixtures closely resemble each other. Don't be fooled. They are different and should be used accordingly.

Southwest Seasoning

2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp dried oregano

This one works great for any southwest flavored food and is a great substitute for those Taco Seasoning packets.

Emeril's Essence

2 1/2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp dried Thyme

This makes a decent addition to any recipe that you find a little bland. Quiches, chicken, pork chops, etc. Experiment. Go crazy.

Pork Rub

1/2 c black pepper
1/2 c paprika
1/2 c turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar)
1/4 c salt
4 tsp dried mustard
2 tsp cayenne

I use this for my Pulled Pork BBQ (watch this space as summer arrives) and for sprinkling on chops and ribs that are headed for the BBQ. It really adds flavor.

Wild Willy's Beef Rub

3/4 c paprika
1/4 c ground black pepper
1/4 c salt
1/4 c sugar
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne

Mostly to sprinkle on steak or beef ribs before they hit the BBQ.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Na'an (Indian style bread loaves)

I don't make this often. It is so good that I would just sit and eat the loaves until they were gone. Not great for watching my weight. They also take some advance planning as they have to rise for about two hours.

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
5 oz warm water (140º works nicely)
2 c flour
3 oz melted butter (or ghee if you have access or make your own)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk, beaten

Combine sugar, yeast, and water. Whisk well and rest until it froths up.
Sieve flour and salt to mix them thoroughly. (In practice I generally just mix them with a whisk in the mixing bowl.
Make a well and pour in yeast mixture and melted butter.
Mix together with your fingers. Rub your hands with a little butter and knead to make a soft smooth dough, about five minutes.
Cover dough and allow to rise for about two hours.

Divide into six portions and gently roll into small loaves on a lightly floured surface.

Brush with egg yolk.

Bake on greased baking tray for 10 to 15 minutes at 450º.

Serve immediately and be prepared to have people swooning at the goodness of them.

Moroccan Stew

Looks like stew. Picture will follow next time I make it.

One recipe Berber Spice Mixture
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 pound stew beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef or chicken stock
1 zucchini, sliced
1 crookneck squash, sliced

Saute onion, peppers, carrots, and garlic in oil for about five minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Add stew beef in small handfuls and toss to brown. Lower heat and add Berber spice (the whole thing), tomatoes, squash, and stock. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes.

Check seasoning and add salt or pepper to taste.

Serve. This would go nicely with some Na'an bread or other soft loaves that could be torn apart rather than sliced.

B'har / Berber / Berbere / Bahar / Baharat

There seem to be as many recipes for Middle Eastern spice mixtures as there are people in the middle east who cook, and as many spellings as there are variations. I grew up eating food made with B'har, the internet lists bahar as the most common spelling that I can find, baharat is the Arabic word for spice, and berbere (the Ethiopian version) seems to have about the same ingredients.

My mother spent years cooking with b'har that she would purchase in bulk when she found it, not realizing that spices lose their flavor when stored for long periods of time. Recently she got back in touch with an Arabic friend (who used to look after us when we lived in Israel) and discovered that the friend makes her own. She is currently working on getting that recipe and it will be posted here once I have it from her.

This recipe is technically a berber that I used in my Moroccan stew recipe.

Berber Spice Mixture

2 Tbsp cumin seed or 1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp fennel seed
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 Tbsp whole allspice berries
3 whole cloves
1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp grated ginger
Pinch saffron
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric

Grind with mortar and pestle or in spice grinder.
If you don't have either of the above you can just put it into the stew the way it is. I prefer the ground up option.

Beef Stroganoff Stew

Basically what you are seeing here is a low budget beef stroganoff (ie made with ground beef) with vegetables added so that it can be called a stew. Easy to make, tasty and filling.

Warning: All quantities are approximate as I tend to make these up as I go along.

2 tbsp olive oil (or any other oil you like cooking with)
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 red or green bell pepper
1 zucchini or crookneck squash, sliced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream

Saute onion and bell pepper over medium high heat for about two minutes.
Add beef in small handfuls, tossing frequently to brown the meat.
Add mushrooms and toss the whole thing. Cover for about two minutes.
Add squash and toss the whole thing. Cover and cook for ten minutes.
Stir in sour cream, bring to a boil, shut off heat and serve.

This can be served as is or over egg noodles.