Archive for November, 2008

The Spice of Life



I had mentioned a set of spice mixes in a previous post.  So, I thought I’d share a couple of other mixes I use.  Lucky and I inherited a set of little glass apothecary jars when we moved into the farm.  I’ve used these little guys extensively.  Note the lack of labels.  That usually means I have to double check by popping the top and taking a whiff.  Also, to make the mixes last longer, I’ve put them away into the cabinet, so UV light doesn’t accelerate the breakdown process.

I always seem to start with a base spice mix and then add to it.  The base mix has coriander, cumin, yellow mustard seed, black pepper.  I then add to them particular spices to reflect the particular dish or ethnic region.

Spice Mix technique


Heat dry skillet on med high heat. Add whole spices. Roast until seeds start to pop or become fragrant. Remove to bowl and let cool. Place 1/3 of the mixture in grinder or quantity per grinder instructions in a clean coffee grinder. Grind on finest setting. Pass through fine sieve (shake, do not press). Return sieved portion back to grinder and regrind, re-sieve. Repeat for 3rd time. Complete until all whole spice mix ground and sieved.

Not-So-Secret Everyday Spice mix


Coriander 1 part

Cumin ½ part

Black Peppercorn ½ part

Dry mustard seed ½ part

Ancho Chili 3 whole dried (seeded, stemmed)

Hungarian Paprika (sweet) ¼ part

Follow Spice Mix technique for Coriander, Cumin, Black Peppercorn, Dry Mustard and Ancho Chili. Add Paprika. Mix thoroughly. Store in clean, dry, sealable container.

Taste Notes: Spice mix starts with round notes from Coriander and cumin, leading to sharp notes from black pepper and Ancho. Ancho chili dark smoky notes dominate finish with heat on the tongue from pepper and chili.

This is my everyday spice for chicken, fish, and steaks.

Pot Roast spice mix


Coriander – 1 part

Cumin – ½ part

Black Pepper ½ part

Dry Mustard seed ½ part

Fenugreek (Methi*) 1 part

* Methi is the Indian term for Fenugreek

Prepare Pot Roast spice mix using spice mix technique.

Tasting notes: The aroma overall impression of spice mix is a subtle sweetness which combines nicely with the round buttery notes from the coriander and cumin. Black pepper provides a slight heat.

Game Spice

(taken from Elements of Taste p203 )

Coriander – 2 parts

Juniper berry – 1 part

Black Pepper 1 part

Allspice – 1/2 part

Cumin – 1/2 part

Tasting notes: The coriander provides a round base for the floral and spice notes of Juniper, Allspice, and Cumin. The pepper pushes everything forward with a subtle picante heat.

Recommendations: wild game, venison, duck or beef.


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