I know there are lots of ready-made spice blends out there, but sometimes it’s nice to have exactly what I want the way I want it–nothing less, and nothing more. Something to go with my rather plain food that isn’t too spicy and isn’t salty and has no black pepper in it, which I don’t do well with. Something that actually helps me digest my food, eases inflammation, adds the pungency of garden herbs and the tiniest hint of smoke. That’s when I ask my spice genie to come out of the bottles and bags of spices in my cupboard and help me dream up something to shake on just about everything I want to eat–and even everything Romeo eats.
Of course there isn’t really a spice genie in my cupboard (although it seems like it since the cupboard door is always opening itself without my help). But I take down the four things in this blend enough times as I am preparing my simple meals to realize it might be fun to mix them up and see what they taste like altogether. And that’s when this simple magic became part of my routine.
This blend is good on just about any of the things I make regularly like Bright Yellow Split Pea and Rice Pilaf, Cold Snap Millet and Lentil Stew, red quinoa-brown-rice-lentil stuffed squash, in between black beans, or just plain old rice–as you wish.
It’s savory, a bit woody, a bit sweet and a bit smoky. It’s just right if you don’t want things really hot. Or if you’re trying to cut down on salt but would like some extra flavor (that also helps ease digestion and inflammation). I get all of the components in bulk at my Co-op, so hopefully they won’t be too hard for you to find either. And even though the handsome Wesley from The Princess Bride doesn’t appear to say “As you wish” when I make this spice blend, it still makes lunch and dinner more fun.
As You Wish Spice Blend
1 tbs of no salt added poultry seasoning
2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of fennel powder
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
Mix in a small bowl. It should be just a little orange, but not too orange. Taste with your finger. If you like it, leave it. If it needs more of one of these, add a little more. Taste again. Put in a small bottle with a shaker cap on it and sprinkle this on top of whatever your heart desires.
These proportions are a guess. Honestly, I probably don’t make it exactly the same each time I feel up a shaker jar. I just look at the color after I mix it and taste until it reminds me of the first time I made it (or the last time I ate it). So experiment with amounts and use the proportions that taste best to you.
You can add garlic or onion granules to this if you like. I keep them separate so I can flavor Romeo’s food with this, too. And because it’s fun not to depend on those for flavor all the time.
If you can’t find fennel powder, you can make your own by grinding whole fennel seeds in a spice grinder (I have a coffee grinder designated for just such purposes.) And if you can’t grind up fennel seeds or don’t like them, you could try cumin powder in this instead. I always have ground fennel around because I like to add it to the cooking water when I’m cooking beans. It helps with digestion.
Now when others start shaking on the extra salt and pepper, I have an alternative. Especially if you’re not someone who can tolerate a lot of hot sauce, like me. To keep with my post-modern fairy tale theme, I’m with Goldilocks on this one–it’s “just right”–even though I probably wouldn’t put it on my oatmeal.
And now for the Give-Away:
I ended up with more “Yours for the Picking” cards than I thought I would, so I am able to give a 5 pack of this card design away:
It’s really simple. All you have to do is leave a comment. Over the weekend I’ll have Random.org pick a number (randomly, of course, from the automatically numbered comments, and then I’ll announce the winner. I apologize to my wonderful international readers that I can only offer this to readers living in the US. So if you live in the States, maybe you’ll be the one to get a set of Slow Miracle pomegranate valentines that say “Yours for the Picking.”
PS: One more thing, if I don’t want to end up picking myself over and over, I’m going to have to refrain from commenting on this post until after the give away is over this weekend. So if you have a specific question about the spice blend, hang on, I’ll answer it then, or you can you can ask me on the blog’s facebook page or e-mail me and I’ll answer that way as soon as I can, too.