Saturday, May 22, 2010

spice of life

I've been exploring spice lately, and in my quest to cook as much as possible, I've learned that I find cooking to be cathartic and almost therapeutic. I've made homemade mac and cheese (first time in my adult life), made my own alfredo sauce from scratch (this DOES actually require heavy cream -- not milk and cornstarch, which although they taste fine has a really bizarre, lumpy and goopy look), and have been experimenting with spice. I found an awesome spice shop called Savory. They have an online shop and stores in Colorado, and she has a show on the Food Network -- Spice and Easy, which although I haven't seen it yet, have set to record with DVR. I love love love love love the shop, and could very easily spend tons of money in there, but everything is totally affordable - they have curries that I of course zeroed in on, but also all variety of mushrooms and baking spices... and much more. I actually fell in love with their honey powder, which I have been putting on my popcorn.

Awesome foods that I've made in the last week:
  • Betty Crocker's Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
  • Thai Red Chicken Curry (I cheated here and used a spice packet from an Asian food store), ate one serving and froze
  • Thai Green Chicken & Eggplant Curry - Savory's recipe. Awesome. Didn't make enough of the sauce, so I made another batch of just the juice, coconut milk, curry paste plus added Chinese red peppers, bamboo shoots, and cilantro sprigs. Again froze most of it.
  • Pasta Alfredo with breaded and pan fried eggplant (left over from the Green curry). For the alfredo I tried using milk and cornstarch first, but got a lumpy white sauce. Then I forgot to add the cheese, so stirred it into the pasta white sauce mix, with ugly but tasty results. Night two, I made more pasta, and bought heavy whipping cream, and did the sauce right (including mixing the cheese correctly) and added everything together for a very tasty result.
  • AMAZING Guacamole. I realized that with all of the amazing cooking I've been doing I had everything I needed to make a great guac and was just missing the chips.
    • Mix two ripe avocados, one diced Roma tomato, four diced green onions, about a dozen diced cilantro sprigs, one diced jalapeno, and a tablespoon of lime juice. Mash all together and serve for a tasty, all natural, all fresh guac. Super easy AND super tasty.
I've learned that cilantro may be my favorite herb and flavor and I love the way it smells and tastes. I especially love how my hands smell after chopping. Hopefully I can perfect all of these awesome recipes in the next few weeks. I cannot wait to make for Klark!


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