Tomato Figs

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

spice up your life

{Maple View Farm in Hillsborough, NC // fall fields}

It finally feels like fall here in good ole Arkansas.
Highs in the mid-70s, lows in the high 40s = sweet bliss.
Nothing is better than breathing in that crisp, clean fall air, walking around in shorts and flannel, and falling asleep with the windows open.

One of fall's greatest gifts comes in the form of spices.  I've already talked about this a little bit. Whether they are whole or ground up, spices make the world go round.

Recently, I've been trying to make more things myself and not buying everything.  I like to make my own blend of seasonings, preferring a slightly different taste than the ones pre-packaged.  I also like to make a lot of blends at once.  It's nice to have a large stockpile at hand.
Another thing that I've been thinking about doing (especially as it gets closer and closer to the holiday season) is making these homemade blends for family and friends (hehe).

Check out my previous post about an infused salt. Seriously, not exaggerating...I use the salt blends in every meal I cook.  

{Spice Blends #1 & #2 // fall flannel + shorts + sandals}

For the spice blend, I looked up some combinations online.  Quickly, I realized that whole spices are the way to go  (duh me).  I thought about the spices I use the most for these mixes, and used some blends I found online as guides.  However, I followed these mixes just for picking out the spices.  When it came to measuring out the spices and deciding the ratios between all of them, I totally went with my gut.  

{Spice Blend #1…or is it #2 // sniff test}

This was so much fun to create.  I highly encourage you to go out and make your own flavor-flave. 

All you really need are the following things:
[1] Spice Grinder
[2] An assortment of whole spices

That's it. It's so incredibly simple. I'd say the only down side is the initial investment (purchase).  If you've already got whole spices on hand, great!  You just have to buy a spice grinder…but maybe you already have one? Or an empty one? Yay! Just make sure you can take the lid off to add more spices (something I didn't realize-I spent part of my afternoon trying to get the lid off of an old garlic-salt grinder…grrr).  Even though it will cost a little bit to buy the whole spices, it's a good investment.  You can use these spices for so many things. Use them in your everyday cooking or make another spice blend for a friend! Either way someone will be happy.

{Spice Blend #2}

Spice Blend #1 & #2

#1 Ingredients: 
Remember to use whole spices aka not ground 

peppercorn mix (or whatever peppercorns you prefer)
fennel seed
coriander seed
coarse sea salt (or kosher salt)

#2 Ingredients: 
Remember to use whole spices aka not ground

peppercorn mix (or whatever peppercorns you prefer)
coarse sea salt (or kosher salt)
red pepper flakes
cumin seed
coriander seed
celery seed
fennel seed
brown mustard seed

[1] Measure out your spices based on the ratios you think will taste good*. For the grinders I had (the peppercorn and sea salt grinders I purchased for their spices and grinders), it took a little less than 1 1/2 tablespoons of all of the spices to fill those suckers. [2] Place  the measured out spices in a bowl [3] Stir the spices together until they are well incorporated aka don't have a bunch of peppercorn over here not playing nice with the rosemary [4] Slowly transfer the spice mix into your grinders, making sure the spices stay incorporated and don't separate. 


On a separate, but just as important note, look what I finally*** found: 

{Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider // !!!!!!!!!!!!!!}

It wasn't as pumpkin-y as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, it was still delicious. 
Fall is the best.

* For #1 I added more thyme and rosemary than the other ingredients. I also used less fennel seed, because that shit strong. Tasty, but strong. For #2 I, again, used less fennel seed. My man friend and I also adore spicy food, so I added more red pepper flakes than others might like. My advice: be brave and again LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART (belly). You know what you like, so make what you would want. 

** Another idea for these spice blends: grind that shit out into a small bread dipping (?) bowl with olive oil and eat your little bread hearts out.

*** I've been looking for this cider for a couple of weeks. Every time I went into the liquor store or grocery store I searched in vain. When I found it last Friday, I shouted my victory to the rest of the liquor store customers and held it in the air as my prize. Embarrassing? Probably to my man friend, and maybe a little bit thinking back on it. Worth it? TOTALLY. C'MON IT'S PUMPKIN. CIDER. WHAT THE WHAT.

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