January 13, 2006

A Little Spice is Always Nice

My home computer is still on the injured list, so no photos at the moment. Thank goodness for lunch hours!

As I mentioned in my Grinding In the New Year post, I have grown to appreciate the premixing of spices - particularly when they are blended by hand to the taste of the cook. When I mentioned my Cajun spice blend, reader PatL wondered if it was anything like Tony Chachere's. I still can't answer that, although a little internet research suggests that Chachere's has low-salt versions of their regular product. I saw some "look-alike" recipes which contained appalling things like Accent (MSG) and a boat-load of salt, but there are a limited number of recipes out there for Cajun and Creole seasonings, and most online versions that I can find all sport similar ingredients. Certainly the major-players (ground red pepper, black pepper, garlic, onion & thyme) seem to be present in almost every version.

Below is my basic blend, but I confess that I tweak it depending on what I have on-hand, and occasionally, whim. Sometimes I add dried basil, just a teeny bit, but usually I prefer to add basil fresh to the dish that I'm making, if it requires it. There's no salt here - I season my food quite lightly as far as sodium is concerned, so if I'm adding salt to a recipe I will do it separately from the spices.

Dawna's Cajun Spice

4-5 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons ground smoked paprika (or "hot" paprika)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon if using ground thyme)
2 tablespoon dehydrated garlic granules
2 tablespoon dehydrated onion granules
1 large bayleaf

Place ingredients in the belly of your spice grinder, and grind until a fine, uniform powder is achieved. Be careful not to inhale. This makes about 2/3 cup, or two regular-sized spice bottles full.

A note on the onion and garlic. I use dehydrated granules, which is superior to powder in part because of the way in which they are processed. Powders always smell flat and a little metallic to me, and they are hard to reconstitute into a nice-smelling paste. The coarser dehydrated granules, on the other hand, have all kinds of uses, and work very well in this sort of spice blend.

I have the sudden urge to make Jambalaya, now...

4 comments:

Michele said...

Love the recipe Dawna, I love to mix my own spices. BTW, you've been tagged by me for a meme. :)

Typical INgredients said...

Hi Dawna,

You finally back but still having trouble-sigh!

Anyway, I love to make my own spices too and yours is quite simple and yet very tasty.

Take care..

Tin

Dawna said...

Thanks! Michele, I'll check out the meme and see what I can do.

Tin, I hope my computer woes will be sorted out soon - but there's only so many hours in the day...

I should have mentioned that I sometimes include a little oregano (just about a teaspoon) to the above recipe.

sailu said...

That's a nice recipe ..I like the name of the recipe too.:):)
Btw,I've tagged you for Common Cold Remedies Meme here.
I hope you can participate but if you'd rather not, I understand.