Cooking with custom spices is a great way to add flavor to just about anything you are grilling or even baking. Making your own custom spice blend is easier than you think once you get the hang of it.
Preparing Your Spices
Most spice rubs are a blend of hot and sweet flavors. They are called "spice rubs" because it is rubbed onto the meat or sprinkled on the fish before cooking. Although there are several spice blends available at the store, you will find you get a better, more pronounced flavor if you blend the spices yourself. This will also allow you to balance the hot-sweet ratio to suit your tastes. Most rubs have paprika and brown sugar in them. If there is a particular herb or spice that you especially like, you should throw that in also. Here is an example of cooking with custom spices by using a good spice rub for your chicken:
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Mix this up in a bowl and keep it in an air tight jar. This should keep for three months.
Take it Outside
Cooking with custom spices doesn't mean that you are chained to the stove. You can make your own barbecue sauce and take it to the grill. You are going to need:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon chili seasoning
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and garlic and sauté for two minutes. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, ketchup, chili seasoning, and stock and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Give it a taste and adjust the spices to suit you.
Now, all you have to do is rub the chicken with your spice rub and grill it. Once it's done, slather on your barbecue sauce and enjoy.
Hurry it's a Curry
Rather than buying a jar of curry that could have been sitting in the store for decades, you can just raid your spice rack. All you need is:
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons fenugreek
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot chili powder
- 1/4 cup turmeric
Grind the cumin, fenugreek, mustard, peppercorns, coriander, and poppy seeds in a spice grinder. Then, add the remaining spices. Kept in an air tight jar, this will last for three months. A good recipe for this blend is breaded curry chicken. You will need:
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 teaspoons curry spice mix
- 2 chicken breasts, skinless
- 2 cups breadcrumbs (if you like, you can use seasoned breadcrumbs or, if you have plain breadcrumbs, you may want to add to them some garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, and dried thyme)
- 1 stick of butter
Mix the egg yolks, garlic, and your curry powder in a bowl and add the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for at least one hour, but up to six hours is best. The longer it marinates the better.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Pour half of the butter into a baking dish and set your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the chicken with the bread crumbs and put it in the baking dish. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes and then turn them over and bake for another 20 minutes. Next, pour the remaining butter over the chicken and bake for 15 more minutes. Now you're cooking with custom spices.
Cooking with Custom Spices
Although cooking with custom spices is usually good for meats and poultry, you can also use your spice blends to add a bit of custom flavor to olives as well. Try this trick:
- 1 cup ripe olives
- 1 cup green olives
- 3 lemon slices
- 3 dried red chilies
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
- 3 allspice berries
- 2 cups olive oil
Mix all ingredients in bowl and pour into jar. Shake jar for 1 minutes. Let the olives marinate for a week.
These olives are a great addition to any table.