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...


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..


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.