Cooking With Currie

Remember mom’s meatloaf? The one she spent hours making, perfectly seasoned with… McCormick’s meatloaf seasoning packets?!?! Or how about the chili, taco, or sloppy joe seasoning? And how many times have we grabbed the blackening seasoning in a last ditch attempt to make that fish or chicken taste like… well anything??? Never again. Do yourself a favor and stock up on some basic dry spices instead of ‘who-actually-knows-what’s-in-there’ packets and create your own spice blends unique to your home. Bottle them up for gifts with a personal flair.

 

Seasoned Salt – makes 1 cup

Basic seasoning great for complementing food’s natural flavor. Try generously dusting  burgers or steaks just before cooking, sprinkle on roasted, grilled, or sauteed vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, or squash, or use to amp up pizza doughs or croissants. 

1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns (or 3/4 TBSP ground black pepper)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons granulated garlic (or 3 1/2 TBSP garlic powder)
2 Tablespoons granulated onion (or 1  1 /2 TBSP onion powder)

Mix ingredients well in either blender or spice grinder (a mortar and pestle can also be used). Store in air-tight container for up to 6 months.

 

Cajun Seasoning – makes 1 1/2 cup

This seasoning blend is awesome on baked chicken legs, chicken breasts, or fish… especially with a hit of fresh citrus. My husband uses this on almost everything he makes! Use this when you need a little spiciness in your dish.

1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons thyme
2 Tablespoons basil
3 Tablespoons oregano
1/3 cup hot paprika
3 Tablespoons granulated onion 
Knife tip habanero powder (optional)

Mix ingredients well in either blender or spice grinder (a mortar and pestle can also be used). Store in air-tight container for up to 6 months.

 

Chili Powder – makes 1/2 cup

Use where you would normally used store-bought chili powder in chili, soups, or sprinkled onto fish or chicken with a little fresh lime and additional salt. You can find dried chiles at spanish or asian supermarkets. Experiment with different flavors and varieties to find you favorite blends. For my blend I use: pasilla chiles (these smell like chocolate), ancho (smoky flavored), and arbol (smells like hot wing sauce) but you can use any local variety you choose. Its a project, but well worth undertaking.

De-seed the peppers (wearing gloves: slice them, removing the tops and remove the membranes with the seeds attached or shake out the seeds. Cut the peppers into strips and lightly toast them in a dry saute pan for a few minutes till they become fragrant. (***Warning do this with your house open and with fans on to draw out the smoke you will effectively sear your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in one fell swoop… my mom can attest to this***) Let the peppers cool and grind them separately in a spice grinder. Store in air-tight container for up to 1 year.

2 Tablespoons Arbol chiles
3 Tablespoons Pasilla chiles
2 Tablespoons Ancho chiles
2 Tablespoons whole cumin seeds
3 Tablespoons granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

Prepare chiles as directed above for de-seeding, toasting, and grinding. Toast cumin seeds in a dry saute pan for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool completely. Mix chiles, cumin, garlic, oregano, and paprika in a spice grinder or blender and mix well. Store in air-tight container for up to 6 months.

 

Chili Seasoning – makes about 1/3 cup (enough for 1 batch or about 1.5# of meat)

Mmmmmm homemade chili! Is there anything more filling than a bowl of meaty, beany, spicy chili? Maybe with some corn chips, crackers, or corn bread thrown in there? This seasoning blend was inspired by my father-in-law who shares my random cravings for chili. Feel free to add a dash (or knife tip) of habanero powder if you can find it! 

1/4 cup flour (not self rising)*
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon granulated onion
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients well. Add to meat during making of chili after browning and before the addition of any liquids. *Flour acts as thickening agent and masa or corn flour can be used instead or flour can be omitted completely for a thinner soup.

 

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