What’s in your Spice Box?!!

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt was it for me. I AM GUILTY!! I seasoned or, it seasoned everything for me. Don’t get me wrong Lawry’s is still a staple in my kitchen in a much smaller container and in the back of the cupboard, but it’s there. There were flavors I enjoyed: cajun, smoky, asian etc. that I didn’t get from Lawry’s. I bought spices and seasonings but didn’t know how to create the flavors I was looking for. I wanted to know how to develop those flavors on my own.  I get excited when I mixed my spices and come up with flavors that elevate something as inedible (for me) as a carrot to a scrumptious dish.

About 10 years ago I started going to the co-op/Organic food source and playing with herbs and spices. I made rubs for barbecue, spice mixes for seafood and mixtures for dips. Picking up already made blends was huge for me. I recall taking blends home and trying to figure out what was in the bag.   I needed to know why they went together and what else could they be paired with. It wasn’t until years later I found out about THE FLAVOR BIBLE.  It was a Christmas gift to myself, this year.

I discovered there are far more sources for spices online, stores, bulk, organic, free and so on. Considering their shelf life and the cost I still visit the co-op or stores that sell them by weight and refill the jars I have at home. It saves money, time and gives me the opportunity to unearth new herbs and spices.

                                               …can I get a refill

I recently catered a holiday event and I was in charge of the vegetables and protein. Roast Beef,  Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Root Vegetables and Roasted Red Pepper Soup…(Umami Girl). The caveat was making sure they stood out, but were uniformed. RIGHT!!!  I had to do something quickly…got the menu at 7 a.m. and the meal was served at 12. I immediately grabbed the tarragon and mustard powder…protein done. I pulled down the thyme, paprika, oregano,  and bay leaves. Potatoes, Cauliflower and Soup, done. Now to root vegetables. I didn’t want them to mirror the others yet stand in line with them. I thought, I’m not a huge carrot fan, well I didn’t used to be, but these foods are making me wanna try something. I pulled down nutmeg, turmeric and used a few spices I had on the counter with some sugar to caramelize them.  What’s in your spice box. What spices can you not finish your dish  without?

Roasted Red Peppers, Garlic and Potatoes

Three lbs of rainbow carrots peeled, washed and cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices. Don’t make them too small. Steam the carrots for 10 min. They’ll cook and caramelize quickly while roasting.

In a separate bowl put 3 tbs of sugar, 1 tsp of ground mustard, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of paprika,1/2 tsp of nutmeg and a pinch of pepper.

Remove the carrots and allow to cool for 10 min. Place the cooled carrots on a sheet pan. Drizzle a little olive oil, the seasoning and toss well.  Put in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 min. Remove from the oven into a serving dish with a lot of fresh chopped dill. It accompanies these spices very well. Depending on what you’re serving the carrots with, you could swap out some of the spices with ginger, cumin, coriander…. Enjoy!!

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