Keep your taste buds happy. Use these spice rack basics in unexpected ways to add fabulous flavor to everything you cook.
Stir ¼ teaspoon into a smoothie or sprinkle it into a cup of green tea. It also tastes great on sliced peaches and winter squash.
Simmer one in your vanilla pudding for a sophisticated flavor. And don’t forget to add a bay leaf to rice or grains before cooking.
A sprinkle of thyme elevates canned soup to gourmet status. It’s equally delicious stirred into mashed potatoes and store-bought chicken salad.
Use it to wake up a ho-hum turkey or ham sandwich or add pizzazz to your potato chips and oven fries.
It’s classic in apple pie but also provides an unexpected burst of flavor to popcorn and chocolate-chip cookies, oven baked chicken and meat dishes.
This citrusy spice adds a refreshing kick to marinades, grilled meat, roasted potatoes and baked goods. Try it in cookies and breads.
It’s delicious tossed on potatoes or cauliflower before roasting; a dash also gives grilled cheese sandwiches an exotic edge.
The subtitle flavor perks up meatballs, turkey burgers and bread stuffing. Try adding it to olive oil before you sauté veggies.
Use it to rev up crab cakes, shrimp salad and chicken soup. Or toss with mixed nuts to add major flavor.
Dried Red Pepper
A pinch of cayenne or red-pepper flakes adds a pleasant heat to omelets, guacamole and salad dressing.
Play up the graceful organic shapes of dried gourds by painting them in rich shades of purple, orange, yellow and shiny gold. Group them in a shallow bowl on a kitchen table or arrange them simply on a shelf.
“Comfort food is about nostalgia. When I eat barbecue, it takes me back to my childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas. We’d have barbecue for every special occasion — Easter, birthdays, baptisms. These days I make a brisket, which I slow-roast and cover with a more contemporary, Latin-influenced sauce. It’s a favorite dish at my restaurant, Beso, in Las Vegas.”
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons anise seed
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 6- to 7-pound brisket, excess fat trimmed
- Beso BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1. Combine sugar, salt, anise, fennel, garlic and onion powders, juniper berries, and paprika in a bowl; rub over both sides of brisket. Place meat in a roasting pan and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 10 to 24 hours.
2. Heat oven to 275°F. Discard all marinating juices. Pour 4 cups Beso BBQ Sauce and chicken broth over brisket; cover pan tightly with foil. Roast until tender, 5½ to 6 hours. Allow brisket to cool slightly before slicing thinly; serve with cooking juices and remaining BBQ sauce.
Serves 6 to 8.
Beso BBQ Sauce
- In a saucepan cover one 2-ounce package (4 to 5) dried mulatto or ancho chilies with water and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool, discard stems, and roughly chop; set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 seeded and chopped jalapeno, and 1 peeled and cored apple; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in one 6-ounce can tomato paste, 1¼ cups apple cider vinegar, one 12-ounce jar unsulfured molasses, 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and reserved chilies. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in 3 cups of ice. In batches, puree sauce in a blender. Can be kept refrigerated, up to 3 weeks.
Makes 7 cups.
“I love anything with lemon, and this pie is that delicious combination of tart and sweet with a crispy crust. My mother made a great lemon meringue pie, but hers was not a mile high. I wanted mine to be more special, so I added extra egg whites — to make the topping higher — and sugar to make it sweeter. Comfort food is something you’d eat standing at the refrigerator with a spoon — and simply can’t stop eating. I probably could devour this entire pie all by myself…and I’m really not kidding.”
- 1 recipe pate brisee (recipe follows)
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ⅔ cup sifted cake flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 recipe meringue (recipe follows)
- Heat oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface roll one single crust of the pate brisee into a circle that’s ⅛ inch thick and transfer to a 9-inch pie tin. Trim and crimp edges decoratively, then chill until firm. Prick bottom of the shell with a fork, line with parchment paper, and add pie weights or dried beans; bake until edges begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights; continue baking until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes more. Let cool.
- For filling, combine cornstarch, cake flour, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, then cook until it becomes very thick and almost translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat. Whisk in egg yolks one at a time. Return pan to low heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in the lemon zest and butter. Transfer to a bowl set over ice water and let mixture cool, stirring occasionally. Pour into cooled crust; cover and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Prepare meringue, then pile on top of pie and spread evenly so that it touches crust all around. Broil until brown, about 2 minutes, watching constantly to avoid burning. Serve at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.
In the bowl of a food processor combine 2½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. With machine running, add ¼ to ½ cup ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; don’t process more than 30 seconds. Divide dough into 2 equal balls, wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten. Refrigerate 1 hour before using or freeze up to 1 month. Makes one 9-inch double crust or two single crusts.
Combine 7 egg whites, ¾ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Beat until warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl from heat and whip mixture to stiff peaks.