Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Spice it up - Simple homemade spice mixes

Hey ohhh. Happy Wednesday. The day after I over-salt my rice and eat the dinner portion instead of throwing it out and making another batch, and have to drink 20394830984 gallons of water last night while wondering if salt poisoning is a thing and I'm STILL thirsty this morning seems like a good day to share spice mix recipe recommendations with you. No? Don't worry, I threw the rest of it out. 


I'm cooking through my freezer and pantry right now, which I try to do every January or February. Carol went through my spices in Philly and at the shore at the end of the year and purged all expired ones. I am out of taco seasoning here and was going to run to the store then I was like wait, I used to make this myself. So I did that instead, and it got me thinking about other things that are easy to make yourself if you are in the middle of cooking or don't feel like running out to the store. 

Please please please for the love of all that is holy, season your food while you are prepping and cooking it. PLEASE.

And of course the great thing about making them at home is that you have total control over what goes into the mix and how strong or mild the flavor will be. Here are a few off the top of my head-ish:

Homemade taco seasoning is great for uh, well as any type of taco pasta dish or to flavor chicken or add to your favorite cold taco dip.

1 tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix together and use 3 tablespoons for a packet. I typically make a large amount and store in an airtight glass container.

Homemade Seasoned Salt is an easy way to add flavor to your food. It is a great way to use up leftover herbs and spices, and it takes just minutes to make. Also...speaking of salt...this is a seasoned SALT so it is going to be SALTY. Use accordingly.
-1/4 cup kosher Salt
-4 tablespoons ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon Garlic powder
-1 teaspoon Onion powder
-1/4 teaspooon ground red/Cayenne pepper
-1 teaspoon Paprika

To Make:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an airtight container. Use as desired to season food before cooking.

Homemade Curry Powder Indian curry powder is a homemade spice mix typically made of coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and chili powder. It can be used to season chicken, beef, fish, or vegetables.

½ teaspoon ground coriander 
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon turmeric
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of red pepper flakes
 ¼-½ teaspoon chili powder

To make:
In a small bowl, combine ingredients. Depending on how spicy you want it, stir in in ¼-½ teaspoon chili powder. Store in an airtight container. 

You can also add other spices such as cinnamon or cardamom for extra flavor. This mix will keep for about six months stored in an airtight container.

Homemade Lemon Pepper is great for seasoning fish, chicken, or pork. You can also add it to homemade dressings and marinades. It's fresh AF and that comes through on the food.

½ teaspoon lemon zest (from about one large lemon)
¾ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make: 
Combine the following in an airtight container. Keeps at room temp for three months

Homemade Italian Seasoning is easy and it can be tailored to your taste. All you need is a blend of dried herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. You can also add in some ground black pepper and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Without the peppers it is quite mild, which mine reflects because I don't like red chili flakes much. If you do and want the heat, go up to like 1 TBS of those. I go something like this:

-2 TBS basil
-2 TBS oregano
-1 TBS rosemary
-1 TBS thyme
-2 TBS parsley
-1 TSP garlic powder
-1/2 TSP red chili flakes

To make: 
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Then store it in an airtight container until ready to use. It will keep for several months.

You can use homemade Italian seasoning on pasta dishes, pizza, or any other dish on which you would generally use Italian-seasoned bread crumbs. It's also great sprinkled over roasted vegetables or chicken breasts before baking them.

Those are just a few examples of how you can conjure spice mixes out of what you have separately spice-wise most of the time. 

If I'm buying spice blends, I prefer Penzey's (fox point and garlic salt seasoning are staples but most of their catalog is excellent), and McCormick mixes - the garlic, onion, black pepper, and sea salt is perfection. Chef Curl Ardee is Black-woman owned and the mild seasoning is chef's freaking kiss. 

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