Spicy, Spicy…

Hey There,

Happy Monday yall! If you all follow me on my IG page (check out a few pics. from my feed on my homepage. Better yet, follow me on IG) then you all know that I had a wild food weekend. One of my friends came into town and I were out galavanting the RVA streets (not really, LOL). We went to a local winery (my first experience) and then out to eat at some of the cities trendiest and tastiest restaurants. Now I LOVE eating out but after eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the past day and a half, I need a green, crunchy vegetable in my life or at least a homemade meal. So for the next couple of days, I am going to focus on getting my eating back on track.

While I’m stuffing my face with fresh fruits, salads, and vegetables I did want to share with you all a few of the spices that I have been playing around with lately. Some of them are staples while others are new to me (I’m still trying to figure out how to use some of the newer spices).

Check out the list below and tell me what you think. Let me know if any of the “new-to-me” spices are staples in your kitchen. If they are staples, tell me how you use them because honestly, I am struggling with some of them. I can’t wait to read your comments.

See ya on Friday!

~Samantha J.

(s) – staple (n) – new-to-me

  1. Salt (s) – upper right-hand corner
  2. Thyme (s) – far left on the second row from the top
  3. Black Peppercorns (s) – second-row center
  4. Star Anise (n) – third in the second-row from the top
  5. Garlic (s) – far left on the third-row from the top
  6. Rose Petals (n) – third-row right center
  7. Fennell(s) – third-row left center
  8. Za’atar (s) – third-row far right. In large tablespoon
  9. Harissa (n) – below large tablespoon
  10. Red Pepper Flakes (s) – far left, fourth-row
  11. Oregano (s) – fourth-row, left-center
  12. Dried Fennel Seeds (n) – fourth-row, right center
  13. Ras El Hanout(n) – fourth-row, far right.

Turmeric and Cumin Shrimp Tacos

Hey There,

As you all know, one of my culinary goals this year is to try different foods. I’ve been making a lot of Middle Eastern dishes (posts coming soon) but I have also been experimenting a lot with different spices, some old, some new. My local grocery store has expanded their spice collection to include a lot of Middle Eastern and North African spices so I have been playing around with those but I have also revisited a few of the spice that I have that I rarely reach for. Two of which are cumin and turmeric.

I actually use cumin more frequently than turmeric. About a year ago, I stopped using pre-packaged taco seasoning (too much salt) and opted to make my own. Cumin is the main ingredient in taco seasoning so whenever I make ground beef tacos I use that. Turmeric, on the other hand, is a different story. I don’t think I have ever actually used it in a dish until today.

When it comes to trying out new spices, I think tacos are a great recipe to incorporate them into to. You can make a simple chicken taco with lettuce, cheese and sour cream and flavor it with any seasoning you want to try. Since the other ingredients (lettuce, cheese and sour cream) don’t have strong competing flavors you can really get a good taste of what the spice taste like.

For this recipe, I made a simple spice blend (cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar) to season my shrimp tacos. I simply, seasoned the shrimp, sauteed them and threw together some slaw, tomato and cilantro and wrapped it in a flour tortilla. Instead of using salsa, I opted for the ginger, jalapeno cashew sauce that I featured a few posts back. The results were wonderful.

I hope that you consider making this blend. If you do, be aware that turmeric is a bright yellow color and easily stains fingers and clothes. Be careful!