Thursday, 31 May 2012
spicing it up
I've come to realize that my biggest ally in learning to make things from scratch in the kitchen is my spice cupboard. I've always been a bit afraid of these guys, and therefore underused them, which never allowed me to learn what they can really do.
I had all these preconceived notions about herbs and spices from a lifetime of never experiencing them properly*. For example, I always thought I hated pepper for some reason. I also thought I didn't like fennel because I don't like licorice. I was intimidated by stronger spices like curry and cayenne, and totally baffled by exotic ones like paprika. I thought cinnamon was only for apple pie and oatmeal.
Now I know better. I know that I only thought I didn't like pepper, because I only ever realized I was eating it when there was too much and it bit me in the back of the throat and made me cough. I know that fennel does taste like licorice, but not like a Twizzler (yuck). I know that spicy can mean flavourful, not just hot. And I know that one of the best places to put cinnamon is in chili.
The best result of being the cook in the family is that it gives me the freedom to experiment and learn. When I only cooked once in awhile, I always played it safe, not wanting to screw it up. But now that I make three meals a day, I don't mind playing around. If the meal tanks, I can redeem myself a few hours later with the next one.
I thought I would go out on a limb and share some recipes with you over the next few days- featuring my freshly beefed-up spice cabinet! I am a glass jar hoarder, and now that I'm using my spices up way faster than before, I've started buying them in bulk and transfered them from those little dinky bottles into more substantial jars.
Today is an easy one, but so yummy!
Cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips
You will need:
a baking sheet
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave.
2. Cut the tortillas into triangles while the butter is melting.
3. Brush both sides of the chips with butter. If you don't have a brush just use your fingers!
4. Sprinkle both, or just one side, of each chip with cinnamon and sugar. Be generous :). You could also add a bit of nutmeg if you want, too.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until they look golden brown and crispy- about 15 minutes. Don't turn the oven to broil to speed it up- the sugar will burn.
If you can resist not eating them all as soon as they're done (these ones lasted about 10 minutes), they are delicious to eat with ice cream, whipped cream and berries. ~Choir of angels singing~
*Note, this is not a jab at my biggest culinary teacher, my mother. I guess I just didn't pay enough attention to her cooking to realize, when I tasted something great that she made, the sources of those yummy flavours.