Seasoning a dish is one of my favorite things, especially with soups. It is a creative, sensory experience:The smelling, the tasting, the sprinkling and pinching. (Insert scene from “Ratatouille” with Remy “getting fancy with the spices” here) With a few basics, you can mix and match and control the flavor of what you are making to suit your individual tastes – pure control (insert video of Jeremy Clarkson in Top Gear UK yelling POWER here)
I never buy pre-seasoned breadcrumbs so I can customize them for each recipe…
BUT I’m also smart enough to realize that sometimes convenience and speed trumps control-freaky-ness – I also recognize that other people can do the blending much better sometimes.
I have three blends that I always keep on hand:
Yellow curry powder – I have single spices like tumeric, coriander and cumin on hand too, but I just don’t have the energy or motivation to twink around experimenting with proportions of the long list of spices that goes into a good curry powder. I leave that to the pros…like I’ve said, my recipes are the wacky-aunt variety, not the trained chef variety. But how easy is it to put a little of this magic mixture into heated garbanzo beans and pour them over rice for a veggie curry? Or put some in “white” chili for depth of flavor ? Or in hummis for variety? Of course, putting it in a sauce for chicken goes without saying…
Chili Powder – ditto
Old Bay – This is a new discovery – thanks to my neighbor Veronica. She is the one who tipped me off to sprinkling Old Bay on buttered popcorn for a Cajun flavor. It is also amazing in squash or pumpkin soup. I guess you could boil crab in it too…but what’s the fun in that? (Other than eating crab, that is.) The thing I like about Old Bay is the amount of heat…it is just right for my taste. If I did take the time to make my own blend, it would have this heat- to-flavor ratio anyway. So why not let them do the work?
Anyone can learn to gourmet season things…but you might not necessarily WANT to do that. Can is a far cry from should. It is just like we talk about on the Tarot blog…everyone HAS intuitive ability, and anyone CAN be psychic/read tarot cards…not everyone WANTS to do that for themselves. I could learn to change the oil in my car – but I don’t want to. So if there is a place in this world for psychics and auto mechanics, there is a place in my kitchen for pre-fab spice blends.