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Spices

Last week's houseguest brought me a treasure trove of spices I've never tried before. Each container comes with a few recommendations of how to use them, but I thought I might ask all of you for suggestions too, in case any of you have favorite recipes which call for Aleppo pepper, sumac berries, mahlab, or epazote.

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( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
chickenfeet2003
Jan. 30th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
epazote works well in blackeyed peas cooked with dried shrimp.
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC)
Black eyed peas are wonderful, but I haven't found any over here yet. I'll keep looking, especially now that I've found a handful of sources for black beans.
doctor_mama
Jan. 30th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
How do I love Aleppo pepper? Let me count the ways...
1. Toast a whole wheat bagel. Spread with ripe avocado and top with sliced tomato. Sprinkle with salt and AP.
2. Sprinkle AP on pizza.
3. Put it in egg, chicken, etc. salad.
4. Add to soups.
5. Include in spice rub for chicken or other meat to be grilled.
6. Scrambled eggs.
7. Green salad.
8. Pasta.

Haven't tried it on ice cream yet, but that day may be coming, as I love the flavor and gentle heat so much.

Sumac has a vaguely similar flavor without the heat.

If you want to try something really incredible, look into smoked Spanish paprika.
chickenfeet2003
Jan. 30th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
smoked paprika is teh evol. I use it all the time.
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
How versatile! I've never tried it before, but gentle heat sounds ideal for me. I'm glad I asked what to do with it, since the jar only recommends using it with meats. I don't do much with avocados but have always liked their flavor - an open faced bagel sandwich with AP sounds like a good way to start branching out.
wakarusa
Jan. 30th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
epazote is used throughout the US southwest (which we oh-so-rudely landgrabbed from Mexico, so I don't know if it is an Old World or New World herb) to cook with all sorts of beans. it is actually supposed to help reduce, um, the effects of eating beans as well.

what is mahlab?
doctor_mama
Jan. 30th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
From foodreference.com:
"Mahlab is a spice made from dried, ground, sour black cherry pits, used in the Middle East (Greece, Turkey, Syria). Mahlab has a highly fragrant nutty, bittersweet, sour taste."
wakarusa
Jan. 30th, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
sounds incredible. good on lamb?
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
The jar recommends it for sweet breads, dessert cookies and biscuits, but if it goes well with desserts, I'd think it would go well with lamb too.
chickenfeet2003
Jan. 30th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
epazote is native to the Americas
wakarusa
Jan. 30th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
ah, thanks.
marzapane
Jan. 30th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
which reminds me, can you send me more info on the proper uses of Himalayan Rock Salt, et al.? We used French hot springs salt on our brussels sprouts the other night because it's the only one that's fine enough to sprinkle on as is. Should I use a grinder for the others?
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
Of course! I brought printouts with me to D.C. and entirely forgot to give them to you and Gr. M.

Use a grinder on the rock salts, definitely. The sea salts might be better as is. Most of the recipes recommend encrusting things with it and then baking.
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
Reading over the jar, it certainly is useful for many things! Sauces, poultry, fish, salads, and drinks. Drinks? I wonder what drinks.
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Come over sometime and we can try it. After all, you'll be living vaguely near me soon! (Not that you have to live in the area for there to be visiting.)
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
Also, now that I look at the subtitle, I see that they are in fact ground sumac berries, so presumably the same thing you've used.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 31st, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
spice memo from the houseguest:
I have never had a drink made with sumac. however, I have enjoyed "cumin water": hot water in which ground cumin is placed (or cumin seeds, which would be easier), and then strained. like tea, minus the tea leaves. there is a cousin drink called "white coffee": hot flower water, lemon water, or orange water, variously described as a characteristic drink of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Egypt.
owlfish
Feb. 1st, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
Intriguing drinks! Thank you, houseguest. I'll try those.
a_d_medievalist
Jan. 30th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
This is the first time I've ever felt ignorant reading a cooking post ...
owlfish
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
I've never tried these and hadn't heard of mahlab or Aleppo pepper before being given them. It's educational for me too.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 31st, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
off-topic
after more than one year ( http://www.zonalibre.org/blog/demairena/archives/2004_12.html#064906 ), I found a spanish medievalist: http://www.medievalum.com/

best regards, JuanPablo
http://www.demairena.blogspot.com
owlfish
Feb. 1st, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
Re: off-topic
Thank you!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )