More spice experiments.
2 Silk Road Spice
2 Curry powder
3/4 Allspice powder
1/8-3/8 Chili Red Powder
Olive oil
Soy sauce
Non-beef protein. (Poultry. Fish. Lamb. Pork. Tofu)

Units above depend on how much protein you are cooking. Using Teaspoons above will do 5 chicken thighs.

Dry toast Silk Road Spice Blend (below), Curry, Allspice Powder & Chili Powder in sauté pan. Transfer to glass mixing dish. Make a paste with olive oil and spices. Thin the paste with a little soy sauce.

Wipe the bottom of a suitable bowl some of the paste. Pat a protein serving dry. Place on paste and coat top with more paste. Continue to layer servings and paste. Make sure top layer is completely coated.

Cover with plastic wrap tight against surface of protein, then cover bowl. Refrigerate for at least three hours.

After cooking let rest 5 minutes (except Tofu).

After cooking, drippings are excellent for dipping bread.

Silk Road Spice Label

Tastebud Wake-up Call

Silk Road Spice LabelSome of the meats out there have nice texture but not much taste. Some of that is because of the meat and some is because the taste buds are not prepared to handle it. Usually the taste buds are warmed up by the sense of smell. Preparation of the meat prepares all the senses (even touch if you burn yourself). All to often, in modern restaurants, the preparation aroma is inaccessible. The following mixture WAKES UP THE TASTEBUDS!

  • Agave nectar (syrup)
  • Soy sauce
  • Rose’s Lime Juice
  • Light olive oil
  • Sesame oil (go easy)
  • Silk Road Spice (see graphic for proportions)
  • Minced roasted garlic
  • Ginger powder or paste
  • Chipotle powder
  • Fish sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Port or red wine for red meat.

PROPORTIONS TO TASTE. Use as marinade or a thin sauce. Thicken with a bit of roux for a sauce that will turn you off the bottled stuff (meat sauce that is)

Left Over Baked Beans Head East

ChiefCurryThe other night we had lamb vindaloo. Janet made sabsi (Afghan garlic spinach), and I took some left over baked beans and. . .

1.75 cups beans (1 can) +
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 clove garlic, minced (used jarred roasted)
1/3 tsp powdered ginger (fresh would have been just that much better)
1 + 1/3 tsp curry powder (from Trinidad via cruising friends)
1/4 tsp cumin

Sauteed onions in olive oil until browning just started.
Added them to beans along with garlic.
Mixed dry spices and quick toasted them in still hot saute pan — 5 seconds or so.
Transferred spices to beans.
Deglazed saute with a couple of dashes of soy sauce and added result to beans.
Folded all together for quite a few strokes to insure good mix.
Pressed plastic wrap onto surface of beans to control curry odor in reefer.
Covered bowl with foil.
Allowed mix to sit for three hours.

Curry flavor was subtle and delicious. Ginger-heat was balanced by the sweetness in the beans.

Batta, Batta — Bing! (Bread)

onionbreadModifications to the bread recipe. With these adds, a mix of bread and all purpose flour seems to work better as does a slightly higher water temperature >> The bread recipe. 1.5 cups bread flour, 1.5 cups AP flour, 1.5 cups water, 1.5 teaspoons large crystal sea-salt, and 1 package dry yeast.  Mix all the dry ingredients with a whisk, fold in the water (95 deg F) until all dry is wet. This mixture was set aside covered in the mixing pan to rise for 18 hours. If you have a stone, concrete or steel counter top, place the rising container on a wooden chopping block or a plastic one on a towel. This keeps the counter from stealing the heat the yeast need. Better texture results. Link above gives handling and cooking instructions.

  1. Soybatta — Replace 1 tbsp water with 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce. Reduce recipe salt by 1/2 tsp.
  2. Tacobatta — Add 3 1/2 tbsp Old El Paso Less Sodium Taco Seasoning + 2-3 oz coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese + pinch of chipotle powder+1 tbsp water.  Reduce recipe salt by 1/2 tsp.
  3. Pestobatta — Add 1 package Knorr Pesto Sauce Mix + 2-3 tbsp finely shredded Parmesan/Asiago/Manchego + 2 tbsp pan-toasted pine nuts +1 tbsp water. Reduce recipe salt by 1/2 tsp.
  4. Pizza(ish)batta — Finely dice  20-30 slices of turkey pepperoni — microwave on paper towel until crisp while blotting up fat between 30 second nukings — dust with flour.  Mince 1 tbsp sundried tomato. Dust with flour. Rinse and pat dry 2 tbsp olive tapenade. Dust with flour. Add to basic bread mix after whisking + add 4 tsp of water to the 1.5 cup. After baking can be pan-toasted with appropriate cheese topping.

Spice Blends

Ever notice how spice blends are minimalist in their description of ingredients? We love it when we read “paprika, cayenne, onion powder and spices!” We know so much more now.

Recently we ran out of a fish blackening spice blend we bought in the Keys. We like it because it allowed you to taste the fish. The label was not helpful (neither was the lack of a shaker top). Since we also use it in fish spread, we decided we needed to get some more. Oops, no mail order available.

Time to experiment. Fortunately, we had 1/4 tsp left we could use as a taste comparator. Equally fortunately, we knew it tasted like a mild and less salty version of Emeril’s Essence — for which the recipe is available online. We decided to use Badia’s Blackened Refish Seasoning as a base to build on.

So we built the following table:


Emeril’s Essence Fish Spice Target Badia
Redfish Blackening Spice
2.5 units
??? Paprika ???
units Badia
2 unit Salt ??? Salt 2 unit
2 unit Garlic Powder ??? Garlic
Garlic Powder
2 unit
1 unit Black Pepper
1 unit Onion Powder ??? Onion
Onion Powder
unit Badia
1 unit Cayenne ??? Cayenne Cayenne
to taste*
1 unit Oregano ??? Oregano 1
unit Oregano
1 unit Thyme
??? Basil 1
unit Basil

*The net result, with a scant 0.25 units of Cayenne, was indistinguishable from the spice blend we like so much.

When you can’t find what you like, mix it up.

Yum-ami — Onion Bread

onionbreadUmami can be translated as “pleasant savory taste”

When I started baking some years ago, I experimented quite a bit with augmented breads, adding things like olive tapenade, cheese, bacon bits, pesto, herbs — not all at once. For the most part they were all worth repeating, but they made the bread less subtle, and so the breads were not as good as accompaniments for meals.

Looking for something subtle, I sifted the onion pieces out of a Lipton’s Onion Soup and Dip mix and set them aside. Then I split the remaining soup mix in two and transferred 1/2 tsp to the portion I would use.

The bread recipe remains. 3 cups bread flour, 1.5 cups water, 1.5 teaspoons large crystal sea-salt, and 1 package dry yeast.

I cut the salt in half (to 3/4. teaspoon) because the soup mix has salt. I added 1 tablespoon of water to help hydrate the dried onions and other mix components.

I mixed all the dry ingredients with a whisk, folded in the water (85 deg F) until all dry was wet. This mixture was set aside covered in the mixing pan to rise for 18 hours.

It rose a bit more than usual due to the sugar in the soup mix, then fell back. It was also a bit stickier when I poured it out onto the (76 deg F) slab. I did the usual pat and fold, pat and fold, pat, fold and tuck the edges (this is a no knead bread) and then returned it to an olive oil-wiped glass bowl covered with a towel for 1 hour. During this time I preheated the oven to 500 deg F with a pizza stone about 40% down from the oven top.

I slid the dough onto the stone and misted the loaf with warm water and allowed it to cook at 500 for ten minutes and then reduced the thermostat to 425 deg F and let the loaf cook another 20 minutes. I cannot honestly say what the oven temperature profile was during this time.

Removed and racked, it gave a solid thump and the crust was hard. The aroma made it hard to leave it alone until cooled enough for cutting.

Cooled it was Yumami and not so oniony it could not be used with meals. Give it a try.

In the future I am considering using Graham flour for the non-stick dusting during the pat and fold phase for a slightly more rustic crumb.