Monday, June 7, 2010

The spice of life

The thing about Hawaii is that when someone moves off island or back to the Mainland, they tend to leave a ton of stuff behind. We've got a lot of random stuff cluttering our house, stuff I would never buy, or would buy in limited numbers. We've got about 15 of those collapsible folding chairs, 2 big totes full of snorkel gear and spices...whoa, have we got the spices. Everyone has spices in their kitchen and they're not something you tend to take with you when you move away. In addition to the herbs and spices I bought when we moved here, I've also got the spice remnants of 4 different former island residents in my kitchen as well. This last batch I got is particularly interesting. A friend's neighbor moved away and they gave him the contents of their spice cabinet- h's got a very small kitchen and didn't want them, so he passed them on to me. I didn't know these people, but they sure were interesting cooks, there were spices in there I've never even heard of. They had 2 bottles of one particular spice blend - garam masala. Seriously, how many of you have ever heard of garam masala? And, if you have, would you really need 2 bottles of the stuff? How about pickling spice? Yeah, I've heard of that before, but does anyone really need 4 big bottles of the stuff? So anyway, I've got a spice drawer that is totally overflowing and I put a bunch of stuff into my separate food storage area downstairs just to get it out of the way. In an effort to get rid of some of them, I've been looking for recipes that call for lots of different herbs and spices or for some of the more unusual ones. Last night I made coriander cakes, they turned out pretty good. Today I found a recipe for roasted chickpeas that called for, of all things, garam masala! I'm going to pick up a couple cans of chickpeas today and give that baby a try. Maybe we'll really like it and I'll find a way to use up those two bottles of garam masala and have to go out and find some more.

Oh, and I know someone is going to want to point this fact out to me, I want you to know that I KNOW you're supposed to toss out spices that are more than a year old because they loose their potency. But I just don't feel right throwing out perfectly usable food - starving kids in Africa and all that stuff. I've just been doubling up whatever the recipe calls for, same basic effect with the added benefit of getting those spice bottles empty in a legitimate, non-throwing away sort of way.

1 comment:

Tanya T said...

I don't use spices often but i have discovered that cayene pepper helps keep the squirrels out of my flower pots!! Maybe that garum whatever stuff might be usefull in keeping wild pigs off your lawn? lol