14 July 2009

Spice it Up

Quite by accident, after living on my own and "cooking" for myself for three years, I bumbled my way into one of the most basic and obvious herbal combinations imaginable: garlic and oregano. It was like magic in my mouth. My taste buds did a little dance, not unlike what cavemen must have done around their primordial fires. After that first discovery there was really no turning back.

The best thing about spices is what they can do for a dish that isn't much of anything without them. An example? Split-pea soup. Here's a variation on Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything. The result isn't soupy unless you add a whole lot more water.

Split Peas with Mixed Spices

1.5 c green split peas
4+ c water (or stock of one kind or another)
1/4 t cayenne
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t black pepper
salt to taste

1 T minced ginger
1 T minced garlic

Put everything except the ginger and garlic in a large enough pot and bring to a boil. Cover and cook, keeping the water level high enough so that it doesn't burn or stick. This will take the better part of 45 minutes. When the lentils are nearly done add in ginger and garlic. Serve over basmati rice.

1 comment:

Terra said...

Lentils are not one of my childhood favorites- but this recipe is quite good.