Thursday, January 1, 2015

Spice Girls Do It With Rubs

I'm a Spice Girl.  Heh heh heh.  No, I'm not, not even close.  In fact, I am as far from spicy as is humanly possible.  I am in a huge, honking rut.  All my edges are blunted.  My head is in a fog, my brain is on the disconnect setting.  I have fallen into a sinkhole and I can't get up.  I cannot get a damn thing accomplished.  I want to go home and curl up on the couch and fall asleep so I don't have to think about my inability to think.  I bloody HATE when this happens.  My back hurts, this is the freaking fibromyalgia, I just know it is.  I want my doggies.  Damn, this sucks.

And did I mention the hot flashes?  Unrelenting!

I have passed cranky and moved on to crabby.  If this keeps up, by tomorrow I'll be grouchy.  Lord help us all if I get to cantankerous! I am angry with myself and frustrated with Microsoft Outlook and I hate my office cell phone.

The good news is that I was able to eat today.  It's been a long time.

Let's speak briefly about spices.  According to Wikipedia:

spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetable substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Sometimes a spice is used to hide other flavors.
Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.
Now you know everything you need to know.  Not really, not even close, but you probably already know a lot more about spices and their uses than you think you do, such as how important it is to check them periodically for freshness, to store them away from heat, and how effective they are at enhancing the flavor of almost any food, especially if you can give them time to season the food.  This is especially true of spice blends or spice rubs, which are used like a dry marinade.  Although they are called "spice" blends or rubs, they almost always contain herbs.  A good example is Emeril's Essence.  You can buy it commercially or you can make it yourself.  The recipe is all over the Internet.  I buy it commercially at BJ's Warehouse, as I also buy McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning and Montreal Chicken Seasoning, lemon pepper, garlic salt, seasoned salt, stuff that comes in big shaker jars.  Other rubs and blends I buy in smaller jars, and those I pick up at Publix, including Italian seasoning, herbes d' provence, five spice powder, curry powder, and Goya Sazon.

This is my "old" spice cabinet.  When we moved to the house in Kissimmee, I planned ahead and allotted much more space for spice.

The spice must flow ...

An advantage of keeping a well-stocked spice cabinet is that I can create my own spice blends as needed.  If I find something I really like, such as Bobby Flay's16-spice rub for smoked chicken, or the Jamaican Jolt,  Basic Barbecue Rub, or any number of blends I snag from Steven Raichlan, I make extra to keep in a shaker jar.  

And that is how I came to season these rather gorgeous oxtails with the spice blend I use on lamb.  Plus some more garlic, because we like garlic and garlic likes beef.  And lamb.  And chicken.

The oxtails on the right have been well-seasoned with the dry rub, and I lightly rubbed in the spices.  Afterwards, I wrapped the seasoned oxtails up very well with both plastic wrap and foil, slid them into freezer bags, and popped them into the freezer.

Lamb Chop Dry Rub:
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon celery seed
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon dried Valencia orange peel
1 teaspoon dried California lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine in a shaker jar with a screw top cover, and shake well before each use.  I use this on all different cuts of lamb, especially lamb shanks.  

Another good basic seasoning to keep near the stove is Paula Deen's House Seasoning.  

1 cup salt 
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

I use kosher salt for this, and granulated garlic.  Sometimes I add paprika, which reminds me of the spice blend my mother-in-law always had made up in her kitchen, long before anyone heard of Food Network.  Other times I add some onion powder and white pepper along with the paprika.

My grandmother used to combine the same spices with some corn oil to make a paste, which she then rubbed all over a chicken that was going to be baked or more likely broiled.  Another trick she taught me was to combine the spices with some ketchup (yes, Heinz ketchup) to make a paste for a roast beef.  

Happy New Year, everyone.  

No comments:

Post a Comment