spice_blends

Stafford Blend

I stumbled on this spice blend while making ratatouille. It's essentially all the spices from that dish removed and blended. I call this Stafford Blend after the Stafford Basin where I live, which is named after the great Oregon poet William Stafford. Here is a poem of his that is etched into a basalt obelisk near my home:

The Well Rising
The well rising without sound, 
the spring on a hillside, 
the plowshare brimming through deep ground
everywhere in the field— 

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The sharp swallows in their swerve
flaring and hesitating
hunting for the final curve
coming closer and closer— 

The swallow heart from wingbeat to wingbeat
counseling decision, decision: 
thunderous examples. I place my feet
with care in such a world.

And this is what that poem tastes like:

Stafford Blend
3 tablespoons Herbes de Provence (hopefully with lots of lavender)
2 tablespoons freshly crushed fennel seeds
1/2 or 1 teaspoon Piment d'Espelette

I put this on everything. Some favorites are eggs, grilled chicken, or roasted cauliflower. Try dabbing avocado slices in this and big salt. I place my feet with care in such a world...


Vadouvan Curry

One of my favorite flavors of all time. I add this to my oatmeal with honey. It’s great on roasted Brussels sprouts with some maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle this on cauliflower before roasting. Or you can have this as I first discovered it on a fateful and bitter cold day in Greenwich Village at Knickerbocker restaurant: perfuming a pile of perfect lentils cooked in thick coconut milk. 

I make a huge 5x batch twice a year or so. It makes a great gift, btw…

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2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon crushed fresh curry leaves - these are hard to find but add an essential and beautiful dimension. I get them at Srider's on the edge of town. Ground in the coffee grinder and left to dry out a bit, one $2 bag from Srider's is enough for a 5x recipe. 
1 tablespoon ground cumin (I prefer a bit less)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (Get a bottle of this and you’ll find yourself adding to to all kinds of things!)
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds ground up
3/4 teaspoon turmeric - (I prefer a bit more)
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes (optional - I prefer to add the heat per dish and leave the curry neutral. I don’t like spicy oatmeal!)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves