As we hunker down for an uncertain period of time, what is certain is that most of us have a box of pasta, a sack of flour, a pound of carrots, or a dozen eggs that we can get creative with. Fresh spices will always transform simple pantry staples into a gourmet snack or restoring dinner. Here are a few of our favorite recipes that make the most out of staple ingredients and our freshly ground spices.
Cacio e Pepe
Literally “cheese and pepper,” the recipe ingredients couldn’t be any simpler. However, just because it is simple doesn’t mean it is easy, especially for perfectionists. This recipe is all about preparation technique—cooking the pasta al dente before finishing it in the pan, emulsifying the cheese, pepper, and a splash of pasta water together until the sauce has the perfect consistency. While there are an infinite amount of cacio e pepe purists out there who aren’t afraid to speak up, this is wide open for customization. Instead of classic Tellicherry Black Pepper, try using Long Pepper, or even Kampot to make it a special treat. There’s nothing wrong with a little Red Pepper Flakes or dried Greek Oregano either.
Flour, butter, salt, water, and herbs. If you don’t have butter you could try substituting equal parts shortening, or even coconut oil. As with the last recipe, this all comes down to technique. It’s important to roll the cracker dough very thin so they get crispy, about an eighth of an inch to be exact. Once you’ve gotten your cracker skills down, you can use up mustard in the fridge or make your own mustard. Better yet, use up any cream cheese or sour cream for a garlicky cheese spread.
This one is seriously easy and can be made in a double batch. Carrots are cheap, sweet, and easy to cook. There are two recipes to try, Carrot Cumin and Carrot with Grains of Paradise. Both recipes are prepared the same but with one or two varying ingredients. Soup is the most forgiving thing to cook, so you should feel inspired to add or subtract any ingredient. Many of us have a can of coconut milk just sitting in the cupboard anyway and the flavor goes really well with carrots and the spices.
Deviled eggs recipes are simple—mustard, mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, and maybe some pickle relish. Everyone knows to finish them off with a sprinkle of paprika, but there are so many more spices to add to the filling. Horseradish, Wasabi, and some extra Mustard Powder will add that nose clearing heat. For some smokiness, add Ground Chipotle Chiles or Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika. Chives are an obvious herb for deviled eggs, but please don’t overlook Dill Weed, Chervil, or Tarragon.
Crispy Spiced Chickpeas
Sure, homemade hummus and chana masala are great, but crispy chickpeas might be even better. These crunchy little legumes make a great snack, but you can also save them for croutons on a salad. Need a quick lunch? Throw them on top of a rice bowl with some sliced avocado, tomato, and shredded carrot. You can make this recipe with canned chickpeas, but dried chickpeas that have soaked overnight tend to come out crispier. Add any spice blend you want. We like ours with Garam Masala, Garlic Powder, and Smoked Hot Paprika.
If you have any questions about the recipes above, need spice suggestions, or have a recipe you think we should have included, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write us in the comments below.