Saturday, September 26, 2015

Raw Spice Bar

I recently discovered Raw Spice Bar, an awesome company that toasts whole spices, and freshly grinds distinct spice blends from around the world. Each month, in their "Spice of the Month" subscription offers a trio of regional flavors. Previous months include: Jamaica, Japan, and Navajo blends. It's really a brilliant way to explore the globe in the comfort of your own home. I was really excited to receive this month's Istanbul blends. They inspired me to think about foods differently and the combination of flavors. Not only that, but the spices transformed these simple recipes that I chose to make into something really special.

(6lbs+) of in-season ripe tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
2-3 tsp URFA BIBER chili powder
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a couple large baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Cut the the tomatoes into quarters, place them onto the tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and urfa biber. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa and drain with a fine mesh strainer. In a small saucepan, on a medium-high heat, gently dry and toast the grains for a 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. 
  • Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. If it seems like it’s too soggy and moist, take the lid off and cook for a further 2 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and let it cool, uncovered. 
  • When tomatoes are finished, portion some out on top of the quinoa along with some of the juices. You can either freeze the rest of the tomatoes, or preserve in olive oil in an airtight jar. 

1 clove garlic
4 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parsley, leaves and stems
2 tsp BAHARAT spice blend
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt

  • In a food processor, process all the ingredients into a smooth paste, scraping the sides as necessary. You can also add a spoonful of water or two for desired consistency. 

1 large eggplant / aubergine, whole (or 2-3 Asian ones)
2-3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp ZA'ATAR spice blend, plus more for garnish
¾ tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil, or more if necessary

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Using the tines of a fork, stab the eggplant all over at least a dozen times. Put the garlic cloves in the same baking tray. Roast for 45 minutes to one hour, turning several times for even heat distribution. 
  • Let cool slightly, then cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the soft insides. Pop the garlic out of the skins. 
  • Using a fork or wooden spatula, smash the eggplant pulp with the garlic, tahini, za'atar, salt and lemon juice. Don’t use any electrical appliances for this. 
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with more za'atar and a drizzle of olive oil.

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