When I woke up this morning I did as many of us do. I don’t mean I opened my windows to greet the morning, brew my coffee, or listen to the birds chirp over low-volumed TV news. I mean I did do that, eventually, but not at first. No, the first thing I did was grab my phone and tap that familiar icon — like a sunrise bloom of color behind an image resembling a sun with a small planet in orbit — or a camera against the backdrop of a rainbow. If you have’t figured it out, I’m talking about Instagram. That retched addiction as powerful as a cigarette. As momentarily euphoric as a push-button morphine drip. As gratifying as pulling a slice of pizza and getting extra cheese from the tip of someone else’s slice. That awful little icon of friendship and acceptance.
Good things can come from addiction though, an unpopular notion I admit, but this might be my proof because if you’re addicted to eating (which I am), and love cooking (which I do), then had I not been addicted to Instagram I might have missed this freebie guide on how to use spices from local Long Beach chef Aliye Aydin (Insta: @agoodcarrot) that is totally worth the click.
For example: did you know that you add dried herbs early on in cooking to allow the flavors time to infuse throughout the cooking process? I didn’t. Or that spices shouldn’t be stored in a warm place — like by the stove. I know that’s where I’ve always kept mine for easy grabbing, but as it turns out it’s totally wrong.
The guide is filled with really interesting suggestions like the one for spice #5 on the list, cumin: Aydin suggests sautéing cumin seeds in butter as a base before adding water and rice to steam. Or the suggestion of using cinnamon as a savory spice added to tomato-based sauces.
“Spices have really helped me easily come up with new meals and stay inspired, even when I’m busy,” chef Aydin said. “And I’ll be offering my online spice masterclass again in January, which goes much more in-depth with how to use spices for quick meals.”
On her website: agoodcarrot.com, in addition to recipes and spice advice, there’s a store where she’s selling her handmade spice blends for every need, from za’atar (a spice blend containing salt, toasted sesame and dried sumac), to one she calls “Thursday’s Little Secret,” which might be perfect for your Thursday Thanksgiving dish containing allspice, coriander, black pepper and cardamom.
Chef Aydin’s advice for this Thanksgiving? “Dry brine the turkey.” Dry brining is simply rubbing all of your salt, pepper, herbs and spices onto the bird and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a long time to give the seasoning time to accent the meat with aromatics and flavor.
But don’t take my word for it, grab the free 7 spice guide, and check the facts, tips, suggestions, and excitement of all things spicy along with more tips for your cooking needs.
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