Cooking Blahs Revisited

I’m back.  Did you miss me?  Of course not you had all of JeffWs food porn to look at.

It is not a good sign when I have the winter cooking blahs in December.  Holiday cooking has not even piqued my interest this year.  Though I have plans for some interesting holiday treats, there is an enthusiasm gap.

I needed to shake things up.  And then JeffW went and put fennel seed in his pasta sauce.  And that’s when it hit me.  The spice cabinet is where I could start shaking things up.  I think, like most people, I rely on a handful of favorite spices and ignore the rest unless a specific recipe calls for it.  I love fennel, but don’t use it often.  There are many spices out there I don’t use often and some I’ve never even tried before.

That’s when inspiration hit me.  For the next few months, at least once or twice a week I’m going to find and use a spice I’ve rarely or never used before and see what kind of results I get.  See if I can’t turn a few old, tired favorites into something new and interesting.  I’ll keep you apprised of the results.

Fennel has been a great success.  I’ve added it to a couple of soups, to burgers and to a pot roast.  Gave a nice kick to everything.  Up next, if I can find it locally, filé powder.  It’s a strong flavor and I’ll have to pick and choose carefully what I use it on, but I think a chicken dish would be my first idea.  Until then….


About TaMara

What's to say? I love to cook and I think families benefit from sitting down together for dinner every night.

Posted on December 7, 2010, in Recipes, TaMara and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Welcome back, Ma’am. I have a jar of file powder in the cupboard that I am pretty sure is too old. Don’t remember where I bought it or even why. Pretty sure the Hank Williams tune was going through my head when I was looking at it. I think I probably ruined whatever it was I first tried it in and put it aside. Haven’t used it again and should toss it out but that offends the obsessive in me. I may try it in the next gumbo to see if I have learned anything lately.


  2. I used to use a brown bag suasage seasoning mix that had a lot of fennel in it on grilled chicken. I had some of it left over one day after making sausage and just happened to be grilling chicken with my freinds and thought, “What the hell?” So I put some on the chicken. Now I crush my own fennel with a saucepan and mix it with my other spices when baking chicken.

    As for the file, I cook a LOT of gumbos and almost never use it. I like to use okra in my gumbos and traditionally file and okra are not used together, as they are both thickening agents. My father-in-law (RIP) insisted on putting it in his along with okra, but only as a finish for each individual serving, not the whole pot, so I would alway set some out for him and my wife. (You know the story. If daddy did it, it’s automatically the only right way to do it.)

    I have yet to find any other use for file. I’ll keep reading here and maybe one of you will find something interesting to use it on.


  3. Rupert, see now, thanks for that on the fennel, I was wondering if it would work with chicken and now I’m willing to try it.

    I’m going to bet the file I had in my gumbo was added as a garnish, it had that fresh feel to it. I’ll let you know what it does and doesn’t work with as I go.


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