My friends are getting together a communal order for spices to save on shipping, and for some the Thanksgiving season is the time to go through their cabinets and weed out the old spices.
I mostly want to make grabby hands at them and take on any old ill advised purchase because I don’t believe in waste, but I shall restrain myself and instead offer a few suggestions to all you all on how to use up weird spices.
Pick a spice – almost any spice. Cut up your meat into quick cooking pieces (so you don’t have to think about whether your meat is tough or whether your spices will burn) add about a teaspoon of spices/herbs for every 3 ounces (varying, of course, by pungency and personal palate). Marinate, quickly cook, nom on a salad, sandwich, in a quesadilla, over rice, in rice, with pasta, chilled later in a grain salad – whatevs
Or rub it all over the outside of your whole roast. If you’re worried your animal will be dry, mix the spices into butter first, and then rub it all over the outside.
Potatoes love your crazy spices. potato salad – pick a lipid (mayonnaise, olive oil, coconut oil, some toasted sesame oil, chili oil), pick a seasoning (well… anything, really), and pick your potato.
Shallow fried potatoes also love your crazy spices! If you’re looking for a way to use up chewy rosemary, then this is perfect. My secret trick is to add the rosemary at the very beginning. Let it fry crisp (flavoring the oil deliciously) and then when you eat it, it crumbles into just a tiny bit of crispy texture.
Mashed potatoes? Oh, yeah – go crazy
Other root vegetables
You can just cut up any root vegetables into 1″ cubes (if including beets, be aware that they will color everything they touch), toss them into a dish or a foil/parchment packet, add a tiny amount of butter or oil for flavor, and add any seasoning – put at the bottom of your oven while baking other things (will take a little more than an hour at 350F and maybe 40 minutes at 500f – feel free to occasionally poke at the packet and see if it’s squishy yet – these are very vague cooking times)
Foccacia was made for this, but really any bread can take an addition of herbs and/or spices. Add in the kneading, or as a swirly layer in shaping, or as a coating on the crust.
Any time you go to sautee some vegetables, feel free to peek into your spice rack and toss something in there. Anything – it doesn’t have to be well planned. But, because vegetables are not as sturdily starchy as my other suggestions, use a more judicious hand with the quantities and taste as you go. (Note – great use of whole mustard seeds)
You can be incredibly gourmet and exciting this way! Woot! Mix random ass seasonings into butter, cream cheese, mayonnaise/aioli – all of a sudden you have something delightfully paired/contrasted with the flavors in your meal. Well done, you! And anything left over will be good on a bagel. Everything is good on a bagel.
Toast nuts! To get your spices to adhere, use a little bit of melted butter and/or sugar while tossing the spices/herbs with the nuts. You can’t go too weird here.
Or, you can give any you can’t use up to me.