"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ras el Hanout (Moroccan Spice Blend)

What do you do on a rainy Sunday 12-hour shift, when you're getting paid to cook but there's not much actual cooking to do?

OK, I'm sure you can think of a lot of things, like reading the New York Times or watching a movie on tv. Or maybe even something totally radical, like dusting.

But what if you want to create something? Check out the Basics chapter, that's what you do.

Stocks, marinades, spice rubs, it's chock-full of things to make that will last for awhile in a freezer or a cupboard. They are fun to do, and make the house smell good.

Ras el Hanout is an exotic blend of spices. A lot of them.

These are mostly whole spices that you grind in a coffee grinder, with a few pre-ground ones added at the end (like ginger and mace). Sesame seeds add body and nuttiness to the mix.

The most exciting part of this recipe, for me, was that it calls for grinding up a cinnamon stick along with the peppercorns and whatnot.

If you look at a cinnamon stick

it just doesn't look like something that will grind up easily. In fact, it looks like something that will jam the blades and burn out the motor. I was extremely apprehensive.

But--it ground up like a dream--in fact, it didn't even linger as large chunks that needed extra grinding, like I was expecting. Here's the finished product:

I wish this were scratch-and-sniff! The aroma is incredible.

This spice mix, says the book, is great on chicken, lamb or beef, or stirred into couscous or rice. I'll be using it for one of the remaining recipes in the Poultry chapter, Individual B'stillas. Stay tuned!


Eve said...

A rainy Sunday... wow I wish I had been there. We could have baked something really complicated!! Or, I could have helped you grind those spices. I bet they smelled lovely.

Georgia said...

Have you/ will you do a same-day, same-recipe event with your fellow Gourmet bloggers? You could prepare a list of recipes for your readers to vote on and then prepare the winning recipe on the next rainy (Sun) day.

Jessica said...

I just gave you an E-Award! And all I can think of when I see Ras el Hanout is Top Chef--the contestants always seem to love it.

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Eve--that would have been fun! Next time. :-)

Georgia--that's a good idea! There are two bloggers who are doing that with one of the Bon Appetit cookbooks...I'll toss the idea out there and see if they're up for it.

Jessica--What's an E-Award? (and, thank you!!) Top Chef--can't wait for their new season.