Spiced and Rubbed

MollyFIG Blog, Recipes Leave a Comment

That was the name of the cooking class I taught last night for a group in Northbrook. Most people have a large collection of spices collecting dust in a cupboard or drawer. They have their go-to spices that get used regularly and replaced, but some spices sit there for years (losing essential oils and flavor). This class is meant to teach the students some different ways to use the spices they love and introduce them to some spices they may not know too much about.

The menu included spiced candied nuts, frisee salad with crispy lardons and turmeric poached egg, seared scallops with saffron cream sauce, garam masala-cumin rubbed lamb loin with smoked paprika mashed potatoes, and muhallabia massawa (a Middle Eastern pudding commonly served during Ramadan that is spiced with cardamom and cinnamon). Spices can lend flavor, color, and even important dietary properties to your food. So, don’t let those spices lose all of their magic properties, use them!

Here’s some information for my cooking class participants (and for all of the other readers):


Use a Silpat to keep your nuts from sticking (and, get your mind out of the gutter!). We used cinnamon and ginger, but great additions are cayenne or other chile powder, mace, cumin, or pink peppercorn. Toss unsalted nuts with salt, spices, honey, and olive oil to coat and put on the Silpat covered baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes (they should be browned, but you don’t want to burn the sugars)

Lardon (bacon) cooking tip: Place on a baking sheet and put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until crispy.

The lamb loin is from Chicago Game.

And, a recipe for the poaching liquid we used to cook the eggs.

Turmeric Poaching Liquid

1 Gallon water
4 Tbsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vinegar

Place all ingredients into a wide bottomed pot and place on medium-high heat. Remember, once the water has reached a low boil it is ready to go. Then swirl the water with a slotted spoon and drop the eggs in on at a time. Eggs should cook 3-6 minutes depending on how you like your yolk. Remove with the slotted spoon and dab off with a dry towel before serving.

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