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.