pantry basics – taco seasoning

We don’t buy a lot of seasoning blends.

It’s less expensive (and really easy) to make them.  It gives us control over how hot or spicy or sweet or savory the blend is.  We can decide how much (if any) salt is in it.  Plus, we get to avoid any MSG or preservatives or additives or any extra whatnots that might be floating around in that packet on the shelf.

So I figure it’s worth one dirty spoon and the minute and a half it takes to pull the spices from the cupboard and open the jars.  Why else do you have all those jars in the cabinet?  I mean … they look nice … but if you don’t use them, they go bad.  So making your own seasoning blends only makes sense.

And Taco Seasoning is a staple.

We use it to season taco meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork … whatever).

We use it to make “Mexican Rice.”

We use it in something we call “Dirty Quinoa,” (which is a protein rich alternative for tacos if you happen to be vegetarian, or vegan, or just in the mood for a taco that doesn’t have meat in it).

taco seasoning

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin.
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder.
  • 2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper.

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all the ingredients in a small non-reactive jar (perhaps the jar you plan on using for storage?).  Put the top on and shake until ingredients are well-combined.

One and a half tablespoons of this taco seasoning (plus a teaspoon of salt) is enough to season one and a quarter pounds of ground meat or 2 cups of rice/quinoa.  Put the rest in your cupboard to use next week.

– Jeanne

We’re linked up on The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday.

the smitten kitchen cookbook: a review

by Jeanne

I think I’m in love.

Ok.

It’s probably not love.

Because I don’t know Deb Perelman.

But it’s definitely a pretty serious girl-crush.

Deb is the creator/blogger-extraordinaire at the Smitten Kitchen blog.

And she’s wonderful.

Her recipes are easy to follow and super tasty (which apparently has something to do with her obsessive compulsiveness … and I now think that’s a great trait).

Her photos make me hungry.

She’s even a talented writer.

Basically, she’s the whole package.

And now she’s published her first cookbook.

So of course I rushed out and ordered a copy the moment I found out it was available. It’s become my late-night companion. I’m reading it like a novel. Seriously. Tucked in bed after the kids go to sleep. When I wake at 3 a.m. Sneaking peaks during the day if I get five minutes by myself. It’s accomplished exactly what I think a good cookbook should do: it’s got me dreaming of ways to incorporate her food into our lives.

The thing is, though, Deb is not totally on board with some of our dietary choices. She uses refined sugar and table salt and white flour. She’s not worried about soaking her grains or avoiding vegetable oil or soy. But every page has a dish that looks more delicious than the last. It’s just going to require a little figuring to adapt them.

And I’m very excited to try.

Like, for example, her Gingerbread Spice Dutch Baby, which is basically an incredibly decadent German Pancake, baked in a cast iron pan.

I want this dang pancake. But I’m also learning more and more about how important it is to soak one’s grains before cooking/eating them. So I’m taking a chance. I’ve got one third cup of organic unbleached flour “soaking” in two
tablespoons of our sourdough start and 2 tablespoons of water … covered with a clean dish towel, just waiting for baking!

If it works, you can bet I’ll be trying her peach sour cream pancakes … and her big breakfast latkes … and pretty much any other recipe in this delightfully gorgeous book. I might have to order a few more copies for gifts. I can think of a few people who might enjoy the adventure…

UDATE:  IT WORKS!!!  sourdough dutch baby (minus the molasses and brown sugar … with maple syrup instead of white sugar) … AMAZING!!  And we ate it so fast, I didn’t get to snap a photo!!  Next time.  For sure.

PS – Don’t forget to sign up to win the WORLD MARKET GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!  Registration closes at 10 pm PST tonight.  Winner will be chosen at random and announced TOMORROW on the blog!