Archives for posts with tag: cumin

Even though the snow hasn’t really hit in full force yet, the long, cold, gray winter is upon us. But don’t despair, vegephiles! There are still treasures to be found, they just grow hidden beneath the Earth’s surface. Take it away, Leo.

Y U NO GET THE JOKE?!

If you haven't seen Inception or don't troll the Internets, I'm sorry for you.

The answer isn’t a dream within a dream within a dream (you brought your totem, right?), but instead the root vegetables that come to harvest during the winter months. For most specimens, the cold weather actually concentrates the natural sugars, giving a sweeter flavor. Taking a stroll to see what I could get locally, I landed some carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes.

Phallic? Yeah, I can admit that.

Mother Nature's bounty during the winter months.

The tap roots and tubers spanned a decent spectrum of texture and flavor, from the hard and sweet carrots to the softer and spicy turnips, which I figured would do well mixed and cooked together. Vegetables, you say? Yeah, it’s a safe bet I’m going to roast the little bastards.

Getting a tan in a non-stick pan.

Tiny size, big flavor.

Given the freezing temperatures, though, I wanted to add some additional warmth (and not an insubstantial amount of flavor) to my vegetables as well. To meet and exceed all of my needs, I went for whole cumin. The whole seed retains the deep warmth and smokiness of the spice, and just like coarsely-ground black pepper, pieces of cumin release their flavor when you bite down in a pleasantly intense way.

CRUSH THEM AND THEY WILL THANK YOU.

Sometimes it's good to have kitchen toys. Sometimes, though, you don't really need them.

In order to get the most out of whole spices, a simple dry toasting is all it takes. Any small pan over medium heat for 5 minutes or so will not only release all of the flavor of the cumin seed, but it will also perfume your kitchen. TAKE THAT, YANKEE CANDLE. NO MORE $27 HOUSEWARMER JARS FOR ME. Afterwards, many recipes suggest you crush whole toasted spices with a mortar and pestle or grind them in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Don’t have either of those? Neither do I. A bowl and a small glass (or Ball jar, in my case, being a country boy) work just fine.

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Peel, dice, toss with the standard olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, and sprinkle with the crushed and toasted cumin seed. Roast hot (400 degrees for 20-30 minutes) until tender and enjoy.

Do you really need step-by-step instructions? I just gave them to you above anyway. I have faith in you, just try it.

– Max.

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So now that I have gone through what I do not eat for lunch when at work I figure it’s just about time I show you what I do eat.

This week – ground turkey breast chunks!  OK, so the name lacks creativity, and might even sound a little unappealing but my goodness they are delicious.  I find my issue with turkey breast is that yes it is one of those superb lean proteins that are just oh so good for you.  However, turkey, in my experience, also has a habit of being extraordinarily dry and bland.  But not these babies!  Get ready for a turkey breast revolution!

Note – dear readers: this recipe is not for the weak of heart, or vegetarians.  It does pack a spiced-up punch that satisfies my palate but can be a bit much for some.  Fear not!  This recipe is so simple that you can modify (or even replace) my spices with your very own!

So…let’s begin:

First, take your typical 4oz ground turkey breast package and cut it up into six rectangular pieces.  Then place the pieces (I only had a small pan available so I did three pieces at a time) in a pan on medium-low heat with one tablespoon of olive oil.  Pan fry those lovelies.

Oh Yeah Baby.

As the pieces heat up I dump on the spices.  I mean really pour them on.  I used the following: Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Cayenne Peppers, Freshly Ground Pepper, and Paprika.  Bring. It. On.

Heat Rises.

Let the turkey breast pieces heat up until they appear white halfway through.  Then flip.

After flipping the pieces dump on the spices some more and continue to pan fry until fully cooked.

If only you could smell that cumin!

When done the pieces are beautiful red-brown colors and smelling outrageously good.  Overall the cooking will take about 20 minutes to a half hour.  Let the pieces cool and then voila!  Lunch for the next week!

All That Spicy Goodness!

I personally took two chunks, chopped them up and put them on top of a salad.

Please Excuse the Rare Lunchtime Carbs - I Am Marathon Training.

Bon appetite- lunchtime edition!

– Lauren

So you’ve made a big, fat batch of hummus. Delicious and healthful to be sure. “But Max!” you shout, “I want MORE!” Potential adult film plotlines aside, throwing together a spread of complementary dishes is not hard at all and can be executed (with a minute of planning and a modicum of talent) all at the same time. Here, in abbreviated form, is what I made to go with my chickpeas:

Salad á la Streetmeat Cart (but mo betta)

Slice some red cabbage (I used radicchio) into strips so you have about 2 cups. Take about half of a red onion and slice as thin as possible. Dice a tomato and chop up a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, the juice from two lemons, kosher salt, and some fresh black pepper. Let this sit in the refrigerator (with the hummus, which should be cooling down as well if you just made some) while you prepare the remaining dishes.

Now you don't have to wonder what they stuff your falafel sandwich with.

Note the bright colors. Those are the vitamins. Vitamins taste good.

Toasted Pita Chips

Start with regular packaged pitas. They should be cheap and the ingredient list should be short. Cut each pita into quarters and split the two halves to make 8 large quarters for each pita. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toast in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with kosher salt. You will never fork over $3.99 for a 6oz bag of Stacy’s again.

flat bread = big taste

It's almost as easy as buying a bag of chips. And a quarter of the price. I'm serious. Just make them.

 Kabob Chicken, reconstructed (or not kabobbed)

Go out back and slaughter the fuck out of a chicken. Too old country? Nevermind. Start with either boneless and skinless breasts, or, if you want real flavor, boneless thighs (I only had breasts on hand at the time, so I went with those). Toss with (everyone say it with me) olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh black pepper. Next, sprinkle both sides with ground cumin and just a bit of dried oregano. You’ll be amazed how one spice and one herb can change the flavor profile of simple grilled chicken so dramatically. Cook over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes per side.

Those are some nice looking breasts. Taste great, too!

Note: brown means flavor.

All three of these dishes can, if you’re not completely kitchen-incompetent, be prepared in about half an hour. That means if you make the salad first, by the time the chicken is cooked through and has had a minute to rest, you get to enjoy an entire meal.

It's like the Eastern Mediterranean in my mouth.

Almost as good as when you get it off of a cart. But much better for you.

 – Max.

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