Now I’m a spicy girl. Not necessarily in the hot-spicy way, but I love playing with combinations of spices, discovering new spices and making great food. I probably own more spices than most people. I have a lovely little spice rack, alphabetized, so I can actually find things, plus I have other spices scattered in various containers on my shelves and in my pantry. PLUS, I might have a few little baggies of spices that just don’t fit anywhere else. So yeah, I have a lot.
I blame my overabundance of spices on being a member of the Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC). The coop buys a number of items–grains, cheese, meat, teas, coffees and spices–in bulk. Some items like grains are stored in huge bulk containers where you can portion your own purchases. Others, like spices are prepacked into smaller bags. If you’re not a member of PSFC, you’ll probably cry when you hear how cheap spices are. The fact that everything is purchased in bulk, plus we are a member-labor coop (meaning all members work and there is very few hired staff), leads to low overhead and low prices. So I can easily fill my two ounce spice jar with granulated garlic for probably less than 50¢. It’s pretty spectacular.
HOWEVER, while spices can often really enhance a meal, sometimes they distract you from ingredients that are just amazing all by themselves. If you have fresh, peak season produce, often no seasoning is needed. Think of a tomato fresh off the vine. Biting into it is often like biting into a piece of candy. It’s just so sweet! Adding other elements like spices or vinegar just feels wrong. So I welcome you to Spice(less) cooking.
The other day, dinner consisted of a meal seasoned only with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. The ingredients were able to stand on their own, rather than being masked by other spices. Sometimes the simplest meals are the best!
Toss 4 cups combined Cauliflower and Romanesca with 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a gallon ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake well. Pour contents into roasting pan and roast for at 400°F for 45min or until veggies are tender.
Season steak generously with sea salt and let sit at room temperature for 30min. Grill steaks on grill pan or outside grill for 2 min on each side for medium rare.
Chop 1 tomato, 1 kirby cucumber, 1 small red onion and toss together with 1/4 cup crumbled feta. Season with salt if desired.