Friday, November 2, 2012

Fee, Fie, Foe, Friday: Spice Mixtures- Pumpkin Pie Spice

Guilty. Guilty as charged.  I so want to be one of those people who NEVER use pre-made chili powder. Or madras curry powder. Or Herbes de Provence. But I do. I would like to be such a high-falutin' cook that I always  carefully roasted or toasted and ground my spices and herbs just before using. Recipes in Saveur make me feel inadequate because on most days, I do not have time to make my own spice mixtures to crank out family meals. Sure, I add basil, oregano and a little rosemary to a homemade quick tomato sauce. But a list of 10 items on a weeknight? I think not. Fine for my leisurely, hobby cooking, but not when I have 15 minutes to get dinner ready.

I have a life outside of getting a meal on the table nightly and I do use some pre-mixed spices. Good ones are wonderful, and they save a ton of time. My favorites most often come from Penzey's, and I am forever indebted to them that their sweet curry powder is so delicious, and allows my no-spicy-food-spouse tiny taste of Indian spice.

I (and a few meals) have been saved by this delicious
 pre-made spice mix.
My spice cabinet is bulging with every spice and herb from the mundane to the arcane. I should be making my own always .So often, though, speed is of the essence. The one thing I do make sure of is that the quality of my purchased spice mixtures is top notch, and that after a reasonable amount of time, they get replaced with fresh product. 

Now that's not to say that I've never made my own. I've made copious amounts of my own BBQ rub, have ground proper curry spices just before blooming them in hot oil, and have made more than my share of other concoctions for kitchen consumption. Those bags and bottles, however, of good quality commercially made spice mixtures will always have a home in my spice cabinet.

There is only one spice mixture that I absolutely refuse to buy pre made and that's "Pumpkin Pie Spice". there is nothing too exotic there and for whatever reason, it always costs a fortune in tiny jars. We are approaching the serious Fall baking season ( which precedes the Christmas Baking Frenzy here) Puh-leeze. You can make it in a flash, you've probably already got every spice you need in the pantry and you can make it taste the way you want --rich, earthy, spicy or sweet. It's also cheap and easy....we won't go further with that line, shall we? But it tastes much better freshly made. Try it please.

Cheap & Easy Custom Pumpkin Pie Spice

Note: You can vary this in any way you wish, more or less (or none) of any item there, except for perhaps cinnamon. That has to be there. Otherwise, it's your "do".

2T ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
1T ground ginger
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. nground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground mace

Mix well and store airtight.

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