Friday, February 27, 2015

Baked Risotto--Is It Possible?


Baked Risotto--Is It Possible?
by Victoria Challancin

Baked risotto?  Is it possible to make this normally labor-intensive Italian rice dish in the oven?  Is it even worth the time?  Is it desirable?  Is it sacrilege?  Are my northern Italian relatives quaking in their boots at the mere thought of it?  The answers to these burning questions are: yes, yes, yes, yes, I hope not, and probably.

Having spent many a long hour at the stove stirring a pot of creamy, unctuous, glossy risotto, I was intrigued when I encountered this easy baked version by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa of the US Food Network.  Perhaps being skeptical by nature, I seriously doubted that it would yield anything even close to the classic version of this recipe, which calls for adding liquid bit by bit (often stock and wine) to a pot of short- or medium-grain rice which has been lightly sautéed in butter or olive oil, stirring constantly, until the requisite five or six liters have been completely absorbed.  You can see why I might question the efficacy of this modern technique.  You can also probably see why I was intrigued.  Think of the savings in time, much less in effort.  And a good pot of risotto does require real effort!

Did it produce an acceptable result?  Indeed it did--and one that I will use again and again.

First of all, let's learn a bit of history of this classic Italian rice preparation.

Risotto--A Bit of History and Background
Because of the universal popularity of Italian pasta dishes, it is easy to overlook the immensely popular rice dishes of the north of the country.  But the rices of Italy are not only popular, they are singular.  En route to Spain  in the 10th century, Arab traders introduced rice to Sicily.  By the 13th and 14th centuries, rice had made its way north where it found a happy home in the rich Po Valley and beyond.  And even today, Italy is the largest rice producer in Europe with the main production still concentrated along the Po Valley.

Risotto is probably the most famous of the Italian rice dishes, but exactly what is it?  Although there are countless versions using vegetables, seafood, meat, squid ink, and more, a basic risotto is made by lightly sautéing a high-starch, medium- or short-grain white rice (and wine) and adding broth slowly, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed, at which time grated Parmesan or a similar cheese is added plus a bit of butter to round it out.  A properly prepared risotto is cooked "al dente," with each grain of rice retaining its distinct shape and texture.  Never is it mushy, gluey, or overly creamy.  Needless to say, this can be a somewhat challenging and time-consuming dish to prepare, but I am happy to report that this baked version is good.  Would it pass muster with Italian gourmets?  Maybe not.  Is it something I would serve in my own home?  Yes.

Rice Varieties
Can just any rice be used for risotto?  The answer is a resounding "no."  While there are many varieties that can be used, the chosen rice must contain the right kind of starch.  Rice contains two types of starches called amylose and amylopectin, though the ratio differs in different varieties. Without getting to technical, the necessary rice appropriate for making risotto must have low amylose levels, so that when cooked, the rice will remain soft and sticky.  It should also have a higher concentration of amylopectin in its soft outer layer, which when released during cooking creates the desirable creamy texture.  Here are a few of the Italian rices typically used for risotto:

  • Carnaroli--considered to be the "King of Rice" in Italy with its delicate nutty flavor
  • Vialone Nano--Less grainy than Carnaroli, but appreciated for its softness; it blends well with vegetables such as pumpkin, mushrooms, and asparagus, as well as with meats
  • Arborio--readily available and considerably cheaper than the two previously mentioned rices, it is commonly used in risotto dishes, but with the caveat that it can lose the texture of the individual grains when cooked and become somewhat gummy

  • Other types of rice used for making risotto are:  Sant'Andrea, Balilla, Baldo, Roma, Ribe Padano, Maratelli, and Originario
Basic Preparation
I am taking this directly from Wikipedia, so please excuse:  "The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white or red wine is added and has to be absorbed by the grains.  When it has evaporated, the heat is raised to medium high and very hot stock is gradually added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly; stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid.  At that point it is taken off the heat for the mantecatura when diced cold butter is vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible.  It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier, and left to cook with its residual heat."  [Thank you WikiPedia, I couldn't have said it better if I tried].



Classic Risotto Preparations
[from WikiPedia yet again]

  • Risotto alla milanese--a specialty of Milan, made with beef stock, beef bone marrow, lard (instead of butter) and cheese, flavored and colored with saffron
  • Risotto al Barolo--a specialty of Piedmont, made with red wine and may include sausage meat and/or Borlotti beans
  • Risotto al nero de seppia--A specialty of the Veneto region, made with cuttlefish cooked with their ink-sacs intact leaving the risotto black
  • Risi e Bisi--A Veneto spring dish that is correctly served with a spoon, not a fork; it is a soup so thick it looks like a risotto.  It is made with green peas using the stock from fresh young pea pods and pancetta
  • Risotto alla zucca--made with pumpkin, nutmeg, and grated cheese
  • Risotto all pilota--a specialty of Mantua, made with sausage, pork, and Parmesan cheese


And here is the simplified version I made in a recent cooking class with Mexican students:

Recipe:  Easy Oven Parmesan "Risotto"

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice 
5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.

An Easy, Fast Italian Appetizer
OK.  I realize this photo isn't going to win any prizes, nor does it look like anything you might want to serve.  But please consider that I just threw this together at the end of a cooking class on Italian Cuisine for Mexican Cooks, simply because I had the basic ingredients on hand and we had enough remaining time in which to make it. This recipe from Italian-American Chef and television personality Michael Chiarello, has long been a staple in my home for a quick hors d'oeuvre that never fails to deliver. In fact, I have never served it that I didn't receive requests for the recipe.  Yes, a touch of chopped parsley on top wouldn't have gone amiss.  Or a sprinkle of capers...perhaps some cornichon.  This was a rush job just so the cooks could taste it and take home an easy recipe.



Cook's Notes:I usually sharpen the flavvor with a touch more lemon juice and/or vinegar.  This is one of those dishes you can easily play with until you get the results that work best for your palate.



Recipe:  Spuma di Tonno - Italian Tuna Mousse 
(Recipe by Michael Chiarello from either Food Network or Food and Wine Magazine)   


1 can (7 ounce or 200 gram) imported oil-packed tuna, drained
 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
 2 teaspoon soy sauce
 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, room temperature
 Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 1 tablespoons heavy cream
Put the tuna in a food processor and pulse to break up the fish. With the machine running, add the butter, cream, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce and blend until smooth. Then stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Add the lemon juice and pulse again. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and blend again. Check the seasoning, then add the heavy cream and pulse to blend. NOTE: Be careful not to over blend once the cream is added or the mixture may break.

Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. If refrigerated, return the spuma to room temperature before serving. Serve with breadstick, crostini, or crackers to spread it on. Also excellent served with champagne.


Parting Shots:  The Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech
As I prepare to lead my tenth small group to Morocco in April, I am revisiting photos from past trips, and basking in happy memories.  Here are a few shots of cacti from the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech, which was purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980 and completely restored.  The grounds also houses the truly incredible Berber Museum, which is dedicated to the Berber Culture of Morocco.






©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Please ask permission before using text or photos.


Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School and Travel
San Miguel de Allende,
México

Monday, December 22, 2014

Food Truck Weekend


Before I begin this blog, I would like to offer sincere warm wishes of good health and peace to each of you and your families during this Holiday Season and for 2015.  I appreciate your support always.   

Food Truck Weekend
by Victoria Challancin

While Mexico has a long history of food stalls, or puestos, the concept of actual food trucks has been slow to take off.  Happily for me, it looks like that is changing.  Puestos do indeed have a long history here in Mexico, and hopefully are firmly and permanently entrenched in this culture as a quick, economical way to approach every sort of food.  Whether located in the local market or as something that springs up in the streets in the evenings, these food stalls serve the people well.  You can find specialty foods from modern hamburgers and hot dogs, to rich pozole (a hominy-based soup that comes in three colors with a glory of condiments), the ubiquitous taco in its many forms, empanadas, tortas (sandwiches), tostadas, corn, atole (a rich corn-based drink), aguas frescas, chorizo, frijoles, tamales, mariscos (seafood), huaraches (a shoe-shaped corn-based sort of open-faced taco), menudo (tripe soup/stew thought to be good for hangovers), antojitos (corn-based snack food which includes gorditas, tamales, tostadas, and more) grilled meats such as arrachera, and guisados (stews) made with everything imaginable.  The world of food-stall food is mind-boggling...and utterly delicious.  

I laughingly remember when my son returned from studying his last year of high school in France, I asked him rather foolishly what kind of food he had missed.  That is to say, what did he long for from Mom's kitchen.  Imagining that he might ask for lasagna or shepherd's pie, or some other favorite, I was a little taken aback by his response:  "Oh, Mom...tacos de cabeza y una torta con milanesa y tajín!"  Goat head tacos and sandwiches made of breaded thin chicken or pork with all the trimmings.  So much for Mom's cooking.  So it was off to the puestos for him, and my son, like most Mexicans, knew just where to turn for his favorite fix.

On December 13th and 14th San Miguel de Allende held its first Food Truck Weekend, which promised Comida-Arte-Diseño-Moda...all rolled into one event.  And it didn't disappoint.  While San Miguel only has two food trucks that I know of, neighboring Querétaro, which is a much larger city, has burgeoning food truck installations popping up everywhere.  Our small event, in fact, featured both of San Miguel's food trucks and five others from nearby Querétaro.  All were spotlessly clean and peopled with smiling entrepeneurs looking to expand their reach.

Here is a sampling of what the event had to offer:


With its smiling patron in a Frida Kahlo t-shirt, dressed in pink to match her truck, the CB Bakery offered sandwiches, milkshakes, caramel popcorn, and their popular cheese cake, which was sold out.

To give you an idea of prices, in case you aren't a local reader, there are approximately 14.5 pesos to one US dollar, reflecting both the pesos recent decline and the dollar's surge.  So that makes a hamburger cost about $4.15 and a hot dog about $1.40.  Just so you have a point of reference.


The Chef on Fuego, or "Chef on Fire," particularly interested me as I had heard that the restaurant that sponsors it features really excellent lamb.

Here is the friendly and knowledgable Chef on Fire himself

Happy to accommodate, the chef sent an employee to the mother restaurant, which was only fifty feet away so I could have a menu to take home.  In addition to reasonably-priced breakfasts (Hot cakes, French toast, any style of breakfast eggs, and chilaquiles (my absolute favorite Mexican breakfast), and huaraches with many toppings (mentioned above)--ranging from 45 to 69 pesos, or $3 to about $4.75, he also features the more substantial dishes he is known for:  BBQ ribs ($8.30) and pulled pork sandwiches ($6.50).  Baby back ribs, wings, hamburgers, hot dogs (fancy ones!), flautas, and even two pasta dishes also are available. Yum.

Of course Dr. Kebabs' truck pulled me over right away, given my love of Middle Eastern food.

I had to smile at how modern we have become with social media...even for food trucks.  Of course.  It's important stuff, I do realize.


Shawarma, much like Mexico's tacos al pastor, a terrific offering of marinated meat shaved with a special machine in the modern way
No Mexican food event would be complete without a table offering the beloved michelada, a beer-based libation made with beer (and Mexican beer is soooooooo very good), lime juice, chile, and several sauces.  Loosely translated, michelada, means "my cold beer."  Variations abound, such as one of my favorites that was introduced to me by my son, called Cielo Rojo, or Red Sky, which uses clamata juice and V-8.  In the above photo you can see salt, Worcestershire sauce (salsa inglesa, English sauce), and the popular salsa Maggi, a hydrolysed vegetable protein-based seasoning sauce similar to soy sauce, but without containing any soy--all used in a proper  michelada. 

Lemon juice and chile to rim the glass or, in this case, cup

When I asked the lovely young woman who was turning out the micheladas if the red powder was Tajín (a beloved chile/lime/salt seasoning used on just everything, especially tortas and cold fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, jícama, and mango), she told me it was best to use this blend, and had me taste it.  Yes, indeed, it was better--rich and slightly sweet with the taste of dried tamarind.  Yum, again.

Recipe:  Michelada
Cook's Note:  My son, who was born and raised in Mexico will be shocked and probably disappointed that I am including a recipe for michelada, but I do think my readers will want to have an idea of proportions--proportions that can be adjusted to taste, of course.  And should be.  This is how I learned to make it:

For one serving you need a lime and a small plate with coarse salt or a specific chile blend, such as the one above or Tajín

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Salsa Maggi, or to taste
A 12-oz bottle of Mexican beer of choice

To rim the glass with chile salt:  Cut the lime in half and rub around the rim of glass.  Invert the glass and dip in the chile-salt mixture.

Fill the glass with ice, if using, then add lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Maggi sauce.  Fill with beer.  Stir to combine.  Check and adjust seasoning


 This truck offered wings, burritos, and wraps--and a smiling young man eager to be helpful.  Although he had no actual menu, the chalkboard shows the types of burritos and wraps, plus salads and wings.


 The tiny puesto called Elocua, served gourmet corn.  Boiled and served with mayonnaise and queso fresco, esquites (or ezquites) are a popular street snack all over Mexico.

 Mayonnaise, plus popular sprinkles, mainly with chile


 Another truck that really grabbed my attention was Bistroka, a modern take on a fast bistro food, featuring a range of sliders with three bread options (see them in the basket?).  Unfortunately, I didn't really get a good photo of this truck, but I did nip a take-away menu, which shows that in addition to the slider menu below, they offer hamburgers, barbecue, Yucatecan cochinita pibil (an achiote- and sour orange-marinated chicken or pork dish), Italian-style meatballs, German brats, and even the beloved American Reuben sandwich.  And roasted vegetables with goat cheese for the vegetarians.



The other San Miguel truck, which is usually parked across the street from the Commercial Mexicana, or Mega, spotlights seafood.  You can see from the sign that they make empanadas with tinga a mild dish of shredded spiced chicken or pork) or crab. Also on the chalkboard menu are tacos of shrimp, tortas (sandwiches) of spiced pork, cod, or sirloin, tostadas of octopus or "beef feet", and pannacotta.  Of course.



Altomar (High Sea) is yet another truck which offered seafood, including caldo de camaron, the rich seafood broth so popular here, for basically $1 or 15 pesos.  [Note:  Mexico has the 13th longest coastline in the world, with 9930 km of coastline].  Their menu also includes tostadas de ceviche (several types), burritos, tacos, seafood hamburgers, and various sushis.   And more...always more.








What did I take home?
Because my husband stayed at home, I just had to make my orders "take-away" so I could share with him.  I don't have photos of all of the dishes, but here is what I ended up with:

  • A Philly Steak Slider
  • A Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Slider
  • Octopus Tostadas
  • Crab Empanadas
  • A Mixed Middle Eastern Wrap of Shawarma and Falafel--and fries!
  • An order of Falafel
All good.  Each one.  Delicious.  And Chef on Fuego assures me that they are planning an even bigger event soon--and I can't wait!


 Octopus tostadas with guacamole...sigh...

Crab empanadas...sigh...yet again

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Please ask permission before using text or photos.  Thanks!

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Autumn Cobb Salad with Smoky Butternut Squash Dressing


Autumn Cobb Salad with Smoky Butternut Squash Dressing
by Victoria Challancin

Beautiful food inspires the poet in us all, but when my own attempts at adequate description fail me, I simply turn to the great poets who say it better.   In this case, I will call on Elizabeth Barrett Browning and simply use her voice to say, "Cobb Salad, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways."

Let's see...there was the memorable New Orleans' style Muffaletta Cobb Salad with a Horseradish Vinaigrette.  Mmmm.  And then there was the stunning retro Mexican Shrimp Cobb Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Tomatillo Dressing.  Ahhhh.  Fun.  And I could never overlook the Shrimp and Gruyère Cobb Salad with Pickled Quails Eggs and Low-Fat Green Goddess Dressing.  Sigh...Yes, Cobb Salad, I truly do love you.  And your interpretations are endless.  Antipasto Cobb Salad?  Why not?  Sushi Cobb Salad?  Absolutely!  Indian-Inspired Cobb Salad with chicken, curried potatoes, raita, kachumber, and a chutney dressing?  Divine.  Vietnamese Summer Roll Cobb Salad?  Yes, yes, yes...just open up those summer rolls and serve with a ginger-soy dressing.  Satay Cobb Salad?  Gado-Gado as a Cobb Salad?  Greek Cobb Salad? California or Southwestern Style?  You bet.  Let your imagination go wild.  It is all in the presentation after all.  

A Little History of Cobb Salad
From an earlier post:  In 1937 an overnight salad sensation was born at Hollywood's The Brown Derby restaurant, when the hungry owner, Bob Cobb, three together an assortment of salad ingredients to satisfy his late-night hunger.  According to Arthur, Schwartz, NYC's "Food Maven," more than 4 million Cobb salads have been sold at the Brown Derby restaurants since that time.  It is easy to understand why:  the salad is beautiful, full of healthy ingredients, and above all, the recipe is flexible.  While the original classic recipe calls for chicken, bacon, and blue cheese, this salad begs for reinterpretation.  Because it is so perfect for San Miguel's al fresco dining style, I have prepared it over the years in a variety of styles ranging from Italian to Thai to Mexican, and of course, French.



I always feel a bit sad when I think of my many Down Under friends who are now ending their spring, just as we prepare for winter.  Maybe I can convince them to save this tasty recipe for autumn, just as I am gathering up their lighter food offerings for when our own weather warms up!


Cook's Notes:  The original recipe used pumpkin instead of butternut squash, but because I am so giddy at suddenly having access to the latter, I chose it.  I used mizuna as a spritely base for this and chose multi-colored tiny tomatoes, including some lovely chocolate-hued ones.  Although I used feta, blue cheese would have been lovely as well.  This certainly should have had some toasted pumpkin seeds atop it as well--I just didn't have time to make them in class!

Recipe:  Autumn Cobb Salad with Smoky Butternut Squash Dressing
(Original recipe from heatherchristo.com)

3 cups pumpkin (or other winter squash--I used butternut), peeled, and cut into large dice
Seeds from the squash (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1 head iceberg lettuce  (or other lettuce such as endive, arugula, baby kale--or mizuna, which is used here)
2 cups cooked chicken breast cut into chunks or shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 avocado, cut into large dice
4 hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters or slices
4 slices crispy cooked bacon
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely minced flat-leaf parsley

Smoky Pumpkin Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin chunks
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F.  Spread the pumpkin or squash pieces on a sheet pan and toss them with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until golden and tender.  Remove and set aside to cool.

On a separate sheet pan, toss the seeds from the pumpkin or squash with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and a little kosher salt.  Roast for about 7 minutes or until golden.  Remove and set aside to cool.

To make the Dressing:
In the jar of a blender, combine 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin or squash, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika and salt.  Puree on high until well combined and smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Set aside.


To assemble:  
Arrange the ingredients in rows over a base of lettuce or chosen green leaves.  Sprinkle the top with parsley and pumpking seeds, if using.  Serve with the Smoky Dressing on top and/or on the side.



Parting Shot:



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Wontons with Maple Cream Dipping Sauce

 Pumpkin Pie Wontons with Maple Cream Dipping Sauce

Just in Time for Thanksgiving:  Pumpkin Pie Wontons with Maple Cream Dipping Sauce
by Victoria Challancin

With Thanksgiving looming for Americans, even for expats like me, I wanted to offer a simple seasonal dessert that would be a perfect ending to a heavy meal of turkey and all the trimmings. Although I tend to stick to traditional family recipes for this beloved holiday, I can easily see substituting this easy-to-prepare dessert for my aunt's traditional pumpkin pie.  Good enough to eat a dozen, yet small enough to be satisfied with just one, this dessert is guaranteed to gratify all.

The filling comes together quickly, and the wontons fry in minutes.  Perhaps the maple cream dipping sauce is gilding the lily, but it is tasty enough to be included and offers that last bit of decadence to polish off a day of general gustatory excess.

Pumpking Pie Wontons with Maple Cream Dipping Sauce

Cook's Notes:  If using canned pumpkin, there is more enough to easily double this recipe.  And why not?  If opening a packet of 50 wonton wrappers, it is easy enough to make more than the twenty listed in the recipe amounts.  And trust me, these disappear almost as quickly as you can fry them, roll them in sugar, and put them on a plate!  You can use plain water to seal them, in lieu of an egg wash.  Also, these can be baked--but they are definitely better fried!


Recipe:  Pumpkin Pie Wontons with Maple Cream Dipping Sauce
(Recipe from tablespoon.com)
Makes 20 wontons, but can easily be doubled

Wontons:
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see the recipe below)
2 tablespoons Neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature
20 wonton wrappers
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)--or just use plain water
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar or cinnamon/granulated sugar for dusting

Optional Maple Dip:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature (or use regular cream cheese)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cream cheese until combined.

Lay wonton wrappers on a clean surface.  Brush egg wash (or even plain water) along edges of each wrapper and place 1 teaspoon filling in the center.  Fold each wrapper into a triangle and pinch edges to seal.

In a large, deep saucepan over medium heat, bring about 1 1/2 inches oil to about 320 degrees F.  Drop 3-4 wontons (or more if you can add them without crowding the pan) into the hot oil and cook 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden brown.  Alternately, you can spray the wontons with oil, dust with cinnamon sugar, and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

Remove wontons with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool slightly. Repeat with remaining wontons.  Dust wontons with powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar.

To make the dipping sauce:  In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, cream cheese, maple syrup and ground cinnamon.  Serve dip alongside warm wontons.


How to make Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix:
Makes 2 1/3 tablespoons
(Adapted from The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices by Tony Hill)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk or stir to combine.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

Parting Shot:  

©Victoria Challancin

Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

Please ask permission before using photos or text.  Thank you1