I am a farmer’s market ‘nerd’ and always navigate my way to one during each of my travel adventures. On one such getaway I met the very gracious Carmen at the Boulder (Colorado) farmer’s market.
She had a very neatly laid out table with an array of Molés (Mexican cooking sauce), salsa and adobo sauce. The recipes for the Molés originate from different regions in Mexico. I still have remnants of the robust flavors of the Oaxacan Molé…rich, with a hint of cacao and a peppery aftertaste. I dunked some tortilla chips in the salsa and adobo, and can’t even begin to describe the confluence of flavors!
Of course with much enthusiasm I struck up an interesting conversation with with her and now here I am interviewing this very inspiring lady for a blog post. Without revealing much, I’ll let Carmen describe her story. I’m all for supporting small business’ and Carmen’s passion and devoutness towards what she does is very uplifting.
I’m so psyched about this three ingredient summer spice blend, the flavor profile is simple, refreshing and its very easy to make. I made a small batch and sprinkled it on salads, over some freshly squeezed orange juice and on slices of watermelon…so good!
I absolutely love the smoky flavor of chipotle chile’s! Did you know chipotle chili is a large jalapeño chile that is dried and then smoked. The name is derived from the Nahuatl (group of peoples native to southern Mexico and Central America, including the Aztecs.) word chilpoctli, which means smoked chili pepper.
Chipotle’s are primarily cultivated in Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Southern New Mexico and Southern Texas. Farmers pick green jalapeños for markets and leave some chile’s to naturally ripen while still on the wine, they are harvested once they attain a deep red color and have lost most of its moisture. The red-dry jalapeños are then moved to a sealed smoking chamber, spread out on metal grills and allowed to dry with very low heat and wood smoke. This process takes several days until all the moisture is removed.
Salmon is possibly my favorite fish, it has so much flavor and is extremely versatile. Over the last few months I’ve explored different methods of cooking this uber-delicious fish and have come to realize that it needs to be cooked just perfectly and over done salmon can make it too dry and chewy. Also, different cuts for Salmon do matter, I like small fillets to whip a quick meal together on week nights or something more fancy on weekends, like a salmon steak.
After making my first legit Melt spice blend – Coriandrum Pepper, it was time to dive into actually using it in recipes. This is where the fun begins and the options are limitless. The blend works wonderfully as a spice rub for different kinds of meats and has tones of citrus along with a tingling-spicy-peppery after taste.
I can’t be grateful enough to have grown up in a country where the knowledge of ‘exotic’ spices seems like second nature. Even though I almost never cooked in India, I know my spices. These flavor enhancers add another dimension to food, almost like painting highlights and shadows to a still life that would seem flat otherwise.
Different cultures have their own way in which spices are used to cook food and this is how spice blends evolved. People in warmer regions of the world (closer to the equator) tend to use more spices to preserve meat because of its antimicrobial properties. This is why spice blends seem to have more complex flavors in regions like India or Africa versus Iceland or Norway.
Food sustains life,
Spice breathes air into that food.
Our cooking has evolved from roasting meats in a fire pit to complex multi layered recipes of modern day. During this evolution and development of several cooking techniques spices began to and still occupy the most critical dimension to cook flavorful food.