For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday!!! Week #1

Yup, I'm so excited that I simply couldn't wait any longer to post this! Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with as their very own Mystery Spice! If you're visiting here for the first time and you're wondering, "What the heck is this all about?" then I would suggest visiting this page. It explains why I started this carnival, and down at the bottom are the rules for posting your own recipe using your own Mystery Spice.

This week I made some amazing headway in cleaning out and organizing my spice cabinet. I went through and combined spices, such as my 3 jars of cinnamon, and 4 jars of BBQ grilling rub. I threw out 6 empty containers. Six! Plus I rearranged things into a more logical manner. I'm so proud of myself! It's still very very full, but I'm making headway, and hopefully over the next several weeks I'll use up more spices, throw out more containers, and discover new recipes along the way.

Remember this really cool spice chest that my parents brought me from Turkey?

At a friend's suggestion (Thanks Julia!) I'm planning to take out all those little plastic drawers of spices and transfer them into baby food jars. Awesome idea!!! Some of you might really like that suggestion for spices you own, so I thought I'd share.

Why didn't I think of that? I've got baby food jars galore!

I knew there was a reason I saved those things.

Anyway... since I know you're all sitting on the edge of your seats... my Mystery Spice came from said cabinet.

Hmmm... what could it be?

Could it be sumac? Could it be coriander?

Those mixed peppercorns look pretty interesting...

No, I picked the spice that I was most curious about...


I know... super exciting, huh???

They're always talking about saffron on the Food Network, and I really had no idea what kind of flavor it would have. Come to think of it, I still don't really know. More on that later. :)

So I went to Recipezarr, fabulous site by the way, and use their search by ingredient function to find some recipes. There were lots of Turkish recipes, and some Spanish dishes, and since Hubs and I are trying to eat healthy, I settled on a recipe called Spanish Meatballs. Sounded good to me! (If you're looking for a printable recipe you can just click the link above and it will take you directly to it.)

And oh momma, would you just look at that cast of characters! Ground turkey, salt, onions, garlic, paprika, roasted red pepper, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, olive oil, canned tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Yum!

Plus of course, our dear Mystery Spice, Saffron threads...

And basmati rice.

So first I went to work on the meatballs. I placed the turkey in a bowl, along with salt.

I finely chopped the onions in a food processor, put half of it in with the turkey.

Along with 1/2 the garlic.

Then I put the rest of the onion and garlic into a big pot and started sauteing it with the olive oil.

Then I added paprika to the meat.

And I went to work on the roasted red peppers. I just gave them a bit of a rough chop. Again, I put 1/2 with the meat, and 1/2 in the pot.

Then I added the breadcrumbs.

And parsley.

And egg.

Then I took my rings off and went to work mixing the meatballs. There's something really satisfying about getting your hands messy.

I used a small cookie scoop to make the meatballs uniform. They look delicious already!

I tossed the meatballs in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. The original recipe calls for dropping them into the sauce to cook, but I've never had any luck making meatballs that way. In the past when I've tried that technique the meatballs just end up falling apart into the sauce. Cooking them in the oven is pretty much foolproof.

So while they were cooking I went to work on the sauce. I added the remaining red peppers, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, hot sauce and worchestershire sauce.

And then as the meatballs came out of the oven (it took 2 batches to cook all the meat) I added them into the sauce to simmer.

So what ever happened to the saffron? Our dear sweet Mystery Spice?

Well she's right here, getting ready to take the plunge in the rice cooker. I used chicken broth instead of water, just in case you were wondering.

I let the sauce and meatballs simmer for about an hour, and dang did they look good!

The rice? Well, it looked alright I guess. I couldn't wait any longer and took a big bite of the rice all by itself, but I honestly couldn't taste the Saffron... like.. at all. I was majorly bummed. I wonder, did I not use enough? Is it super old Saffron that was sitting on a shelf for years before my parents bought it 2 years ago? Did I do something wrong? For those of you who have used saffron threads before, please give me some hints or suggestions! I will be using saffron again in the future (possibly near future as I try to figure it out!).

Verdict? Well, I'd still really like to know what saffron is supposed to taste like, because I seriously doubt it's supposed to be so bland you hardly know it's there. I thought the meatballs were delicious! Hubs thought they were too "soft", they were really tender and pretty much fell apart the moment you cut into them. I like them that way, but Hubs thought they should be more solid somehow. The sauce? It was ok, I thought I needed something. Not sure what. Definitely more salt, and possibly some paprika. But I really liked the roasted red peppers, great addition to any sauce in my opinion! I think I'll probably make this again, but do my own bit of tweeking.

So do YOU have a Mystery Spice recipe that you'd like to share??? Just add your name/blog to Mr. Linky below! I can't wait to see what you come up with!


Jodi Davis said...

Amy- If you go to my blog you will see that I am not good with spices. I grew up in a family that salt and pepper were spices. Even so I wanted to take part, so recently I organized my spices. I wanted to share my neato (in my opinion) idea on how to organize my spices! Take a look if you get a chance! :)

Jodi Davis said...

I used baby food jars and bought a couple of magnetic knife racks at Ikea for $2.99 and hung them and then the top of the lid stuck to it. Thank you for adding me to your link. I am a new guy doing this blogging thing but I totally love it!

Veronica Lee said...

That looks delicious! The only spicees I regularly use are the 'Chinese 5 spice-powder' and some stuff for curries that are pre-packed.

Gibson Twins said...

That looks good! I buy the grinder spices at the grocery store, nothing spectacular and not at all organized! I wanted to tell you though that when I cook meatballs, I put them in a glass pyrex pan with spaghetti sauce and they stay pretty solid that way. I usually cook for about 2 1/2 hours or so at 300ish.

From Single to Married said...

mmm.. I love saffron too! I don't have a mystery spice to share because that would require that I actually cook, but wanted to agree with you on the saffron. And the meatballs look fantastic!

MommyAmy said...

Jodi~ That is such a great idea!!! I never would have thought of that. And so thrifty too! Ikea rocks!

Veronica~ Hey, nothin' wrong with the pre-packaged stuff! We use a lot of it around here too. :)

Gibson Twins~ That sounds like just about the perfect way to make meatballs! Because they'd get all the flavors from the sauce yet wouldn't fall apart. I really don't understand why people even try the stovetop method!

Tabitha~ I really really want to love saffron too! Unfortunately, I still don't think I really know what it tastes like! Maybe next time. :)

Stacy said...

I don't have a mystery spice as I don't much nor do I know anything about Saffron, never heard of it before but those meatballs do look good.

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