No, I’m not talking about your least favorite Spice Girl. I’m talking the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux:
Spooky Spices: You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)
I’d say I’m not scared of too many spices. I love to combine spices in unusual ways to completely alter/upgrade a recipe.
So at first, I was completely stumped.
Then, like a gift from the gods, my friend gave me some amazing saffron. I like the flavor and color that saffron brings to recipes, but I had never used it in my own cooking.
So, I started doing my research and one article gave mention of using saffron with cinnamon and cumin — SOLD! Saffron can give a bitter taste to dishes if not treated properly. To make sure I mantained the beautiful taste and depth that saffron can lend, I first ground the saffron using a mortar and pestle (my Grandma’s mortar and pestle, in fact — brought all the way from Turkey). Then, I steeped it — like you would tea — in hot (but NOT boiling) water for about 30 minutes, yielding the most beautiful golden liquid.
From there, it was time to make stew! Not just any stew…Moroccan-style, VEGAN, warming stew. Enjoy!
Recipe: Vegan Moroccan Stew
This dish is perfect for a cool fall day. If you need gluten-free, use one block of extra firm (crumbled) tofu in place of the tempeh.
- 1 pinch saffron (about 25 strands)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 1 eggplant, cubed
- 3 cups mushrooms, such as criminis, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
- 2 blocks tempeh, crumbled by hand
- 1 can diced tomatoes, preferably no salt added
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Heat 1/2 cup water until hot, but not boiling. While water is heating, grind saffron using a mortar and pestle, or even with your fingers if you don’t have a mortar and pestle. Add the ground saffron to a small dish and pour hot water over it. Let steep.
- In a large pot, saute onion in oil. Once onions are translucent, add mushrrooms and eggplant and saute for 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, crumbled tempeh, spices, salt, apple juice, steeped saffon/water combo and raisins and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
- Garnish with raisins or a sprinkling of ground saffron if desired.
Check out how fellow Recipe ReDuxers use “spooky spices” by clicking on the little blue guy below. Enjoy!