Well, we had a good thing going with all those bizarre high temperatures. However, winter is here, and with today’s temperatures it is certainly not difficult to believe it might stick around for a bit. There is a joy to some cold weather, winter should be short enough to remain sweet and long enough to get us revved up to welcome spring.
Winter is the time to focus on assertive flavors.
My essential winter seasoning choices are based on three elements,
- Availability: Believe it or not a few herbs such as sage and rosemary actually hang in and grow through the winter,
- Compatibility: Spices that complement heavier meals and slow simmered stews, roots, squashes and winter greens that line my winter kitchen.
- Sustainability: How well the benefits of the spices work to sync with the needs of the season are always a welcome bonus, in winter I think of warming spices that fuel the body and perk up the mind.
My short list of spices brings to your winter table turmeric, black peppercorns, cayenne or red pepper flakes, ginger, rosemary and sage. Hopefully, all flavors your grandmother would have approved off. And, to keep things interesting I throw in Garam masala a very versatile spice blend one that introduces a balanced blend of fragrance with a gentle touch of heat. As these spices dominate my cook cooking, while the others in my spice cabinet complement and work as cohorts in the flavor orchestra. The lead cohorts are citrus and complex sweeteners such as molasses, these enhancers serve to gently coax and balance the spicy notes found in my lead spices.
Here is my video on how to make Garam Masala.
I will offer a note of caution to tell you that not all Garam Masala blends are made the same, the recipe I use for winter is a North Indian variation that is my mother-in-law’s recipe.
Here is the recipe, that I had shared with you earlier for the actual spice blend and here are a few recipes to get you comfortable using the spice.