Cheap heat: DIY Fajita Seasoning

There’s not much that’s greater in the spice world than finding a grocery store with a huge selection of bulk spices. Ours here in Bozeman is the local Community Co-Op, generally overpriced, but with high-quality produce and a wide range of hard-to-find items. The bulk section, however, is awesome. Herbs, spices and spice blends, honey, GYO (grind-your-own) peanut butter, loose leaf teas, “Buzz Beans” (aka chocolate-covered espresso bean deliciousness), cereals, soup mixes, dried goods, oils and vinegars, specialty powders and flours, you name it – you can find it at the co-op. They have organic ($$$) and non-organic ($) options for most things as well. It’s like the bulk section at WinCo but with a whole section of gluten-free alternatives and blooming teas instead of bins of gummy candy… which is generally awesome, but really unfortunate sometimes. 

The point of this is that I have started making my own fajita seasoning, as I discovered that the components of the store-bought stuff are usually stocked in my cupboard anyway. Unless it’s on sale, I rarely buy spices that aren’t in bulk. They’re just too expensive. The great part about making your own fajita seasoning is that you can control the salt, as well as the level of heat. This recipe makes just enough to fill up my little 1-cup plastic jar: 

  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp each white sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1 tsp each cumin, coriander, fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

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Mix together with the measuring spoons, breaking up clumpy cornstarch on the side of the bowl. Carefully scoop into your own container, and use for delicious things! I actually don’t really make fajitas very often… I use this a teaspoon or two at a time as an easy spice and thickener for soups. This is my 3rd batch in about a year. 

 

 

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What’s Bacon? Bacon maple cookies!

I’ve made sort of a habit out of taking baked goods to work once or twice a week… the baking process is (mostly) calming and satisfying, and the sharing keeps me from eating all the treats. Going from being surrounded by food all day, every day, to sitting in a office for 8 hours leads to withdrawal, apparently.

This is a recipe from a friend from college who lives in Sydney, Australia and has a cooking blog, 4 Seasons Food, where she shows off the skills of her culinary training in Canada.

I adapted the recipe a little, as it’s for maple-bacon ice cream sandwiches that feature maple ice cream. I simply added about a tablespoon

IMG_3476of molasses, a good drizzle of real maple syrup, and a pinch of allspice. I also used bacon ends and pieces, which I was first exposed to working at the retirement home, and fell in love with how huge, meaty and delicious the pieces tend to be, and I coined the term “bacon steak” for one of my favorite kitchen treats. Continue reading

Soup Gang

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Tonight was the second meeting of Soup Gang, a tradition that was brought to Bozeman by some friends who spend some time together in Tahoe, CA as ski instructors. The idea is that the host provides the soup, and guests bring sides like salad, bread, and, of course, beer & wine. It was our turn to host, and I made corn chowder, which was so full in my 8 qt. dutch oven that I had to split it into two pots, but we ended up with only enough leftovers for 2 lunches for tomorrow. Perfect amount, but holy cow, do we inhale soup!

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Our cat, Shyguy, anxiously waiting for our guests to arrive.

Here is a basic recipe for my corn chowder, inspired by the recipe from the retirement home I used to work at, where the residents ate better than I did at home! Continue reading

Apocolyptic Jam Production

At the end of the summer, I moved from Newberg, OR to Bozeman, MT. Working at a fine dining restaurant had me submerged to my eyeballs in food all day, every day, but I still enjoyed cooking when I got home. As some of you may know, Oregon is a prime reason for berries so good, you’ll never want to buy them from a store again. Once you’ve tasted a Hood strawberry, a ruby red raspberry warmed from the sun off the vine, or a juicy marionberry from the bounty of your neighbor’s backyard, you’ll understand why store bought berries are only good for mashing and turning into sauces and shortcakes.Oregon strawberry!

Continue reading

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

 
I am going to participate in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year! A couple good friends from college who co-write a food blog together, Cats and Commas, in which they challenge each other from across the miles, are participating in the Cookie Swap yet again this year and I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. Check out their blog, it’s much more active and well-designed than mine… I have lots of ideas and can’t wait to get some delicious cookies for myself!