Spice Video, Ep. 2: Coriander

22 09 2011

Today I am going to take you inside my apartment for a little cooking adventure.  I encourage you all to try this recipe at home.  It’s easy, super healthy and something you’ve most likely never made before.  Let me know your feedback!

Recipe:  Creamy Millet with Coriander and Parmesan Cheese
(Serves 2)
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 cup milllet 
3/4-1 Tbs. coriander, freshly ground
1/2-1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 cups water (or stock)
2-3 Tbs. Parmesan Cheese, grated fine
Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a small saucepan.  When the oil is hot, add the minced shallot and saute for 20 seconds.  Next, add the millet to the pan and toast the grain, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the water/broth and bring the liquid up to a simmer.  
While the liquid is heating up, place 1 Tbs. of whole coriander in a small saucepan over medium heat (without any oil or butter).  Heat the coriander, stirring the pan, until the seeds are hot to the touch.  Transfer them directly to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.  When the coriander seeds are cool, grind them to a fine texture.  Add 3/4-1 Tbs. of the freshly ground coriander to the millet and season with kosher salt.  
Once the millet has come to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 18-22 minutes.  Stir in the shaved Parmesan cheese and season to taste with kosher salt.  Serve immediately.
* For breakfast, creamy millet goes wonderfully with poached eggs, soft scrambled eggs, bacon or some seasonal vegetables
*For dinner, creamy millet is a wonderful accompaniment to seared fish, meat or roasted vegetables.  

Spice Video, Ep. #1

6 09 2011

Over the next month, I have decided to take a culinary adventure with you.  The topic: Spices.  Why? Because spices are underrated and they add incredible flavor, color and nutrients to food.  I think more people need to feel comfortable using spices when they cook. It’s important for people to know you don’t need to add butter or oil to make their food taste better.  Spices, in their freshest form, can transform any normal dish to an exotic delicious creation.

I have to be honest, I don’t remember everything I learned in culinary school.  But I will NEVER forget learning about spices from Tom, the owner of “The Spice House” in Chicago.  Tom’s lecture literally rocked my world….teaching me so many facts that I had never considered about spices.

Key Points that I remember:

1. Grocery store spices are not dated.  They can be packaged and sit in a warehouse for years before they make it to shelf of a supermarket.  At the supermarket they are usually never rotated so a “new spice” you buy is most likely expired by the time you use it.

2.  It matters where your spices come from.  If you go to a store that specializes in spices, they come directly from the source (Africa, South East Asia, Spain) and the flavors taste 100 times stronger and have a higher nutrient value.

3.  It’s always best to buy spices in their whole form. (whole seeds vs. ground)  They don’t go bad this way.  When you are ready to use them, you toast and grind them yourself to get the freshest taste and quality.

4.  Spice grinders are cheap and super easy to use.  They are basically the same thing as an expresso grinder and cost 20 bucks at Bed Bath and Beyond or Target.

5.  There are hundreds or different types of salts that you can use for different reasons.  Salt not only adds flavor to our food, it preserves, tenderizes and gives our body essential nutrients.

If you’ve never been to the Spice House in Chicago or Evanston, YOU NEED TO GO!  Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know what to buy at first.  Start with a spice blend or some finishing salt and take baby steps to the exotic stuff.  I’d love to share a video of my experience at the Spice House in Chicago this week:

This month I am going to continue to do video’s featuring some of my favorite spices and share the recipes with you. If you have any questions or want to chat about spices, respond to the blog or visit one of the two Spice House locations.


Spice House Chicago, 1512 N. Wells St, Chicago Il. 60610  (in Old Town)

Spice House Evanston, 1941 Central St., Evanston Il. 60201