Spice up your good health
I like to post on Tuesdays but this Tuesday I had nothing… nothing except a wonderful spice rub I put together on the weekend. It smokes! But I promise you, it doesn’t burn.
So this is it. Spices crank up your metabolism. Maintaining your weight is easier when you add peppers, turmeric, curries, and chiles to your meals. Spices also enjoy a reputation for fighting chronic and deadly diseases, like cancer and heart problems. Wonderful flavor is a bonus.
I’m in the midst of preparing for my annual evening hosting our gourmet group, which has been running for ever so many years. So time is at a premium this week. In the coming weeks, though, I’ll share with you some of the highlights.
But today there is time only for this spice rub, which I promise will become a staple in your family if you decide to blend it up. It’s even good for teaching the little ones to try flavors that are out of their comfort zone.
Ancho chile peppers
The one key ingredient is ancho chile peppers. Anchos are the dried version of Poblano, or “people” peppers. Their flavor is somewhat sweet and raisin-like, with medium heat. The rub tastes strongly smoked, but I suspect that flavor is from the smoked paprika.
If you only find whole anchos, you can grind them to a powder in your food processor. If your kids aren’t used to spicy foods, separate the skins from the seeds for a milder powder. Look for anchos wherever you find a good selection of spices from around the world. Or order them on line. They are a real find.
Ancho-chile spice rub
Makes about a third of a cup
- 2 tablespoons smoked or sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried and powdered ancho chilies
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- If any of your spices are whole, grind them to a powder in a food processor. I have a mini one for these sorts of things.
- Combine all the spices in a bowl and mix well.
- Store in a sealed glass jar or tin.
- Use as a rub on any meat or fish. Allow the meat to mellow with the spice rub for an hour or two before cooking for best flavor.
Spicy ancho shrimp salad
Serves one at lunch
- 1 or 2 cups greens, washed and torn into pieces (I used kale)
- 5 or 6 raw shrimps, about 2 ounces
- 2 or 3 teaspoons ancho-chile spice rub
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, sliced
- 1/2 medium tomato, cut into chunks
- balsamic vinegar to taste
- Cut the shrimps in half, lengthwise.
- Sprinkle them with the spice rub and set aside in the fridge for an hour or two. You can cook them immediately, but the flavor isn’t as intense.
- At lunchtime, melt the coconut oil in a nonstick pan and stir-fry the onions and red peppers until they begin to brown.
- Add the tomato chunks and stir until they get hot.
- Finally, add the shrimps and stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes, until they turn pink.
- Spoon on top of the greens on a serving plate and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, to taste.