I can remember the first spice I ever bought on my own. After looking up a recipe for a tex-mex lasagna that used flour tortillas instead of noodles from the classic “Looney Spoons Cookbook”, I went to the grocery store and brought home some ground cumin. Growing up, my mom would prepare food using the prepackaged spice blends that had cumin, but we never had just a jar of cumin in our spice cupboard. At the time, it felt like a huge deal to me. I had invested in this spice that would propel my cooking into the next stratosphere. Naturally, I wanted to make sure it was present in the dish so I didn’t exactly follow the recipe. Have you ever tried a teaspoon of cumin on its own? My eagerness to show off the newly purchased ingredient left a wildly unbalanced lasagna. The result was mouthfuls of flour tortilla, cheese and cumin – hardly a dish that would transcend the culinary landscape.
Nowadays it’s all about balance and quality over quantity. The addition of cumin in our food is often accompanied with coriander, black pepper, salt, brown mustard seed and others spices and seasonings. Making sure each component of the dish can be appreciated and not overwhelm the final product on its own. A balanced spice blend is pretty much a staple in every kitchen. Each chef has their own unique combination of spices and seasonings that they deploy in any number of ways. The blend could be something well known (like the Indian spice blend Garam Masala) or perhaps something exclusive to the chefs’ repertoire (I love making “hot salt” a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried chili peppers).
In our kitchen one of the spice blends we always have on is our Grimsby Smoke Rub. We use this rub to crust the tofu we smoke for our Vegan Smoke Sandwich. We also use this blend to season our smoked wings, add flavour to soups, vinaigrette and provide that something special to items like our Pumpkin Seed and Habanero Brittle.
The key is to toast the whole seeds very well before grinding them. Once they have been ground into an amazing smelling powder add the remaining ingredients and mix well. This recipe can be used for anything that goes on the BBQ or even something simple like seasoning the cheddar cheese inside a beautifully melty grilled cheese. It is an amazing way to try a new flavour that will be balanced and not leave your family gasping for a glass of water as they eat a cumin-laced lasagna.
Grimsby Smoke Rub
- Spice Grinder
- 17 g Black Peppercorn
- 11 g Coriander Seed
- 14 g Cumin Seed
- 13 g Fennel Seed
- 23 g Black Mustard Seed
- 14 g Smoked Paprika
- 83 g Brown Sugar
- 76 g Sea Salt
- Combine all seeds together and toast in a dry pan until very fragrant but not burnt
- While seeds are toasting - combine smoked paprika, brown sugar and sea salt in a bowl and set aside
- In a spice grinder (or coffee maker you are not using for coffee anymore), grind the toasted seeds into a powder
- Add ground seeds to paprika, sugar and salt mixture and mix until thoroughly combined