Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spice Rubs

Spices are a fantastic way to change up your weekly paleo menus. There are a large variety of spice mixtures available in the supermarkets, but many of them contain a huge amount of salt and other preservatives. Check the labels before you decide to buy them. You can also make up your own mixtures, and most of them will keep for up to 3 months. Spices have gotten expensive (like everything else), but they are worth the money. You will find that as you eat a paleo diet on a regular basis, you will crave some new tastes. Look for reasonably priced spices at the dollar stores and also in the ethnic sections of the supermarkets. McCormick also makes “Recipe Inspiration” packs that contain pre-measured spices and a recipe card for about $1.99 each. Some of the choices work well for paleo.

Here are several ideas to get you started. The first one uses cocoa. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s penciled in for this week. If you make it, let me know the results.

For Pork:
Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa Spice Rub
Courtesy of Michael Chiarello, Food Network.com

1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole coriander
4 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
4 tablespoons sea salt
2 (2-pound) boneless pork tenderloins
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast white peppercorns and coriander seeds until they begin to pop. Remove from heat and grind to fine powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Mix the ground pepper and coriander with remaining spices, cocoa and salt.

Trim the pork tenderloins of fat and silver skin. Rub with a generous amount of the cocoa spice rub. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Sear each tenderloin on all sides until a rich brown color, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove tenderloins from heat and finish in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Let the tenderloins rest out of the oven for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Extra cocoa spice rub will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

The next three rubs can be made ahead and stored. When you are ready to grill, just pour some onto your meat of choice, rub it in on both sides, and cook.

For chicken:
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix together all ingredients. Will keep for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

For fish:
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Fresh lemon zest

Grind coriander and fennel seeds in a spice or coffee grinder, or pound in a mortar and pestle. Mix together with sea salt and thyme. Store in an airtight container. Will keep for up to 3 months. Add lemon zest to taste when you are ready to prepare your fish.

For beef:
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Mix together first 8 ingredients. Store in an airtight container. This base will stay fresh for 3 months. Add the garlic when you are ready to coat your meat.

This is excellent on flank steak or London broil. Cut the meat in thin strips against the grain when it is done. Use the leftover cold steak on a salad with ripe tomatoes and some some balsamic dressing.

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