By Karen Gaudette
PCC Natural Markets
A great way to share the satisfaction of home cooking is to give gifts that make it easy: mixes and blends of spices and other ingredients that easily transform into a tasty dish. Save by buying precisely the amounts you need at a market with a bulk department.
Present the ingredients and cooking instructions in a pretty jar or other airtight container wrapped in a bow. Voila!
Here are two easy options from our PCC library.
Spicy Hoppin’ John mix
Combine the following and package in an airtight container: 2 cups black-eyed peas, 2 bay leaves and ¼ cup dried onion flakes. In 3 small, separate, labeled bags, put a teaspoon each of granulated garlic, chipotle powder (or 1 whole smoked chipotle pepper) and powdered cumin. Give with a 28-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and the following instructions: In large pot, combine mix with 4 cups cold water and can of tomatoes, including juice. Bring to a boil, stir once, reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and adjust spices to taste. Serves 6-8, great with cooked rice and greens.
Spice rub mix
This is fragrant and delicious rubbed into poultry at least 1 hour before grilling or baking. Combine the following in an airtight container: 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander, ground mustard seed, ground fennel seed, sugar, salt and pepper; ½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground clove; 3 cloves garlic, minced; ¼ cup olive oil; and pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes.