Tip of the Week

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Making your own . . . Harissa

I don't know about you, but I am a lover of FoodNetwork shows.  A friend used to watch them with me several years ago and I enjoyed them.  It wasn't until I really got into cooking my own food that I truly understood the obsession.  Now I have a binder of recipes from their website that I have tried and other recipes that I want to try in the future.

My only complaint is that some ingredients are hard to find.  Maybe you have experienced this too.  One item I have NEVER seen, even in markets in the Bay Area is Pomegranate Molasses.  I know Bobby Flay loves this, but I can't find it.  My latest ingredient is harissa sauce (again another Bobby Flay recipe).  However I found a solution to this problem. . .  Make my own!

So here goes:

10-12 dried chilies (I used Guajillo and California chilies, but you can use New Mexico, Ancho or any combination that you have on hand or find)
3 garlic cloves
salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander (or whole and grind yourself)
1 tsp ground caraway seeds (again you can use whole and grind)
1/2 tsp cumin

Soak the chilies in boiling water for about 30 minutes.  Remove seeds and stems and then process in a Food Processor (a Blender would also work).  I find that you can save yourself some time if you remove the seeds and stems before you soak the chilies, but try it both ways and decide for yourself.
Add garlic, salt, olive oil and process, then add spices (grind spices first if you are using whole spices).  Blend until you have a paste.

I did not need all of the harissa for the recipe, so I am freezing it for later use.  Otherwise store in a sealed container and use for other recipes (I don't know the actual time that this will be fresh in the refrigerator).

Once you really start cooking, even if you are a baker at heart, like I am, you will see it is not difficult to make your own substitution for recipes.  It is worth the time and a little extra effort as well.  This is also a great solution for those avoiding BPA, canned products or are trying to find organic substitutes.

Until next time . . .

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