Spices of my life: #1 Saffron

I’m taking a break from the kitchen just for tonight so I can at least write something. I’ve been meaning to talk about spices and how important they are to me even before I claimed that I’m a foodie. I thought everybody uses spices and spice racks are a must in every kitchen. I was wrong! I came to know people who only use salt and msg in their kitchen- well, in addition to vinegar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Ugh… how bland! I have so many spices in the kitchen. I have two spice racks and some other loose jars of this and that and a whole jar of Indian spices in individual packages. It’s nice to experiment with them like mixing colors in a palette; finding the best combination that will please the eye and in this case the palate. But because they are essential to cooking and food, they can be pricey and of course, it also depends on the quality of a particular spice. Take the case of saffron. I never knew saffron till I saw Tyler Florence cooking his ultimate paella on Food Network. He didn’t discuss saffron at length- just that I only need a few threads because they’re very aromatic and flavorful and expensive. So I Googled it and found out it is indeed the most expensive spice of them all. I ordered my first saffron in the internet site that sells everything connected to making paella. This is my first ever paella, using Tyler’s ultimate paella recipe. I was so proud of it that I’ve kept this picture for years. I used chicken and pork cutlets, mussels, shrimps, king crab legs, scallops and lobster tails with medium grain rice, sweet paprika, saffron, tomatoes and green peas. Now I realized it's a bad idea to dig this picture from my old files--- I am craving! But I will make this probably for Christmas or New Year .... as long as the craving don't get nasty :-)


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