Thursday, February 27, 2014
These muffins are by far the most moist and delicious banana muffins I've ever had. Although I would typically place corn muffins on the pedestal of my favorite muffins of all time, these banana muffins just may take over that spot.
First of all, I have made over half a dozen recipes from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, and each and every one has been outstanding. I can't say a single negative thing about the tasty results for all of the recipes I've attempted (except for maybe the macarons, which by nature can be difficult to master). The banana muffins are the second muffin recipe I have made from the book, the pumpkin muffins being the first, and in both cases they have skyrocketed to the top of my list of favorites.
One thing that really helps these muffins retain such a moist and tender crumb is the fact that the batter is made in advance and then refrigerated at least overnight. This allows the flour to fully saturate before baking. Even though I used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour (I was all out), these were still outstanding in my book and I can't wait to make them again.
They are mildly buttery, super moist and flavorful, with a delicate sweetness and not-too-overpowering banana flavor. The recipe calls for a walnut streusel for topping, but I actually created an almond streusel instead using almond flour/meal I already had on hand (no need to finely chop/grind up walnuts). It yields a nutty, sweet, and crunchy topping on an already fantastic muffin.
Additionally, the original recipe creates 6 jumbo muffins. Although I have the appropriate pan and paper liners, I decided to forego that option and instead bake off 12 standard muffins for smaller portions. I have made notes in the recipe in case you'd like to go that route instead.
In any case, these banana muffins are my new favorite banana breakfast treat. Banana bread, move on over. There's a new star in town.
Bouchon Bakery Banana Muffins
Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 1 dozen standard muffins
(Adapted from Bouchon Bakery)
168 g (1 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) cake flour (I used all-purpose)
3.6 g (3/4 teaspoon) baking soda
2.4 g (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder
4.4 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) kosher salt
120 g (4.2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
144 g (3/4 cup lightly packed) light brown sugar
80 g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) eggs
7 g (1 1/8 teaspoons) vanilla paste
24 g (1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons) creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
256 g (1 cup) mashed banana (about 2 large bananas)
Nut Streusel Topping:
50 g (1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
50 g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) walnuts, very finely chopped, almond flour/meal, or cashew meal (they now sell cashew meal at Trader Joe's--I used almond flour/meal for this recipe)
0.2 g (pinch) kosher salt
50 g (1.75 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
For the muffins: sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt and whisk together.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, turn to medium-low speed, and cream the butter until it has the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla paste, and mix for 15 to 30 seconds on low speed, until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 seconds each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the creme fraiche and banana and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until just combined. Transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 36 hours.
To make the streusel topping: combine all the ingredients except the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest setting. Toss in the butter and mix on low speed for about 1 minutes, or until the butter is incorporated, with no large chunks remaining. (Alternatively, cut the butter into the flour mixture by hand like you would with pie crust or scones--this is what I did).
Transfer the streusel to a covered container or a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Use the streusel while it is cold.
To bake the muffins: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line either a standard muffin pan with 12 muffin papers or line a jumbo muffin pan with 6 jumbo muffin papers. Spray the papers with nonstick spray.
Spoon the batter evenly into the papers (I used an ice cream scoop), stopping 1/2 inch from the top (133 g each for jumbo muffins and about half that for standard muffins). Sprinkle 30 g/3 tablespoons of the streusel topping on top of each muffin for jumbo muffins and about half that for standard muffins. You will have some leftover streusel topping, which can be reserved for another use.
Place the pan in the oven, lower the temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake for 35 to 38 minutes for jumbo muffins or 29 to 32 minutes for standard muffins, until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
The muffins are best the day they are baked, but they can be wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap or stored in a single layer in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 week.
Monday, February 24, 2014
This month's challenge for the Creative Cooking Crew is rice. As an Armenian, rice pilaf is a serious staple in my kitchen, but considering this month's challenge I definitely wanted to step outside of my usual rice box to create something totally different. I considered doing something Asian with rice, but finally settled on Spanish instead.
I recall a wonderful dish of Soupy Rice with Lobster that I enjoyed last year in Puerto Rico. It's truly unforgettable and has been on my mind since the trip. This past fall, I received a review copy of Spain by Jeff Koehler which contains recipes for both Soupy Rice with Lobster and also Soupy Rice with Free-Range Chicken.
Although the lobster variation is still on my to-do list, it's a bit more time consuming and complicated than the chicken version, and so I decided to start with chicken instead.
The recipe calls for free-range chicken legs, which are larger than typical chicken legs. In order to save some time and effort, I purchased bone-in chicken thighs, removed their skins and simply used these instead. I used 8 thighs in total, delegating 2 thighs per serving.
Bomba rice, or other short or medium-grain Spanish rice is required for this recipe. These types of rice are typically used for paella (another Spanish rice dish I considered for this challenge). I ordered some Calasparra rice from Amazon.com and it turned out to be really convenient and a great deal. I paid just over $8 with free shipping, which arrived 2 days after I ordered it! The price has since gone up (at the time of this post), but I'm sure if you kept an eye on it, the price may go down again at some point.
This rice is really special, and a necessity for this dish. It is starchier than other rice, and yields a great al dente type of bite to the dish, even after absorbing tons of delicious liquid. This particular type of rice absorbs a lot more liquid than traditional rice, which really sets it apart.
I was also really excited to use some Spanish saffron my best friend had actually brought for me from a trip to Spain this past year. It was the perfect occasion to crack open the bottle for this truly authentic Spanish rice dish.
It's not exactly soup and it's not exactly rice, but more like a stew featuring fork-tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken, al dente rice, and a stunning broth featuring onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, saffron, and even almonds which are used to thicken it.
This dish is so flavorful from the broth to the chicken to the rice, that we couldn't stop eating it! Just beware that it really is best served immediately, as the rice will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, making it less soupy over time.
Please check out the roundup of rice recipes at Lazaro Cooks on February 27th!
Soupy Rice with Free-Range Chicken (Arroz Caldoso de Pollo de Corral)
(Adapted from Spain)
2 whole free-range chicken legs* (I used 8 regular skinless bone-in chicken thighs instead)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used less)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 sweet Italian green pepper or 1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ripe medium tomatoes, halved crosswise, seeded and grated down to the skin, skins discarded
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
12 unsalted toasted almonds without skins (I used an equivalent weight of about 14 grams almond meal instead)
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/3 cups (265 g) bomba rice or another short or medium-grain Spanish rice
1 pinch saffron threads
Remove the skin from the chicken. Split the legs into drumsticks and thighs, and then cut each in half crosswise through the bone to get eight bone-in pieces. Pick out any small bone shards.
In a Dutch oven or another heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, onion, green pepper, and tomatoes. Season with salt and cook until the chicken is browned, about 12 minutes (I allowed the chicken to brown on one side and then flipped the pieces over before adding the vegetables, otherwise the chicken won't really brown). Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour int he wine and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover with 8 cups water, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and gently simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the liquid has reduced by about one-third.
Meanwhile prepare a picada by adding the almonds, parsley, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of the simmering liquid to a small food processor and blending until smooth.
To the simmering pot, sprinkling in the rice and the saffron, crushing it between your fingers, and stir in the picada. Cook uncovered until the rice grains are nearly tender but still have a definite al dente bite to them, 14 to 16 minutes, depending on the rice. Add more water if needed to keep it nice and soupy.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit covered for 3 to 4 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid the longer it sits.
*Free-range chickens tend to be generously sized, weighing up to 8 pounds. I used regular (not free-range) chicken thighs, which saved some of the prep for the dish and still yielded an amazingly delicious and comforting result.
*To shake things up a bit, in autumn, add a handful of mushrooms, or in the spring add some trimmed artichokes or fresh shucked peas or fava beans.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
For my last Olympic Party post I'm sharing dessert. In all honesty, I really didn't want to represent a Russian dish on my menu for personal reasons. Normally, I would represent the host country, but in this case, I was not thrilled at that idea.
When my mom offered to make a delicious pastry I grew up eating (which happens to be Russian), it seemed like the perfect way to include Russia in my menu without sacrificing my integrity :) It's a treat I know and love, and technically my mom made it, so I don't feel so guilty.
A moist, but firm buttery cake makes up the bulk of this dessert with an apricot jam filling that adds sweetness. This is the perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning or afternoon, and it's a great after dinner sweet as well.
I hope you've enjoyed a look at my Olympic Party menu for 2014! I'm officially counting down to Rio in 2016... stay tuned!
Pirog with Apricot Jam
Makes 35 pieces
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) jar apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan and set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Beat in 2 of the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. And the vanilla and mix again. Then add the dry ingredients a little at a time, and continue mixing until combined. It will have the consistency of cookie dough.
Press about half of the dough into the bottom of the greased pan. Stir the apricot jam to soften its texture and spread it evenly over the dough. Then take the remaining dough and roll pieces of it into ropes about 1/2-inch thick. Arrange the ropes diagonally in opposite directions alternating rows (for example: think of the pan as a map. Arrange ropes from southwest to northeast, skipping rows in between. Then arrange ropes from northwest to southeast, skipping rows in between. Then go back and fill in the skipped rows from southwest to northeast and so on. This will create an alternating lattice-type look). Finally, use a long rope of dough to create a border around the entire pan.
Beat the last egg and carefully brush it over the dough on top, being cautious to avoid the jam. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.
Monday, February 17, 2014
If I had to pick a favorite dish from my Olympic party, I'd have to go with these Swedish meatballs. They were the first to make it onto my menu, and they'd be the first to ever be repeated on a future Olympic menu if I ever decided to repeat a dish (which I likely won't).
Once again, The Meatball Shop Cookbook has stolen the show. I have waxed poetic about both The Meatball Shop Cookbook and the restaurant in New York City on multiple occasions, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. Both the balls and their sauce are from this book, and I wouldn't change a thing. Not one.
I actually made these meatballs in advance (baked and froze them), and reheated them in the oven the day of the party. I also made the gravy the night before (minus the parsley) and then reheated it gently the day of the party, adding the parsley then to keep it fresh and green.
These meatballs are insanely moist and so flavorful. I mean, how could they not be with all the awesome flavors in there, from broth and heavy cream, to onions softened in butter with parsley, allspice, and mustard powder. And of course a mixture of both beef and pork keep these meatballs juicy and full of flavor even after reheating!
Add a spoonful or two of silky, mushroom-infused gravy and a sweet dollop of lingonberry preserves (from Sweden, no less), and you've got a pretty authentic rendition that will put any balls from IKEA seriously to shame.
Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch meatballs
(From The Meatball Shop Cookbook)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 slices fresh white bread, roughly torn
1/2 cup beef broth (I used chicken broth)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound 80% lean ground beef (I used 93% lean and it was fabulous)
1 pound ground pork shoulder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil into a 9x13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface (I like to line it first will foil, for easy cleanup). Set aside.
Place the torn bread, beef broth, and cream in a bowl and let soak for 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until transparent, 6-8 minutes. Add the parsley, allspice, mustard powder, and flour and stir to incorporate. Pour the contents of the pan into the bowl with the bread mixture and stir until well mixed. Set aside to cool.
Combine the cooled onion and bread mixture with the ground beef, ground pork, salt, pepper, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching on another.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165 degrees F.
Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving. Serve with mushroom gravy (see recipe below) and lingonberry preserves.
Makes 4 cups
(Adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (you can easily scale this back to 1 tablespoon or less and then add more later if you are concerned or if your chicken stock/broth is salty at all)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme)
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock or broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions have become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook until almost all their liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine and continue cooking until the pan is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue cooking until the stock is reduced by about half, about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, combine the butter and flour in a small bowl and mix together with the back of a wooden spoon or fork until a smooth paste forms. Add the paste to the simmering gravy and whisk continuously until the paste has completely dissolved and the gravy has thickened (if your stock has over-reduced and the gravy seems too thick, just thin it out with some water or more stock to get desired consistency). Stir in the parsley and add pepper to taste.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
A few months ago, I received a review copy of Le Petit Paris by Nathalie Benezet (Hardie Grant Books). I hung onto it for a while before sharing my thoughts because I thought the contents would be perfect for my Olympic party to represent France!
There are lots of small bites featured in the book that would be appropriate for a party like mine, although for day-to-day cooking, this book would be less useful. Its really for entertaining as far as I can see. You aren't going to make tiny little Steaks au Poivre just for fun. You're going to make them for guests.
I narrowed down my choices for what to make for the party at hand, and finally settled on the Pissaladiere Tartlets. Pissaladiere is a Provencal tart/pizza that features onions, olives, and anchovies. I thought these would be fun and cute, and not necessarily the typical dish people would expect for France.
Although the recipe was easy enough to follow, it required some discretion in making adjustments because some of the amounts for ingredients seemed wrong to me. For example, this recipe makes 36 tartlets (really 35). It calls for 6 pitted olives, halved (resulting in 12 pieces) and 4 anchovies, halved lengthwise (resulting in 8 pieces). And then it says to put a piece on each tarlet. This math would NEVER work. Here's the crux of the problem, and fortunately, I have a good enough grasp on simple math that I was able to adjust this appropriately.
Instead I sliced olives into 3 pieces (making them more size-appropriate than halving as well), and halved the anchovies both lengthwise and crosswise--essentially quartering them (again, making them more size-appropriate). The recipe below includes my adjustments.
As far as flavor goes, the tartlets were good when they were hot, but once they inevitably cooled, they just fell a little flat. They were probably the least popular dish I served. They really do need to be served hot, otherwise they just taste so-so. The presentation is cute, but they really don't sit very well if you're setting up a buffet style event as I did.
That said, this recipe could easily be an exception to the rest of the book. There are still other recipes that intrigue me that I hope to try in the future, and I will happily give the book another chance to prove itself. Unfortunately, however, as I said before, the recipes in this book are solely appropriate for entertaining, so I will need another fitting occasion to whip something up. It's a fun book, and if you're interested in French cooking and entertaining, and you're looking for something outside of the box, check it out, but otherwise it might be worth skipping.
(Adapted from Le Petit Paris)
For the shortcrust pastry:
300 g (10 1/2 oz / 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
175 g (6 oz / 3/4 cup) chilled, unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
15 g (1/2 oz / 1 T.) butter
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
375 g (13 oz / 1 1/2 cups) onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 anchovies, halved lengthwise and crosswise
12 pitted olives, such as Kalamata, sliced into thirds
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cold water (I ended up requiring more like 6 tablespoons) and pulse again until the dough just starts to come together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead to bring together. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and thyme, cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened but now browned. Season and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 7 by 10-inch rectangle. Cut the pastry into 35 rectangles (cutting into 1-inch slices on the short end and 2-inch slices the opposite way along the long end to make 1 by 2-inch rectangles. Place them on the baking sheets.
Brush each piece with a little olive oil, then spread some onions on top. Arrange a little strip of anchovy and a slice of olive on each one. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the dough is cooked and lightly browned. Serve hot or warm.
*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than a free copy of the book. My opinions are always my own.
Monday, February 10, 2014
If you've been following my blog for a while now you'd know I have a deep-rooted love for the Olympics. I hosted my first Olympic party in honor of the London Games, but nearly passed on the chance to host something for the Sochi Games because of personal/political reasons against the country hosting them.
In honor of the hard-working athletes, however, I decided to put together a fun menu and invite a small group of friends to watch the opening ceremonies with me.
I created dishes representing a variety of countries, and guests also brought a few dishes of their own to contribute. I had a lot of fun decorating as well. I printed flag-maps of the countries I represented with my food onto white cardstock, cut them out, then taped them to colorful paper straws which I cut in half.
I then took clementines (citrus fruits are prevalent in winter so it seemed extra fitting to use them for the winter games) and stuck a toothpick into the top of each, and then arranged the straws attached to the flag-maps onto each one. This was a fun, festive, and easy way to label and decorate my table.
There are so many possibilities for countries to represent through dishes, and of course many different options for each of those countries. I had some countries and specific dishes I wanted to represent, and yet others I had to put on the back burner to save for a future party. Here is the menu for this year's shindig...
Olympic Party 2014
Jerk Chicken Wings (Jamaica)
Pissaladiere Tartlets (France)
Swedish Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy and Lingonberry Preserves (Sweden)
Macaroni and Cheese (USA)
Mocha Semifreddo (Italy)
Pirog with Apricot Jam (Russia)
|Even Minnie Mouse joined the celebration!|
We enjoyed a really lovely menu that spanned from Europe to the Caribbean! I've shared the potato pierogi recipe previously, so today I will simply share some photos, but the recipe can be found here. I actually made them in advance and froze them (uncooked) and simply boiled, drained and fried them in some butter the day of the party. Easy peasy!
The pizza was homemade and brought by a couple of my guests, so I don't have a recipe to share for that (nor did I remember to take a picture before we dug in), but pizza recipes are not elusive either :)
My friend Camille made her mom's famous macaroni and cheese which features lots and lots of gooey American cheese and a Ritz cracker crust (the recipe is on her blog here!).
She also made a mocha semifreddo for dessert. That recipe is on the Food Network website, so I've simply linked to it here. Camille made a couple changes, replacing the Marsala wine with more espresso and using almond biscotti instead of amaretti cookies. The result was delicious!
A country I knew I had to represent this year was Jamaica. I know what you're thinking. Jamaica has much more of a presence in the Summer Olympics, but you may be forgetting one of the greatest Olympic movies in the history of Olympic movies: Cool Runnings. I can't see a Jamaican Olympian (summer or winter) without singing, "Jamaica, we have a bobsled team!" just like in the movie. I'm serious. I'm obsessed. The Jamaican bobsled team rocks my world, and in honor of them, I made jerk chicken wings for my Olympic menu this year.
They are baked at a high enough temperature that results in crispy skin without frying. I only used one chile and slathered my jerk seasoning on 4 pounds of chicken wings, so they didn't turn out excessively spicy, but you can certainly use more chiles in the seasoning, and also use this amount of sauce on less chicken wings (say 3 pounds) to have more seasoning per wing. I still thought the flavor was great with just enough spice to please a crowd while keeping the integrity of a good Jamaican jerk. It had heat without burning off any tastebuds for the night.
The one point I must make is regardless of how many chiles you use, PLEASE wear gloves both when handling the chiles, and also when slathering the sauce on your wings. The last thing you want to do is accidentally touch your eyes after touching these extremely hot chiles. You will be so very sorry.
I will be sharing more recipes in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled for additional dishes from my Olympic menu! Go USA (and go Jamaica)!
Jerk Chicken Wings
Makes about 28
4 pounds (about 28) split chicken wings (mine were already split and missing the tips when they were weighed, so with the wing tips they'd weigh more--alternatively, use less wings for this amount of seasoning if you want them even spicier)
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (see recipe below)
Combine the chicken wings and seasoning to thoroughly coat the wings with sauce. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Grease a couple baking sheets and arrange the chicken wings skin-side up on the pans. Bake the wings, rotating the pans partway through, for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and dark golden. Serve immediately.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Makes about 2/3 cup
(From Eat Caribbean)
1/4 cup cane vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 to 3 Scotch bonnet or Habanero peppers (use 1 pepper if you don't want it seriously hot!)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons allspice berries or 1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mash the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle until smooth, or place ingredients in a small food processor or blender and puree into a thick paste.