Thursday, March 15, 2012

DIY - Taco Seasoning

I enjoy mexican foods any time of the year.  When I make it myself, I don't really make what some would deem "true" mexican foods but rather the classic, americanized idea of tacos and taco salad and the wonderful variations that come from this.  This seasoning mix adds some great punch to any choice of meat, soup or to sourcream/cream cheese to make a dip.

I know some would ask "why bother?" when you can buy a $1.00 package mix.  Buying it is certainly easier indeed but I am learning that "easy" is not always "better".   The primary reason I made it was because I did not like what I saw in the ingredient list of the mix I did buy for $1.00...reason enough for me.  Some of you might like to do it just so you can say "I did it!".  Others of you might just be curious enough to try.  As is true with most of life, even the simple things (like this seasoning) taste better when you take time to do it yourself.  Whatever your reason, if you try it, I have no doubt you will enjoy it so much that you will make it again once your mix is gone!! 

This recipe was inspired by Emeril's Southwest Seasoning however I have cut down on the spice to accomodate my family's milder taste buds.  I think it still has a great kick to it for "family- friendly" food.

DIY Mexican Seasoning

2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Warning: before needing this mix for a recipe, you may be required to go shopping first to ensure you have enough of the specific spices =)

I would highly suggest pulling out all your spices needed for this recipe and lining them up on your work surface along with sufficient measuring spoons (this may require a trip to your grocery store or bulk food store to get enough of each spice first).  Use a large bowl with a flatter surface, or even a plate lined with parchment paper (or even regular clean paper).  Measure out all your spices onto the plate/bowl placing each new spice in a different spot*.  Once all the spices have bene measured, mix and store in a "DIY" jar!* This makes approximately just over 1/2 cup of taco mix
Use 1 - 2 Tbsp seasoning for 1 lb ground meat or as desired. *

Cook's Notes:
Combining ingredients:  I learned from a wise chef, that when mixing spices such as this or making a curry, it can be easy to forget which spice was added if you just dump them in randomly into a jar.  One tip she suggested was using a larger bowl or even a plate ( line with parchment paper to allow you to pour it easily into a smaller jar once you are done), and dump each spoon in a separate place so you can see where each item is and if it is two or three measurements there already.  I do this and not only does it make sense, it makes it quite beautiful too!

Measurement Conversions:
1 Tbsp = 3 tsp
4 Tbsp = 1/4 cup

The Labeller: I'll be the first to admit this item is completely unnecessary in life, but when you have fun!!  Makes all those efforts to do things yourself so much more complete, professional and fun!  I would hate to be without mine.

How to use the seasoning:
1. Add to ground beef for taco meat.
2. Add to soup for a taco soup flavour (ground beef, tomatoes, corn, beans, beef stock, seasoning as desired).
3. Add to cream cheese/sourcream mix for layered taco dip.
4. Use as a run on chicken, fish, beef or pork and grill.