I guess we must be hard to buy for. For Christmas, Karin’s folks bought us a Tagine. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s very… uh… eclectic and cool. But we’ve been encountering some issues with finding an opportunity to make use of it.
Problem One: How to Preserve Lemons.
So, the Tagine came with a recipe pamphlet. I, being the investigative and adventurous person I am, decided (about a month ago) that we needed to cook something from said pamphlet. Because the recipe called for an odd sort-of ingredient, we’ve needed to be somewhat adventurous in our pre-prep. Thus, over the course of the last month our kitchen has been home to a small enterprise in preserving lemons. That’s right, we need preserved lemons — a process that involves (you guessed it) lemons and a whole lotta salt. After patient weeks of waiting (preserving) and more waiting, the lemons (I’m completely guessing here) are ready to use. Thus, sitting the refrigerator is a quart jar ram-packed with preserved and salted lemons that have a SINGLE purpose: Tagine Chicken. This brings us to problem two.
Problem Two: The Spice Trade.
All set for some Tagine gourmet, Karin and I headed off to the grocery store (recipe in hand) for some fixin’s this evening. We loaded up the cart: chicken, olives, coriander, and all sorts of great savory things. Then I discovered something rather interesting about the ONE MISSING INGREDIENT. I mean, I understand that rare spices are expensive. I get free-market economy. I get macro-micro-economics and supply, demand, availability and production. But since when does Saffron cost almost as much as GOLD!?
I should have read Wikipedia first:
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant’s carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, which has for decades been the world’s most expensive spice by weight, is native to Southwest Asia. It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.
There it was, for sale in Save-On Foods in a little glass jar with a fraction of a teaspoon and the hefty price tag of $13. Yikes! So… yeah. Does anyone know of some other spice that, y’know, does what Saffron does? Minus the cost? I read turmeric might be an option.
It’s either that or a line of credit.