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Ingredient Wed Apr 30 2008

Grains of Paradise

spring08.jpgI read Cooking for Mr. Latte recently, Amanda Hesser's tale of cooking and courtship (from 2003). I love a book with recipes at the end of each chapter. In it, she refers several times to grains of paradise, a spice from Africa that's closely related to pepper but with less heat and more fragrance. Hesser recommends using it whenever you might normally use pepper. I've sprinkled it on a few items (last night atop some cauliflower), and it's a very subtle flavor. It might be better to free some of the seeds (from the grinder in which they came) and take a pestle to them. I always like pepper so much more when it's been pounded instead of ground. The Spice House web site has a little history (according to legend, the seeds grew in Eden and floated down the rivers out of paradise) and links to a few recipes. You can also buy some seeds from the site, or hit your local Whole Foods, where it comes in a grinder.

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