Hello! My name is Kim and I am relatively new to home cooking. I've been working hard to try new recipes over the last year. I'm a vegetarian and so is everything I cook.
I've got a question about spices. I never seem to really be able to get the flavor of spices to come through in my food. I started off following recipes exactly, so that I'm doing the right quantity of spice at the right time during the cooking process, but the flavor always seems to be mild if there at all. A few examples:
One of the dishes I like to do involves Spicy Corn Cakes and black beans. I've changed it up alot since I started, because if I did it as directed, it was incredibly bland. The corn cakes call for Cayenne Pepper in the cakes. If I use the amount directed, you could barely taste it. Even doubling the amount of spice didn't seem to bump it up all that much. I thought maybe my peppers was old and had "expired" in terms of flavor, so I bought new but it didn't change anything.
Another example is with Curry Powder. I make a Chickpea, Pea and Yam Curry, and I practically have to dump half the jar to get it remotely curry tasting. I tried buying some bulk curry so that it would be fresh, but that didn't really make a difference.
A third example came last night. I was making a quinoa pilaf to go with some Sugar Dumpling Squash. It called for Cardamom - a flavor that I love. I used a whole bunch, and while the quinoa tasted way less bland than it would have if I hadnt used spice, it still didn't really have a cardamom flavor.
I don't think I'm under sensitive to spice - If I go to a restarant and order a "mild curry", my mouth is on fire. My husband can handle an enormous amount of spice, but has the same feeling about the use of home cooked spices that I've been doing.
So any idea what might be going on? Do I need to be buying really high quality spices? I generally just pick them up at the local grocery store, sometimes the "spice islands" and sometime the store brand.
Please let me know of any thoughts, I'm anxious to learn!! Thanks in Advance.