I sometimes get mildly obsessed with unobtainable ingredients. This time, it was grains of paradise. I kept reading about them, their peppery herbiness, all the wonderful things you could do with them. I searched exhaustively, but hadn't been able to locate them, and was about to resort to buying them online.
But then I got a sample baggie from Marx Foods. What joy! What excitement! What the heck do I do with them?
By the way, you can read more about grains of paradise at Foodista.
The first thing I did was inhale. Yum. Reminded me a little of cedar. Next, I popped one in my mouth. Not too peppery at first, it comes on gradually. Plus there's some kind of lemony thing going on. And something else indescribable (at least to me).
On to actual cooking. I had a handful of fresh fava beans (thank you Northgate Market!) blanched and peeled. And I had some caramelized onions. And of course there's bacon in the freezer. Mix it all up (sauté in residual bacon fat, of course), a little salt, and crushed grains of paradise.
The verdict? Loved it. The lemony zing was lost, I think because of the overpowering flavors of the bacon and onion. But the tingly pepperyness was there, slightly different from white or black pepper. Delicious. I can't wait to see what else my brain comes up with for the little seeds.