Updated: Jun 19
Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet California Gold!!
(Side note: For those of you who are of a certain age, I'm guessing that you heard the voice of the incomparable Huell Howser as you read the words "California Gold." If you didn't, you will now. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up. The man is a legend and holds a special place in the hearts of many. 😁)
California Gold, formerly known as Spicy Turmeric Blend, gets its name from its intense golden color. Whether you're talking about a California Poppy (our state flower), a California sunset (some of the most gorgeous I've ever seen), or the precious metal that caused the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, this intense golden yellow is how I would describe California if it were itself a color.
The Flavor Profile
California Gold is a beautiful blend of turmeric, garlic, California chile, Spanish paprika, onion, cumin, and kosher salt and was one of the first truly original spice blends I developed years ago for my own cooking. The earthy notes of turmeric add a warm and slightly tangy undertone. Garlic brings its distinctive pungency and savory essence, while the California chile contributes a moderate heat with fruity undertones. The Spanish paprika adds a smoky and slightly sweet flavor, providing depth to the blend. Onion imparts a subtly sweet and slightly tangy taste, complementing the other ingredients. Finally, cumin brings a warm and nutty aroma, enhancing the overall complexity of the spice blend. Together, these spices create a harmonious fusion of flavors, combining earthy, smoky, spicy, and sweet elements that can elevate a wide range of dishes.
Versatility in the Kitchen - How to Use California Gold
California Gold is honestly one of the most versatile blends in my collection and one that I certainly reach for time and again. Here are a few ideas for how to use it:
a. Seafood: Sprinkle California Gold on your fish fillets (especially salmon or swordfish) before grilling, baking, or frying to add depth and complexity to your seafood dishes. Mix it with a bit of olive oil to form a paste and rub it all over shrimp or scallops before making skewers. Or mix it into some melted butter for dipping lobster or crab into.
b. Poultry and Meats: Elevate the flavor of chicken, turkey, or beef by incorporating California Gold into your marinades and rubs. Mix it with some softened butter and rub a whole chicken with it before roasting for the most beautifully golden brown delicious bird you've ever tried.
c. Snacks and Appetizers: Sprinkle some Caliornia Gold on popcorn, potato chips, or roasted almonds for an addictive snack.
d. Vegetarian and Vegan Options: California Gold will add complexity and depth of flavor to all kinds of roasted vegetables and makes a delicious and colorful dip when mixed into some Greek yogurt.
e. Eggs: Whether you like your eggs over easy, scrambled, or hard-boiled, California Gold is your morning egg's best friend.
A Bite of Good Recipes that use California Gold
Looking for some more concrete guidance on how to use California Gold? Check out these A Bite of Good recipes!
Spicy Turmeric Pickled Cauliflower - Move aside, cucumbers, there's a new pickle in town. Perfect for your next charcuterie board or just as an afternoon snack, these quick cauliflower pickles are gorgeous and seriously addictive.
Spicy Turmeric Coconut Curry - Simple, delicious, and customizable, file this under the "quick and easy" and "better than takeout" categories and prepare to put this recipe on repeat.
Golden Skillet Chicken Thighs with Delicata Squash, Red Onion, and Crispy Pancetta - There's nothing like a good skillet recipe to take weeknight meals to the next level, and this one is one of my absolute favorites.
Baked Feta with Kale and Crispy Chickpeas - I'm a sucker for any recipe that encourages me to use bread as a utensil, and this is certainly one of those. So grab a crusty loaf of sourdough and get ready.
In short, California Gold is just incredibly versatile and deserves a spot of honor on your spice rack.
Ready to get your own California Gold? Get it here.