For 2022, the Berryville Library is hosting its own Books, Spice, and Everything Nice spice club. Stop by the library to get the spice of the month and then stop by the blog on the first Tuesday of the month for recipes and more information on the featured spice. We’ll also be adding monthly posts about cookbooks in our collection. For March, our spice is cayenne!
As previously noted, we wanted to ensure that this program would be accessible to a wide range of cooking abilities and interests. So, feel free to try some or all the recipes we provide, as well as experiment on your own with cayenne. There’s no right or wrong way to use the spice or the accompanying handout as long as the results are tasty.
Our previous spice, ginger, worked its way across the world from east to west, but cayenne had the opposite journey. A longtime favorite in Central America, it eventually spread to Europe and Asia along spice routes and is now used the world over. Cayenne is strongly associated with Cajun cuisine and is also commonly used throughout the South, and the recipes for this month are a blend of fiery traditional favorites from Louisiana and the South at large, as well as some old favorites you may not expect to find cayenne in.
Want a spicy twist on fried chicken? Be sure to try our Nashville-style hot chicken recipe, which is directly from one of the restaurants most associated with hot chicken.
Prefer a little more versatility in spicing up your meats? Try the spicy barbecue sauce instead. It’s easy to make, and you can use it on everything from pulled pork to BBQ chicken to burgers and more.
Have a sweet tooth and don’t want something too, too spicy? Bake a batch of cayenne chocolate cookies instead. It includes a measurement adjustment if you have a sweet tooth but want your chocolate cookies spicy.
Want something spicy? Don’t skip the spicy slow-cooked chili.
Looking for a Louisiana-style favorite you can make here in Arkansas (or wherever you happen to be)? You might like the chicken and andouille sausage gumbo.
Feeling like going above and beyond? You can quickly whip up your own Cajun spice blend for the gumbo–or any other dish you want to make.
Prefer to wing it? Just follow your heart–and the flavor profile suggestions on recommended uses and pairings.
Not a cook? You might still learn something (and be amused) with the history and trivia about the spice.
Please be sure to update us about how you used cayenne in March. You can tell us in the comments here on the blog, share them with us on Facebook or Instagram with the #bplspice hashtag, or stop by the library.
Still looking for some ways to use cayenne in your kitchen? Even though I ultimately didn’t include them in the handout, I was intrigued by pastalaya (jambalaya with pasta) and found this nice gazpacho recipe during my research.
What’s your favorite recipe that uses cayenne? Which recipe are you most excited to try? What spices do you use the most in your cooking? Tell us in the comments!