I was first introduced to the spice cumin early in my cooking days when I got a Sunset magazine cookbook on spices and herbs. It was a prominent ingredient in a Middle Eastern lamb curry that was one of my favorite recipes, and it showed up in Mexican and Indian dishes as well. I have to admit I went overboard with the spice -- which is easy to do, since it's strongly flavored. When used judiciously, though, it adds its earthy and pungent flavor to all kinds of dishes, from carrot salad to chili to this spicy Mexican shrimp cocktail. Try a pinch in sauteed corn, gazpacho or salsa. You'll be glad you did.
Image © Dave Scantland