If you consider a semi-obvious reuse of an everyday kitchen appliance for a very simple activity a hack, then get ready to get your war games on. As the old adage goes, when you find yourself moving into a new apartment and life gives you two coffee grinders you can either:
- Turn-down the extraneous grinder.
- Try to make a trade or quick resale like some episode of Down East Dickering.
- Make double the coffee.
- Use it to grind up dried peppers and things and make your own spices after your landlord casually remarks how he could use it to do such a thing in his place down in Mexico.
After lengthily pondereding the third one, the fourth is what I did. It's obviously nothing you couldn't do with a blender, but there's something about having a dedicated grinder for chiles and other dried, spice-related things that's kind of fun!
What you'll need (I need a second list to officially make this post a "hack," I think):
- A cheap coffee grinder. Ideally one the previous tenants left.
- Dried chile peppers — and more exotically named peppers as well — and some dried leaves of some edible kind, preferably delicious (Basi, oregano, whatever).
Put those things in the coffee grinder when you're cooking and boom — fresh ground spice! It's kind of fun to add pinches of powdered garlic or turmeric to the mix and experiment. You might even be able to get away with throwing something like a whole garlic clove in there, as I tried earlier today, but I don't recommend it — the coffee grinder really isn't cut-out for anything much tougher than dried leaves and paper-thin chiles.