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Author Archives: Angelina

The Day After:Turkey in Mole Ole! Sauce

The scene is set—the date is November 30th, and after the food coma fades, we find ourselves in a fridge-gazing daze at the thought of any more mashed potatoes. Just as the traditional flavors of the season begin to seem dull, we ask ourselves — How can we jazz up the leftovers? Enter Mole Olé! This hearty sauce using our Mole Olé! blend satisfies the craving for an exotic departure from standard fall flavors, and transforms your leftovers into a  delicious, new dish too easy to believe. Make it a day or two before the marathon holiday cooking begins, so it’s all ready to combine with leftover shredded turkey on Thanksgiving Friday. Use it to stuff enchiladas, wet burritos smothered in more of the glorious sauce, or as a filling for tacos.

Chiles for Mole Olé!

Chiles for Mole Olé!

Turkey in Mole Ole! Sauce

Ingredients

2 pounds cooked turkey meat, shredded
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1 can tomatillos, drained
1 plantain- on the green side- diced small
2, one-inch slices challah or other egg bread
½ cup Mole Ole!, ground
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Chipotle Chile Flakes
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat two tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add almonds and toast until golden, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to paper towel–lined plate, reserving the oil.
  2. Add raisins to oil in skillet and sauté until plump, about two minutes. Transfer to paper towel–lined plate, again reserving oil.
  3. Add onion and garlic and plantain to skillet and sauté until softened, about five minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and tomatillos to onion and garlic mixture, and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about ten minutes.
  5. Transfer almonds and raisins to the tomato mixture along with the Mole Ole! spice blend and the challah.
  6. Working in batches, add mixture to blender and purée until smooth, adding the stock to thin to the desired consistency.
  7. Return the blended sauce to medium heat, and season to taste with salt, sugar and Chipotle Flakes.
  8. Simmer over low heat for ten minutes to develop flavors. Add the cooked, shredded turkey meat, and toss to coat in the sauce. Use to fill enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or to top nachos.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mole-ole-sauce-with-turkey/

Categories: Course, Global Cuisines, Latin America, Main Meals, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sri Lankan Sweet Potato Pie

Our holiday motto?  Don’t skimp on the sweets! And add ambrosial spices whenever possible. As such, this incredible sweet potato pie is a must for our Thanksgiving menu because it does both. We adapted this recipe to feature our Sri Lankan Curry, which has none of the savory turmeric that we often expect in our curries, but is instead made up of a melange of warm, sweet spices. Each component is individually toasted before being mixed in perfect proportion, yielding an intensely dark and aromatic blend, so intoxicating that most customers who give it a whiff, can’t leave without it. The sweet potatoes are a perfect canvas for the deep, toasted flavors of the spice, with just a pop of orange zest added for contrast. The crust is a dense, almost shortbread-like shell, made with chopped pecans for a special crunch. This pie will please all who grace your autumn table!

Sri Lankan Sweet Potato Pie

 

Sri Lankan Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

For the Dough:
1 cup shelled, raw, unsalted pecans, half coarsely ground and half finely ground
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk plus 1 large egg
 
For The Filling:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground Sri Lankan Curry
2 cups roasted and mashed sweet potatoes (see recipe for roasting instructions)
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Whisk together nuts, flour, sugar, salt, and zest in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, work butter in to the dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
  2. Make a well in the center of the dough. Whisk yolk and egg in a small bowl, and pour into the well. Gradually draw flour mixture into center, kneading until combined. Shape dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight (up to 3 days).
  3. Let dough come to room temperature; roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Fit dough into a 9 inch spring form pan, pressing and patching so that dough reaches up sides of the plate. Chill in freezer while you make the filling.
  4. To make the filling: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes, and pierce them in several places with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper, and roast for 45-55 minutes or until very tender. Puree in a food processor, mash with a potato masher or in a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment.
  5. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl.
  6. Beat sweet potatoes in medium bowl, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  7. Add sugar, beat to incorporate
  8. Add Sri Lankan Curry, milk, butter, and vanilla, and beat at low speed to incorporate everything evenly and well.
  9. Pour filling in to prepared crust, and bake at 350 degrees until puffed and firm, 40-50 minutes.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/sri-lankan-curry-sweet-potato-pie/

Categories: Curries & Masalas, Global Cuisines, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New Teas, Take Two!

Seattle original, Jimi Hendrix

Seattle original, Jimi Hendrix

Great Seattle original Jimi Hendrix described seeing emotion as color, and played his music to match the colors he felt. While I’d never compare my palate to Jimi’s guitar prowess, I like to take the way he felt his art, and apply it to food, drink, and flavor. I choose from these teas- the lighter of our new offerings- when we get those clear, crisp, cloudless days… The kind when, if the breeze falls still over the Puget Sound for just a moment, the sun is toasty warm on an upturned face, the energy ebbing in Pike Place Market is gentle and communal, and the light that filters down through the trees is the same color as a perfectly brewed cup of green tea.

Ti Kuan Yin

Baked oolong tea

Ti Kuan Yin – Tieguanyin

We’ve carried a Ti Kuan Yin (or Tieguanyin,  or any number of other spellings) for some time in the shop. Although technically an oolong, that example is quite lightly oxidized, and has a bright, verdant flavor. Our newest Ti Kuan Yin is produced in the traditional method of coal firing, which results in a very robust toasty and sweet character, which I strongly prefer when the weather snaps cold. The toastiness is matched with a deep, lingering floral nose, and a subtle astringency. This Baked Ti Kuan Yin is nicknamed the “Iron Goddess of Mercy;” the “iron” is meant to indicate the strength and lasting power of this tea, though I secretly think of it as the elixir that turns me in to a superheroine of the same name…

Sencha, Japanese Steamed Green Tea

Sencha, Japanese Steamed Green Tea

Sencha

The Japanese talent for focusing on the beauty of single ingredients is as visible in their teas as it is elsewhere in their cuisine. Sencha is — with good reason — the most popular tea in Japan. This tea differs from the more common Chinese greens for the fact that it is steamed after picking (as opposed to the Chinese tradition of pan-roasting) to stop the oxidization process. This steaming imparts a fresh, pleasing, almost seaweed-like flavor to the grassy, vegetal, gold-green liquor, which so complements the characteristic “umami” profile of the leaves themselves. Brewed gently, it’s an exquisitely balanced cup.

Yin Hao Jasmine Green Tea

Yin Hao Jasmine Green Tea

Yin Hao Jasmine

Shop owner Amanda Bevill sips a fragrant cup of jasmine tea all day long- and in fact, if you don’t know her by sight, you could sleuth out who she is by the glass mug of clear green brew never far from her hands! Jasmine-scented green tea is traditionally made by stacking sheets of green tea leaves and jasmine flowers, one on top of the other, for anywhere from hours on in to days or weeks. Our Yin Hao Jasmine tea has been scented five times in this fashion, which imparts a heady jasmine fragrance in the nose, well balanced by the nutty undertone of lightly oxidized green tea. Often, jasmine tea is rolled in to pearls to make it hearty and protect the fragrance, but with these delicate leaves, take more notice of your brew time and water temperature or the tea may become too strong or astringent.

So, I solemnly swear, right hand raised, that I’m done complaining about the departure of summer. The promise of watching the rain come down in sheets (and maybe even snow? Yes, I said it!) on Western Avenue from the safety of our big windows here in the shop, while sipping these seven, new, delectable teas (for our first post on our new black teas click here), has me cozy and content, and ready for whatever the season brings. Swing by for a taste of any one of these teas, or to tell me how you’re preparing to weather the Pacific Northwest monsoon season!

Categories: Recipes, Tea, Wet Your Whistle | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea Season is Upon Us!

Beautiful Sherrie with beautiful Assam

Beautiful Sherrie with beautiful Assam

It’s always long about this part of October that I find myself finally letting go of the end-o’-summer doldrums, and suddenly excited to break out my wool sweaters and boots, hear that satisfying crunch of frosted grass as I cross my lawn in the morning, and most especially, curl my fingers around a hot mug of steamy tea that fogs my glasses, and fills my nose with its intoxicating aroma. In preparation for that first freeze, we’ve added a bounty of new varieties to the tea section that I’m certain you’ll enjoy- they’ve even enticed me out of my all-day-every-day chai habit! This post, the first of a two-part installment about our updated menu, will cover the darker teas- three black teas, and one phenomenal pu-ehr. Oolong and green tea drinkers, stay tuned for part two!

Dian Hong (Golden Needle):

Loose leaf black tea

Tian Hong – Golden Needle

Though we in the west refer to fully oxidized tea as “black,” referring to how it appears dry, the Chinese call it “red,” for the color of the brew. Dian Hong is a classic Chinese black tea from Yunnan Provence; “Dian” for Yunnan, and “Hong,” meaning “red.” Our variety comes from the large leaf pu-erh tea trees, and is full of enormous golden buds- which to the connoisseur means a sweeter cup with less astringency. After the first steeping, the soup has a bold, rich texture, and flavor like hot chocolate with a bit of a malty tone. Brew each serving of leaves three to four times, and taste as the body gets lighter, but the aroma gets sweeter. I drink this one first thing in the morning, and let it carry me up until noon!

Loose-Leaf Pu-Ehr:

Pu-erh tea black tea

Loose leaf Pu-erh

Pu-erh is also produced in the Yunnan province of China, from the same trees that give us the gorgeous Dian Hong. To process these leaves in to pu-ehr, the tea leaves are picked, piled, dampened, and turned periodically for six months to a year to ensure even fermentation. Once the tea is considered ripened, it is dried. The highest quality leaves are left loose, while the rest are graded, then steamed in to a variety of shapes- pressed in to citrus fruits, bricks, or little cakes. This gorgeous loose pu-erh does not need the usual rinse cycle of our tuocha pu-erh. The the earthy, barnyard quality of pu-erh may be an acquired taste, but for me, it’s reminiscent of a clean forest floor after a rain. If you like beets, mushrooms, and figs, chances are, you’ll appreciate this unique flavor. Each steeping of the leaves produces progressively sweeter tea- as many as ten times! This is the tea for rainy Saturday mornings with the crossword.

First Flush Darjeeling:

Darjeeling

Darjeeling First Flush

When talking tea, “flush” refers to the time of harvest. Darjeeling, from West Bengal, India, is harvested five times throughout the year. At “First Flush,” in mid-March, only the new spring growth- one bud and two tiny leaves- are harvested, and minimally processed. The result is heavenly- complex, nuanced, like orange blossoms and sweet grapes. Though it’s sold as a black tea, our rare and prized First Flush Darjeeling has more in common with Chinese oolongs than it does most black teas, with a gentle, light brew that absolutely lives up to its reputation as the “champagne of teas.” This is my two-o’clock tea- my reward for a day two-thirds done! (For a more classic black with the Darjeeling profile, try the Second Flush-harvested in June- a more robust, spicier, darker amber cup- it’s my go-to pairing for that chai I said I was giving up!)

Assam:

The state of Assam in India is home to rolling, verdant hills, and a venerable tea tradition. Political unrest and poor weather have plagued the area for some time, so procuring an Assam tea that lives up to our exacting standards has been no easy task! Though we’ve always managed to get our hands on a tea that satisfies us, this crop is easily the best we’ve seen in years. The heavy rains of the monsoon season in this region are what give Assam tea its classic “malty” characteristic, and this tea has no shortage of that, but is matched with a unique sweetness, reminiscent of wildflower honey. Its brisk flavor and medium body make it ideal as breakfast tea, though the World Spice team takes it all day long, buoyed by milk and sugar in the British tradition. It’s again, a classic pair with any of our chai masalas.

These teas are a lovely start to embracing the autumn chill, and expanding your horizons beyond your hot beverage rut du jour, whatever it may be. Order a few ounces of a soon-to-be-favorite online, or pay us a visit on a foggy morning for an in-person taste!

Categories: Tea, Wet Your Whistle | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chef Andrea’s Cardamom and Olive Oil Cake

Exotic spices to feature in this fabulous cake- cardamom, pink peppercorn, and fennel seed.

Exotic spices to feature in this fabulous cake- cardamom, pink peppercorn, and fennel seed.

Recently, Holly admitted her powerlessness over the char grilled prawns at the West Edge’s favorite eatery, Lecosho. She recommended following the dish with this fantastic cardamom olive oil cake for dessert, and my ears perked right up. (As a Sicilian, when you say “olive oil,” I say “more!”) I called over to beg pastry chef Andrea for her recipe, and she graciously gave it up. The Ranier cherries that she serves with it are at the end of their season, now, but don’t let that stop you from attempting this cake! Try a few slices of Northwest pear, poached in wine and sugar, or a few cubes of caramelized pumpkin, roasted until soft to garnish. This cake is heavenly with freshly ground cardamom, but is also a brilliant vehicle to feature any number of exotic spices- try pink peppercornssaffronfennel (or fennel pollen!) or anise seed, paired with a different flavors of gelato.

A word on the recipe itself: “Real deal” bakers and pastry chefs weigh their ingredients, much like we weigh our spices here in the shop. Weighing provides far more consistent and accurate measurements, which is why we choose to sell our spices that way, too. I left Chef Andrea’s original weights in the recipe in case you’re in possession of a gram scale, but also translated them to the more commonly used volume measurements for the average home cook, too.

Cardamom Olive Oil Cake with Rose-Poached Pears and Pistachio Gelato

Cardamom Olive Oil Cake with Rose-Poached Pears and Pistachio Gelato

 

Chef Andrea’s Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients

290 grams All-Purpose Flour (2 1/3 cups)
6 grams baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
4 grams Utah Basin Salt (1scant teaspoon)
2 eggs
316 grams sugar (1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups olive oil- pomace, or a mild-tasting extra virgin
Freshly ground cardamom seed, to taste (In the neighborhood of two tablespoons, for us)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F if you've got a convection oven, 350 F for standard.
  2. Line a half sheet tray (for the home cook, a full-sized jelly roll pan) with parchment paper, and grease it liberally with olive oil or non-stick spray
  3. Cream sugar and eggs to ribbon stage
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients, and set them aside
  5. Combine the olive oil and milk (they won’t incorporate, but this is okay)
  6. With a stiff rubber spatula, add the dry ingredients and milk/olive oil mix to the creamed sugar and egg mix in alternating thirds- that is, 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix, 1/3 of the milk/oil, mix, repeat until all ingredients are just incorporated.
  7. Add your desired amount of freshly ground cardamom
  8. Pour into the prepared pan, and spread until even.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you're not using a convection oven, turn the cake pan halfway through baking.
  10. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
  11. To serve as they do at Lecosho, top with a scoop of almond gelato (Chef Andrea makes her own, but we love Procopio!) and pile of pitted local Rainer cherries, mascerated in just a bit of sugar. Enjoy!
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/chef-andreas-cardamom-olive-oil-cake/

Categories: Holiday, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Spice Notes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Equinox Detox- Autumn Spice Overhaul!

Ready for Fall!

Ready for Fall!

The Autumn Equinox brings many things around the Pacific Northwest: our infamous drizzle begins anew, the few maples and oaks color aflame in between the miles of evergreen, the oysters are firm and plump again, garden kale stems grow thick and tough in preparation for wintering over, and, perhaps less famously but no less excitingly– my spice cabinet gets its quarterly makeover! Fall is when my cooking gets hearty, and I rely the heaviest of blended spices to warm my belly and my soul through the short, grey days, and the long, cold nights. It should come as little surprise to anyone who follows my blog-y musings that I delight in the unexpected, so here I’ll share a few of my top, must-have-on-hand blends that add cheer, color, and interest to my standby fall dishes.

Hearty Things: 

Whole Harissa

Whole Harissa

The man who shares my life also shares with me an almost unnatural love of Harissa. At once familiar and unexpected, Harissa adds such depth and warmth to everything it touches. Instead of the traditional thyme and rosemary, I rub harissa on a chuck roast before sealing it in my dutch oven and slow-roasting it overnight. The juices from the meat mingle with the exotic spice, and makes the most sumptuous little pan sauce- after you’ve pulled your tender roast, just reduce the liquid by half, and add a pat of butter.  Our cous cous with roasted vegetables and Harissa sauce is a year-round classic in my house, too.

My family is a bit “leftovers-challenged,” which is a nice way of saying that even the meals that get raves on night one, die slow deaths in the refrigerator if not re-imagined in to other things. When I make our Turkey Mole, the first night I’ll use the meat to make enchiladas or tacos, while the second, I’ll thin the sauce with chicken stock until it’s just thicker than broth consistency, and add chopped tomatoes, white beans, corn, and onion, and simmer for half an hour to make the world’s fastest and most delicious chili. Soul satisfying, and infinitely more interesting that your traditional “bowl of red.”

Roasted Things:

Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Hubbard, Kabocha, Spaghetti, Turban… Gardens and markets abound with scores of winter squashes — to say nothing of the dozens of pumpkin varieties — all delicious, nutritious, inexpensive, and begging for a roasting. A dash of cinnamon, a grate of nutmeg- fine, I suppose, but who settles for “fine” when “amazing” is available? I stock Kashmiri Curry and Besar for just these occasions. Both have the toasty, sweet spices that bring out the inherent sweetness of the squash, but add so much more, whether you’re roasting whole to mash, or cubing and caramelizing your gourds.

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The easiest side dish at this time of year is roasted root vegetables. Heat a sheet pan in a 450 degree oven, toss a sampling of carrots, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, and onions in a bit of oil, spread in an even layer on your hot pan, and roast until tender and golden. It may be natural to reach again for the rosemary, or even the Italian Herbs, but I prefer the savory crunch of Svaneti Seasoned Salt. This eastern European blend is so versatile that I find it pairs no matter how I’ve seasoned the main dish — European, north African, Middle Eastern, or Indian. I go through quarts of the stuff, I just can’t get enough.

Sweet Things:
I have to preface all of this by saying that I do not consider myself a baker. I usually find the excessive measuring and strict orders of operations stifling, and too math-like to be enjoyable to my free spirit. However, creatively spicing puts the joy back in. Pumpkin pies abound at every gathering this time of year, and though I love them, I do grow weary. I prefer this pie, adapted from a very traditional Southern recipe, using sweet potatoes and Sri Lankan curry. Deeply toasted and just a bit spicy, this warm, sweet blend has all but replaced Pumpkin Pie Spice in my kitchen, for sweet potato and pumpkin pies.

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This Apple-Carrot pie has also become a standby in my kitchen. When I first posted it, great Seattle food blogger cook.can.read commented that “Cinnamon is the gateway drug. Chinese Five Spice is the destination.” I couldn’t agree more! Try using Chinese Five Spice anywhere your autumn baking calls for cinnamon- I’m talking pumpkin or zucchini breads, muffins- even toss it with sugar to coat the outside of your snickerdoodles!

So, if you’re open to any advice from your humble spice merchant,  although nature may be hunkering down for the chilly months ahead, use this time to re-awaken your spice stash. Grab a few unfamiliar and exotic blends, and turn over those spices that have been languishing for six months or longer. The bright flavors of fresh spices will all but erase the dreary skies from your psyche. We’ve got an entire display dedicated to these blends and a few other fall staff favorites, (as well as a bunch of new books!) so drop by for a sniff and a chat!

Categories: Curries & Masalas, Eastern Europe, Global Cuisines, Hot Topics, Indian Subcontinent, Main Meals, Middle East, Recipes, Sides, Spice Notes, Sweet Somethings, Tools of the Trade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment