Author Archives: kimberley
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo like never before with this delicious cocktail. The hibiscus infuses a deep rich red color to this libation. Add a slice of lime and Sel de Mer to the rim of your glass and you have the colors of the Mexican flag! Almost cranberry in flavor, it’s got a “zing” that is enhanced by using silver tequila and the homemade spiced simple syrup. Tune in to the mariachi station on Pandora while you whip these up for an absolute fiesta!
Songkran (สงกรานต์) is the traditional Thai New Year water festival which starts on April 13 every year. Traditionally, the throwing of water is said to be a symbol of luck to bring good rain for the crops. Well, we are swimming in good luck with a bountiful asparagus harvest this year and a brand new spice blend, Rooster Spice! We designed this spicy chili powder drawing inspiration from Indonesian sambal, Thai nam phrik, and Vietnamese tuong ot toi. Rooster Spice has limitless possibilities but here we combine the seasonality of asparagus with the celebration of Thai New Year. Enjoy!
Tart, sweet and dramatically red, rhubarb never tasted so good in this Lemon Thyme Rhubarb cake. The cake is moist and fluffy on the inside with a slight crisp on the outside edge. The sharpness of the rhubarb combined with the delicate pungency of the lemon thyme make this a most wonderful offering of spring’s bountiful harvest.
The first of the season Alaskan halibut has arrived, and we are thrilled! Considered the world’s premium whitefish, first of the season halibut are the best quality because the fat content of the fish is at its absolute peak. To celebrate the arrival of this delicacy from the icy north, we created an escabeche using our Pacific Seafood. This simple preparation is a luscious showcase of some of spring’s first fresh flavors.
We have an enchanting story to share…it tells the tale about the very special saffron that comes to us from the folks at Fair Trade Morocco.
Fair Trade Morocco is a small importing business founded by Randy Thompson and Felicia Cain. While volunteering with the Peace Corps in Morocco, Felicia and a fellow volunteer met with a local association that was interested in exporting the exquisite saffron grown in the Suktana region of Morocco. Randy and Felicia have collaborated with the saffron association and the community of Taliouine, Suktana, to provide the highest quality, sustainable product to the U.S. market.
The saffron is harvested in October and arrives in our store, not long after, personally delivered by two Peace Corps volunteers. We get giddy over the beautiful, certified organic, aromatic threads. We ooh and ahh, take zillions of photos, talk about saffron laden recipes, inhale the luscious bouquet and carefully place the saffron in 1 gram jars for our customers.
Oh yes, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Always has been and probably will always be. Here at the shop, we are often asked about the price of our saffron by the ounce. We normally sell it in smaller quantities, by the gram, and the staff was shocked to realize that it would cost $520 for just one ounce!
The beautiful yellow, orange, and red stigmas from the small purple saffron crocus must be handpicked from the center of the flower, each crocus provides only three stigmas and it takes 14,000 stigmas to yield one ounce of saffron. It can take 40 hours of picking, a full work week, just to pick a couple pounds. Luckily, one gram is more than enough to enjoy this exotic spice.
The golden threads of saffron infuse both an elegant flavor and a golden color into recipes. Saffron is part of the culinary culture in many different regions of the world. In India saffron is an indispensable ingredient in many recipes of rice, sweets and ice-creams. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine and in religious rituals. In Saudi Arabia, a real Arabic coffee should have saffron and cardamom. In northern Italy and southern Switzerland, saffron is essential in the preparation of a traditional Risotto. In Sweden it is a traditional to bake saffron bread on the day of St. Lucile. Bouillabaisse, a fish stew from Provence in France, is traditionally served with a saffron broth. Finally, in Spain saffron is an indispensable ingredient in such famous dishes as Paella, Fabada or Pote Gallego.
That’s our Saffron Story…..we hope you enjoy both the story and the saffron as much as we do.
We were recently asked by another spice company to change the name of our Montreal Steak Spice because they owned the rights to the name. Well, okay….
We had to brainstorm a new name, take the labels off of jars in gift sets, redo the store displays, and adjust our website all in a very short amount of time. We were busy! While all of this change was taking place, I recalled a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, ‘We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.’ Change can be good, our store displays are fresh and new our website got a nice update, we have a fantastic new name for one of our earliest blends and an outstanding recipe to go with it. Introducing……Le Quebecois Steak Spice (applause, applause)!
Paying homage to the Canadian Provence were the blend originated, Le Quebecois Steak Spice showcases both the French flair for deft seasoning, and the British love of beef. While usually associated with steak, we tried it in these vegetarian mini pies with great success – you know how how we love to play with our food! Bon appétit.
Exotic, aromatic and romantic we prepared this intimate feast with a table for two in mind. Succulent quail are roasted to perfection with one of our most alchemical blends: Ras el Hanout, which contains a hint of Moroccan rose petals and finished with a finger licking honey glaze. Our Wild Rice Pilaf accompaniment features the bold, classic flavor of cassia cinnamon while the Paradise Pistachio Relish combines grains of paradise and Aleppo to bring everything together for a memorable Valentine’s Day Feast, we’ll leave the desert up to you.
Have you ever eaten something so good that it induces a trance? Well, check out our Voodoo Shrimp and Grits. This classic dish features our brand new spice blend, Voodoo, a robust seasoning which includes onion, garlic, thyme and allspice on a base of peppercorns and sea salts. We are excited to share Voodoo Shrimp and Grits just in time for Mardis Gras. French for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. Definitely rich, this recipe could be the inspiration for your own Mardi Gras ritual.
Expect a huddle in the kitchen as well as around the TV with this Creole-inspired dish. Many of us fondly remember Sesto’s Cafe, our neighbor here on Western Avenue and its New Orleans native and owner, Chuck Smith. Chuck made some of the most memorable and mouthwatering Gumbo out of the Bayou. We sure miss Sesto’s but lucky for us, Chuck generously shared his recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. We’ve streamlined his process just a tad (Don’t worry, Chuck, your secret is safe!), and layered it with a classic roux from the cookbook of the Junior League of Lafayette, LA. There’s this big game happening on February 3rd in New Orleans – a city rich with culinary history, laden with exotic influences. What an excellent opportunity to enjoy this delicious dish.
Well, we’re playing with food once again! A gathering of chefs, spice merchants, photographers and professional tasters (that’s me!) creating some delicious spicecentric recipes. Planning this testing has been so much fun because many of the recipes are geared towards the upcoming holidays. At our planning meetings, we shared stories of holiday food memories some of which were downright hysterical, other amazing, but without exception, all were remembrances of celebratory moments. From these stories (and meetings!) we have formulated several delectables for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more. There is a whole lotta love and joy in theses recipes and we hope you, your friends and family enjoy them as much as we have.