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Holiday

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits

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 best-selling spice blend, Voodoo, a robust seasoning which includes onion, garlic, whole mustard seeds, 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.

Shrimp and Grits

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits

 

Voodoo Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

For the Grits
6 cups water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups stone ground grits or polenta
3 cups half and half
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon Tellicherry black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon Voodoo
For the Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 andouille sausages
1 medium sweet onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dulce pimenton
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 1/2 cups fish stock or shrimp stock made from reserved shells
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions

    For the Grits:
  1. Put water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Add salt and slowly sprinkle in grits while stirring with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the half-and-half and return to a simmer.
  4. Cook the grits slowly, over low heat for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Stir in butter, Tellicherry black pepper and Voodoo
  6. Continue to cook grits until they are smooth and creamy.
  7. Hold covered, in a warm spot, while you finish preparing the shrimp and sauce.
  8. For the Sauce:
  9. In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and brown the andouille sausage. Once the sausage begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes, remove from pan and set aside.
  10. Season both sides of the shrimp with a sprinkle of Voodoo and sear over medium high heat for about a minute on each side, working in batches to not crowd the pan. Remove from pan and set aside.
  11. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan
  12. Add cooked sausage onion, pepper, garlic and spices. Sauté for 3 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent
  13. Add stock and bring to boil, gently scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan
  14. Reduce heat and slowly add the cream
  15. Bring up to a simmer and allow to reduce until sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
  16. Once thickened, add seared shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked, about 2-3 minutes.
  17. When the sauce is finished, rewarm the grits and serve in a shallow bowl with the sauce spooned over the grits.
  18. Finish with Voodoo to taste.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mardi-gras-shrimp-and-grits/

Categories: Cajun & Creole, Fruits of the Sea, Holiday, Hot Topics, Main Meals, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Curry Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cream

Curry Bread Pudding

Curry Bread Pudding

Who says you have to make curry with curry? No one! This warm winter pudding was inspired by our friends at Hunger Restaurant and since trying theirs we have come up with some delightful variations of our own- and nothing says holiday like bread pudding. We’ve added diced apples to replace the traditional raisins- pears are nice too- and infused a mild amount of spice into the custard and cream. Enjoy with coffee, chai or your favorite toddy.

Curry Bread Pudding with Cardamom Cream

Ingredients

For the Pudding
5 cups cubed stale or lightly toasted bread
1 cup diced apple
2 cups half & half
2 teaspoons Kashmiri or Madras Curry, finely ground
4 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cardamom Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, cracked
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

    For the pudding:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small sauce pan over low heat, whisk the curry into the half & half and allow to infuse gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure that the half & half does not boil. Remove from heat and allow to return to room temperature.
  3. While the spices are infusing, combine the bread cubes and diced apples in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup or agave, and vanilla. Add the spice infused half & half and stir well.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and apples and let stand for 30 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula. Allow the bread to fully absorb the liquid.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a greased 8"x8" baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
  7. For the cardamom infused cream:
  8. Whisk together the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Strain the cream to remove the cracked seeds.
  9. Pour warm cream over the pudding and serve.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/curry-bread-pudding-cardamom-cream/

Categories: Curries & Masalas, Holiday, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Easy DIY
Spiced Hot Fudge Sauce

DIY in under an hour!

DIY in under an hour!

Want an easy DIY  project that you can take from start to finish in under an hour? This is your post. But beware! Once you start gifting this hot fudge sauce you won’t be able to stop- my sister has been asking for it every holiday since 2004. Our favorite formulation combines bittersweet chocolate with Kashmiri Garam Masala and uses maple syrup as the sweetener, but you can switch up the spice and sweetener in all kinds of creative combinations. Chinese Five Spice with agave nectar is another one of our favorites. A decadent dose of sweet and spice will make your holiday extra nice. This recipe makes 2 cups, but double up if you want to make more for gifts.

Easy DIY Spiced Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or puree
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground Kashmiri Garam Masala

Instructions

  1. Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan over low heat. Sift in the cocoa powder to remove any clumps and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Increase the heat to medium, and stir in the maple syrup, salt and chopped chocolate. When the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Sift in the finely ground spices, and stir in the butter and vanilla. Continue stirring until the butter is melted and spices are mixed in.
  4. Allow the sauce to cool slightly and transfer to airtight jars for storage. Reheat before serving.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/easy-diy-spiced-hot-fudge-sauce/

Categories: Holiday, Hot Topics, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | 4 Comments

How to Host with the Most!

American bartender Harry Craddock mixes a drink at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1926. Craddock is known for helping to popularize the Corpse Reviver, one of the drinks featured in "Let's Bring Back: Cocktail Edition." Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Bartender Harry Craddock makes potable magic at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1926. Craddock popularized the ‘Corpse Reviver,’ one of the drinks featured in “Let’s Bring Back: Cocktail Edition.” Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

There exists an old spice merchant proverb dating back to the early 21st century which, roughly translated, advises that “the better the cocktail; the better the party. The better the party; the better the friends.” E’er here to help, we’ve compiled some of our favorite reference materials on the topic. Serve these delicious, humorous, and historical (and of course, spicy!) signature potent potables at your holiday soiree  for insurance on a years’ worth of favors from your party-goers.

Let's Bring Back: Cocktail Edition

Let’s Bring Back: Cocktail Edition

“Let’s Bring Back; The Cocktail Edition” touts itself as a “compendium of impish, romantic, amusing, and occasionally appalling potations from bygone eras.”  The recipes hail from two-hundred year-old sources, right up to the archives of 1950′s iconic restaurant bars. From chuckles to laughs-out-loud, the history and suggestions accompanying each cocktail will have you and your guests tittering for hours, a la,  “think only pure thoughts while sipping [The Bishop],” or consume a Scofflaw to give you the courage to “Wear white after Labor Day… Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on Seafood Pasta… and all sorts of comparable acts of insurrection.”

“Savory Cocktails” is a slender little tome; an ode to all things sour, spicy, herbal, umami, bitter, smoky, high, and strong. These drinks are undeniably sexy — what a modern-day Don Draper might imbibe. They’re interesting and nuanced, and legions away from fru-fru — no neon-hued apple-tinis here! Sophisticated foodies only need apply. Try a subtle Green Tea Gimlet (I’d pick jade green Mao Feng to offset the lime), or a Dog’s Nose, made with, of all things, powdered porcini mushrooms in combination with porter and shaved nutmeg. This book calls for a wide variety of flavored bitters- pick up a Scrappy’s sampler pack or two to complete the package.

Winter Cocktails

Winter Cocktails

Though we love classic Mulled Wine and Eggnog, there’s so much more to winter-y cocktails than these two standbys. Enter, “Winter Cocktails.” Learn how to give hot chocolate a grown-up twist with lavender flowers and Earl Grey tea, or elevate your ski-lodge lounge with a “Rosy Cheek,” sprinkled with the rosy cheeks of cracked pink peppercorns. In addition to inspired beverages, this book also has a fabulous section on infusing alcohols at home — Rose-infused gin, anyone? Pair any one of these liquors or cocktails with their suggested finger foods. This is a one-stop-shop for great winter entertaining.

No list of cocktail books would be complete without a mention of the “Drunken Botanist,” shop best-seller and staff favorite since spring. As the name implies, this book unites the best of science and insobriety, leading an alphabetical nature walk from Agave to Strawberry and hitting all the best booze-making plants in between. Learning and jubilating skip hand-in-hand in this volume, the pages dotted with recipes for classic cocktails, as well as tips for updating old favorites in single servings and “pitcher” fulls.

Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails

Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails

Out of a workshop in Brooklyn comes “Shake,” self-described as “one part instructional recipe book, one part photo journey, and one part inspirational pep talk” for mixing spectacular cocktails at home. The approach is seasonal and straightforward, focused on simplicity, socializing, and, above all, fun! Our copy in the shop comes with the sweetest Mason jar cocktail shaker, pictured on the front of the book, for an automatic out-hipster of just about any one. (Pair with the Art of Fermentation- pickle it! for the win.)

Categories: Holiday, Hot Topics, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Spice Notes, Tea, Wet Your Whistle | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brining Basics

Brining Basics

Brining Basics

Everyone knows the horror of the dry turkey breast and will do cartwheels to avoid it. Our tried and true solution is the basic turkey brine, pun intended. It requires advance planning, but once you incorporate brining into your holiday routine it simply adds to the bustle and flavor of the season, along with a dose of stress reduction because your turkey will NOT be dry. Here are the basics.

Be prepared! Your turkey should be completely thawed and you must have a brining container that is big enough. The turkey needs to be completely submerged. Brining bags are all the rage- but a bucket or cooler can do the trick just as well. Make sure you have a cool place to put the brining turkey for 12-24 hours prior to cooking. This requires a good bit of refrigerator space, but if you use a brining bag, it doesn’t require much more than it would for the bird itself.

Make your brining solution: Use the correct proportion of water and salt, regardless of what else you add to the mix- the salinity of the brine must be correct for it to flow into the meat. The standard proportion is 1 cup of kosher salt per gallon of water or stock. No need to use specialty salts here, the nuances will not contribute to the flavor. If you are using prepared vegetable stock, make sure it is salt free so you don’t upset the balance.

The brine and turkey should both be cooled to the same temperature before they are combined. Again, this ensures that the brine will flow easily into the turkey. Most refrigerators are set around 38 degrees and that works just fine. Be sure to leave the bird in the brine at least overnight, and 24 hours is better for larger turkeys.

So go ahead and have fun with the flavors! Toss your favorite whole or cracked spices into the brine and experiment with using apple cider in the mix. For more ideas, check out our new favorite cookbook- Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures & Glazes. It’s a wealth of over 400 inspired recipes using loads of spice!

Categories: Holiday, Hot Topics, Recipes, Tools of the Trade | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Walnut Rosewater Wafers

These sublime wafers are the perfect treat if you are looking for a sweet to satisfy without over-doing it. The lofty texture of these delicate wafers owes itself to the flourless dough, and the ethereal flavor comes from our new Advieh spice blend and its rosewater complement. Try them as a light dessert with cardamom coffee, with your afternoon tea or as an apertif.

cookie Advieh

The Advieh spice made this cookie recipe!

Walnut Rosewater Wafers

Ingredients

1 ½ cups walnuts, finely ground
½ cup walnut pieces, for decoration
4 egg yolks, divided 3/1
¾ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon Advieh, ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon rosewater
1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a large sheet pan with parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the ground walnuts, 3 egg yolks, sugar, Advieh, baking soda and rose water until well blended.
  4. Roll the dough into teaspoon sized balls and place 2” apart on the sheet pan. Don’t skimp on the spacing, these wafers need room to expand.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg yolk and water. Press a walnut piece into each cookie and brush with the egg yolk glaze.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
  7. Allow the cookies cool on the sheet pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/walnut-rosewater-wafers/

Categories: Global Cuisines, Holiday, Middle East, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment