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.
This simple apple cake was baked by my great-grandmother on a wood stove over 100 years ago, and I’m happy to still be cooking it today. This recipe is timeless, rustic and highlights the flavors of both the apples and the spice. This old family recipe was one of the first that I adapted to experiment with the amazing world of spices and I’m thrilled to share it. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
The trains of India are legendary- they wind through the vast countryside and into the crowded cities, packing in locals and adventurers alike. Merchants selling traditional tea beverages- or chai wallahs- announce their wares at every stop, circulating through the cars to provide passengers with cups of steaming brew in low-fired clay cups (that you throw out the window when you’re finished!), jumping from the train as it pulls away from the platform.
Chai is such an integral part of the Indian culture that even if you’re miles away from food or potable water, there will always be someone to give you a hot cup of chai. The classic version is an aromatic brew centered around a black tea base, flavored with spices, and tempered with milk and a sweetener. Traditional chai beverages are brewed with different proportions of warm, sweet spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and clove.
World Spice offers a variety of original chai blends to suit most any palate. Our most popular Sweet Chai is most traditional, with a little orange peel added for a full, aromatic flavor. Our Roast Chai makes use of deeply toasted spices to produce a sumptuous brew reminiscent of cocoa- and is also fabulous infused in to alcohols, or ground and used in desserts. Northwest Chai is our Puget Sound twist on the chai theme, using sage to pay homage to the wild sage that grows in the Cascade foothills here. Our Chipotle Chai is the chile-heads’ dream- flavorful, smoky, and spicy. The heat of the chile warms from the inside-out, no matter how frigid the drizzle.
We like to brew chai in a 16 oz. french-press pot, because it allows us to steep in two stages, getting maximum flavor from the spices while preventing the tea from becoming bitter. Add two tablespoons (or more!) of freshly cracked chai spice, and fill the pot half way with boiling water. After steeping for three minutes, add two tablespoons of black tea- our favorite is Assam- and top off the pot with more boiling water. Steep another three minutes, press, then add warm milk and honey to taste. Feel free to adjust the spice to tea ratio for a perfect personalized cup. If you’re accustomed to processed, syrupy chai concentrates, this process will be a revelation. Though a bit more of a time investment, you’ll find the reward well worth the effort- both for the steamy and fragrant amber brew, and for those few minutes you’ll learn to delight in taking for yourself.
Sri Lankan Curry has none of the turmeric that we often expect in our curries, but is 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. To answer the call for alternative uses of this irresistible blend, we adapted a very classic Southern sweet potato pie filling to feature it, and we are so proud of the result! The sweet potatoes are a perfect canvas for the deep, toasted flavors of the spice, with just a pop of orange zest here and there for contrast. The crust is a dense, almost shortbread-esque shell, made special by the chopped pecans within. This pie is sure to please all who grace your autumn table!
The combination of chile and chocolate is irresistible, and this Ghost Chile Honey Cake is a mouth watering example. By infusing the chile into honey, we were able to mellow the heat and reveal the subtle fruity flavor of the Ghost Chile. The fudgy and fiery creaminess of the frosting, the moist chocolate cake, and the synergistic tang of the marmalade combine together to make one luscious cake. While it’s perfect for a Halloween party, we’ve made this cake for birthdays, holiday gatherings, and just when we wanted a thick slice of a really good chocolate cake. Enjoy!
Tender carrots are surprisingly sweet when baked in a brown sugar-y syrup, especially when united with perfect Washington apples and plump little raisin gems. The fresh ginger is such a classic pairing with the carrot, and is highlighted perfectly by the Star Anise in our Chinese Five Spice. The all-butter crust recipe I’ve included is a long-time standby of mine, and produces some of the flakiest and best pastry I’ve ever tasted. It will definitely be making an appearance at my Thanksgiving table this year!
Sometimes I get so busy doing things that I forget to eat breakfast and/or lunch. I know, I shouldn’t do that, but I do. I’ve tried various power or energy bars, but I find them too sweet, lacking in flavor, or really just not very healthy. So I set out to make an energy bar that tasted good, was high in all of the “good” stuff we’re supposed to be eating every day, and was full of things that I loved (like Indian Coriander). I’m also a huge fan of chia seeds, and using them eliminated the need to use oil or eggs in my energy bars. (Chia seeds are full of essential fatty acids, antioxidents, calcium, iron, fiber, and are a source of natural extended energy.)
I’ve found this to be a great recipe for experimentation and using up tasty odds and ends. Got a quarter cup left of fig butter? Put it in your next batch. Found an apple or banana you need to use? Mash the banana or grate the apple, and add it to your next batch. (These are also good with grated carrots, too.) I’ll make these every week or so, and bring them into the shop. Somehow, they always seem to disappear…there are even some days where I might actually get one or two pieces! (We have some sneaky people here at the shop, especially where baked goods are concerned.) They’re always a big hit, and no one feels guilty about eating them. Yes, I will admit to sometimes putting chocolate chips in them, but chocolate is good for you, too, right?
Her name was Edna Nosworthy, and she had the same birthday as I do- only eighty years difference. She had a bottomless stash of Tootsie Rolls, made a mean Snickerdoodle, and had a sprawling green lawn dotted with fruit trees- apples, pears, cherries, and Italian plums. It’s been more than fifteen years since she passed, but I still choke up when I talk about her. Every summer, the other families lucky enough to know Edna would gather in her yard to harvest her fruit, which she would then turn in to vats of phenomenal home goods- pickles, preserves, jams, and pie fillings. What I wouldn’t give to have a Ball jar in my cupboard with her spidery scrawl on it now!
These preserves are an homage to all of the “Greatest Generation” who inspire us to use what we have, and share with our neighbors. The global update is lent by the Moroccan staple, Ras El Hanout, whose complex flavors support and feature the sweet-sour plums. Any variety of plum will do- and the choices abound! A loop around your local Farmer’s Market will alert you to the bumper year it’s been for this stellar stone fruit in the Northwest, or if you’re lucky enough to have an Edna Nosworthy in your life, you’ll opt for Italian, all the way. Serve them over ice cream- as we’ve pictured- or as a dipping sauce for a juicy lamb kebab.
This recipe from our friends at Sunset promises a citrus and sweet taste, followed by a glow or a kick — depending on whether the signature French four-spice blend is made with white or black pepper. Well, our Quatre Epices delivers the best of both, with prized Sarawak White and Tellicherry Black peppercorns!