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Tagged With: Chinese Five Spice

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

Celebrating Fall with an Easy and Delicious Apple Cake

It wasn’t until the Pike Place Market produce vendors started sampling apples instead of stone fruits that I realized fall was here. With my first bite of Honeycrisp, I began thinking about a recipe Amanda shared last year — an apple cake recipe as easy as it is delicious. Chinese Five Spice adds an extra layer of flavor to a classic family recipe that is perfect in school lunches, with your afternoon tea, or served to your dinner guests.

Great Grandmother Carter's Apple Cake....with Chinese 5 Spice

Great Grandmother Carter’s Apple Cake….with Chinese 5 Spice

 

Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Fold in apples and nuts.
  5. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees in a greased 9" x 13" pan.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/apple-season/

Categories: Back to School, North America, Recipes, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

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!

Great Grandmother Carter’s Apple Cake….with Chinese 5 Spice

 

Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Fold in apples and nuts.
  5. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees in a greased 9" x 13" pan.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/apple-pie-cake-is-awesome/

Categories: North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Chinese Five Spiced Apple Carrot Pie

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!

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Chinese Five Spiced Apple Carrot Pie

Ingredients

For the Crust:
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour- preferably Gold Medal or King Arthur brands
1 cup chilled, unsalted butter, the best quality you can afford
½ cup very cold water
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the Filling:
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled
3 medium McIntosh or Pink Lady apples, peeled
6 large carrots, peeled
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon Lemon Crystal
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Utah Basin salt
1 tablespoon ground Chinese Five Spice
1 teaspoon Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon
½ cup boiling water
3 tablespoons dry sherry (or port/liquor of your choosing)
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Pour boiling water and 1 tablespoon of the sherry over raisins, and allow to soak
  3. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture mostly resembles coarse meal, with few pea-size pieces remaining. This can be done without a food processer, using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your hands, but be wary of over working it.
  4. Sprinkle in cold water, beginning with 3 tablespoons. Pulse until dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until this happens, but again, do not overprocess.
  5. Turn dough out onto a cutting board. Divide in to two equal portions, and form each portion in to 3/4-inch-thick disks. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. While dough chills, assemble filling.Peel and core apples, and cut in to slices 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut carrots on the bias so they’re approximately the same size as the apple slices, but 1/16 of an inch thick.
  7. In a large bowl, toss apples, carrots, ginger, sugars, Lemon Crystal, Chinese Five Spice, salt, and flour until well incorporated.
  8. Drain raisins, and incorporate with other filling ingredients. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of sherry to filling mixture.
  9. Unwrap dough; place on a large floured cutting board. Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Wrap dough around rolling pin and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate. Using a fork, prick holes all around the dough to allow crust to vent and prevent shrinkage.
  10. Fill crust with filling, pressing gently to tamp down. Dot top of filling with softened butter.
  11. Roll out second dough disk to a ten inch round. Wrap around rolling pin, and drape over filled pie dish.
  12. Trim overhang, and crimp top and bottom crusts together.
  13. Bake pie at 425 for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 for another 35 minutes, or until crust is golden, juices are bubbling, and apples and carrots are tender. Cool for four hours, and serve alone or with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/chinese-five-spiced-apple-carrot-pie/

Categories: Asia, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment