Tagged With: Saffron
Thanks to its’ luxurious ingredients, this pasta is fancy and decadent enough for special occasions, but is simple enough to be thrown together quickly. Rather than an elaborate sauce, the pasta is dressed with cream flavored by all of the dishes’ components. This makes for a rich-tasting effect that feels far lighter than a traditional cream sauce. It’s worth noting that this is one of the few recipes in which I advocate not toasting the pine nuts, because it is my experience that the toasted flavor doesn’t complement the saffron, and actually competes with it. You can, of course, use any shape of pasta, but I find that penne rigatè- the penne with the little ridges- holds the perfect amount of sauce. Each element in this pasta represents one of the tastes detectable by your palate, so the result is a beautifully balanced, crave-worthy dish.
Many fans of the HBO Series “Game of Thrones” are still reeling from last week’s blood drenched “Red Wedding” episode. Readers of the book series ”A Song of Ice and Fire” on which the show is based have a few advantages over the tv viewers:
- They totally knew what was coming.
- They had the pleasure of reading the author’s glorious descriptions of feasts and food.
By now, most fantasy foodies are familiar with the depictions of heavily laden tables known to induce jealous belly growls. Now you can put those burbles to bed, because World Spice now carries the official companion cookbook, “A Feast of Ice and Fire!”
Author George R.R. Martin introduces “A Feast of Ice and Fire” by saying, “Food is one of life’s great pleasures.” We couldn’t agree more! The book is divided in to sections based on cuisines from Westeros, Braavos, and other regions of the “Game of Thrones” empire.
This book is also ripe with real history, as well as quotes and excerpts of narrative recipes from actual medieval books of cookery and baking. Many of the recipes, such as Pork Pie, (which, incidentally, looks fantastic) offer a historically accurate recipe, and follow it with a “modern” recipe, boosted with the likes of hot sauce, and other spices and seasonings that wouldn’t have been available in the early European kitchen. Each recipe is introduced by a decadent quote from one of the many scenes of feasting found in Martin’s books.
World Spice has long been the spice source for Medievalists seeking Poudre Douce, or “sweet powder,” and Poudre Forte, or “strong powder” and both are used often throughout the book. Both blends rely heavily on cassia and ginger, with a dose of grains of paradise or long pepper, both of which were used in true medieval cooking, as this pre-dates the domestication and cultivation of the black peppercorns we know today. Also used again and again are two forms of pastry dough, which use a generous pinch of saffron for color and heavenly flavor.
For the lord or lady looking to to surprise guests with a spread of goat, elk, or venison, our English Beef Rub will tame the gamey edge of these meats, using the unmistakable flavor of juniper in combination with these warm, sweeter spices to excite even a mundane beef roast and delight your honored guests. Whatever you choose to serve, please observe the hospitality laws. Failing to do so is a sure fire way to ruin dinner and spoil your appetite. Bread and salt, people. Bread and salt.
You can bet my next “Game of Thrones” screening will include a feast fit for the Iron Throne room- perhaps Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth, Trout Wrapped in Bacon, Roman Buttered Carrots, Cheese and Onion Pie, a Salad from Castle Black, and finish the whole lot with Poached Pears, Elizabethan Lemon Cakes, and a challis of Mulled Wine- but I’m open to your suggestions (from anyone but House Frey)!
It’s almost Buddha’s birthday! Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar in nearly all east-Asian countries. This year it falls on Friday, May 17th in the Western calendar. Because it is customary to eat rice on Buddha’s birthday, we developed this heavily spiced vegetarian biryani to honor the Buddha and many of the exotic lands from which our spices come. Our Continental Curry is the perfect blend for this occasion, as it combines the best elements of several varieties of yellow curry. While we can’t promise a permanent Nirvana as a result of this dish, we guarantee at least a transient one!
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.