Tostadas de Higado de Pollo con Cebollas Caramelizadas, Mango & Berros

What’s that? Chicken Liver Toasts with Caramelized Onions, Mango and Watercress! That’s right, the World Spice Coobook Club is going to Puerto Rico — at least our tastebuds are. This is one of the delicious bites being prepared for the July 1st Meet & Eat featuring “Cocina Tropical: The Classic & Contemporary Flavors of Puerto Rico” by Jose Santaella. We’re excited about this recipe because it looks delicious, and it uses annatto seed — a spice with which many people are unfamiliar. Annatto is frequently used in Latin American and Caribbean countries to impart a natural color and mild, earthy flavor to foods. If you think you’ve never had it, it’s also what makes some butters yellow and cheddar cheese orange.

From the authors: Chopped chicken liver is one of those delicious recipes that is a bit of a throwback to the days of elegant cocktail hours and dinner parties with passed hors d’oeuvres. Pate and terrine are back in fashion, and this dish falls right into step with them. The richness of the velvety liver and the sweetness of the caramelized onions get a tangy tropical hit from the mango with a bit of peppery bite from the watercress garnish. Serve as is for a small plate appetizer or spread the liver on smaller crostini for a perfect party bite.Chicken Liver Toasts from "Cocina Tropical"


Tostadas de Higado de Pollo con Cebollas Caramelizadas, Mango & Berros


  • For the Annatto Oil:
  • 1/4 cup annatto (achiote) seeds
  • 1 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • For the Tostadas:
  • 3 cups fresh chicken livers
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup light rum or brandy
  • 2 tablesppoons annatto oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste in a mortar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 slices crusty bread
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt] and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch watercress


  1. For the Annatto Oil:
  2. In a small saucepan combine the annatto seeds and the oil and place over low heat. Bring the oil to a simmer, stirring the seeds around occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes before straining the oil through a sieve into a clean bowl or jar, discarding the seeds. Once cooked, the oil can be sealed and refrigerated for up to 3 months.
  3. For the Tostadas:
  4. In a large bowl, combine the livers, cream, rum, annatto,oil, oregano, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to marinate.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the butter and onion in a saucepan over low heat and saute until caramelized, about 4 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Toast the bread slices until golden brown and set aside.
  6. Drain the chicken livers, reserving the marinade,. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken livers and saute until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. In a separate saucepan, bring the reserved marinade to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Roughly chop the livers. Put the cream mixture in a blender and blend until creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Fold the cream mixture into the chopped livers.
  7. Place some of the chopped liver mixture on each piece of toast and top with a spoonful of the caramelized onions. Place a few pieces of the mango on top of the caramelized onions and garnish with some watercress leaves. Serve immediately.

Cocina Tropical

Cocina Tropical: The Classic & Contemporary Flavors of Puerto Rico is the July selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Cocina Tropical: The Classic & Contemporary Flavors of Puerto Rico is currently available for purchase at our retail store.

Reprinted with permission from © COCINA TROPICAL: The Classic and Contemporary Flavors of Puerto Rico by Jose Santaella, Rizzoli New York, 2014. Photography © 2014 Ben Fink. All rights reserved


Categories: Cookbook Club, Hot Topics, Latin America, North America, Notes from the Field, Snacky Bits | Leave a comment

Banana Upside Down Cake

This Banana Upside-Down Cake sounded so delicious that we just have to make it for our “Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond” Cookbook Club Meet & Eat!

From the authors, “In Brazil there are many types of banana cakes: cuca, a German cake with a rich, crumbly topping; banana bread; bolo cakes, which are sometimes made in a ring shape and often spread with cinnamon; and our favorite, the upside-down cake. Like the French tarte tatin, this indulgent cake is cooked with a layer of caramelized bananas at the bottom, then turned upside-down to show its sticky-sweet banana topping. Perfect as a teatime treat.”

banana upside down cake blog final


Banana Upside-Down Cake


  • For the banana caramel:
  • 11/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 4–5 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the cake batter:
  • 2/3 cup soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 11/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 11/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup unrefined superfine sugar
  • 2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a heavy 9-inch diameter springform cake pan, then line it with baking parchment.
  2. To make the banana caramel, put the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a heavy pan and cook over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let it boil until thickened to a golden-brown caramel, taking care not to burn it. Remove and immediately pour it into the cake pan, tipping the pan slightly from side to side until evenly coated.
  3. Peel the bananas and halve them lengthwise. Arrange them over the caramel in a neat pattern, trimming as necessary, then dust with the ground cinnamon.
  4. For the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon into a bowl.
  5. Put the egg whites in a separate clean bowl and whisk to stiff peaks.
  6. Put the butter and sugar in another large bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Fold in the mashed bananas, followed by the dry ingredients. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before unmolding. (It is easier to unmold while it is still warm, before the caramel base hardens). Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan. Put a large flat plate over the top and, holding the pan and the plate, invert it, gently lift off the pan and peel off the baking parchment.
  9. Serve warm.


Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond is the June selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond is currently available for purchase at our retail store.

Reprinted with permission from Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond, published in 2014 by Sterling Epicure. Text © 2014 Cabana; Photography © 2014 Martin Poole. All rights reserved.

Categories: Cookbook Club, Hot Topics, Latin America, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | Leave a comment

Chile & Cumin Marinated Hangar Steak

The World Spice Cookbook Club is thrilled to be cooking from Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond at the upcoming June 3rd Meet & Eat. As with last June’s Meet & Eat, the club is returning to our warehouse location and will be grilling up a storm. Robert, our fearless warehouse leader, was the first to call his recipe and it looks delicious and easy (smart guy, because he’s a busy man.) Here it is for you to enjoy at home!

From Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond: “At traditional Brazilian churrascarias, rock salt is usually sprinkled on the side of meat that faces the grill, then knocked off just before serving. It’s tasty just like that, but we’ve adapted our steak to include a bit more spice. Our Chili & Cumin Marinade is a blend of vinegar, cumin seeds, oregano, and red pepper flakes; we use it to marinate all our steaks, but it’s equally good on lamb or fish.”


Chili and Cumin Marinated Steak


Chile & Cumin Marinated Hangar Steak


  • For the marinade:
  • 3 ounces red chiles seeded and chopped, preferably Malagueta
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon toasted cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup light olive or safflower oil
  • For the steak:
  • 4 x 7-ounce hanger steaks (also known as butcher’s steak or onglet)
  • 4 tablespoons Chili & Cumin Marinade, plus extra for brushing
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth, wet paste suitable for coating meats and fish. Use immediately or refrigerate up to one week in a clean, sealed jar.
  2. Put the steaks in a large bowl and toss with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  3. Half an hour before you are ready to cook, take the steaks out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.
  4. Light the barbecue and let the flames die down before starting to cook. If cooking indoors, heat a griddle pan until very hot.
  5. Scrape the marinade off the steaks and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Brush them with a little oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, then barbecue or griddle for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked to medium rare. They should feel a little springy when pressed.Remove from the heat and brush with a little marinade.
  7. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.




Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond is the June selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond is currently available for purchase at our retail store.

Reprinted with permission from Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond, published in 2014 by Sterling Epicure. Text © 2014 Cabana; Photography © 2014 Martin Poole. All rights reserved.

Categories: BBQ, Cookbook Club, Global Cuisines, Grilling Season, Latin America, Main Meals, Notes from the Field, Recipes | Leave a comment

Grill Season Challenge !

Your food here:Around the world, sun-loving souls celebrate the summer months with the great tradition of outdoor cooking. Taking on many forms across many cultures and countries, these cuisines are all united by the love of great food cooked over fire in the open air.

Join us in celebrating that tradition with our inaugural Grill Season Recipe Contest. Simply send in your best recipe for the barbecue or grill using a World Spice blend. Category winners will receive a $50 World Spice gift card and their recipes will be featured right here on our blog.  The grand prize is a complete spice cabinet makeover valued up to $250.


From now until July 15th, we will be accepting recipe submissions in three categories that represent the culinary scope and wealth that grilling season has to offer:

  • Classics: Just like Ma or Pa used to make, these are the tried and true standbys of classic American grill fare. Newly revised or left untouched, we just want it to be good.

Beale Street BBQ Rub

  • International & Global: Grilling is a lot more than backyard barbecue. These are the exemplars of what make grill food nothing less than a global culinary staple.

International Grilling Spice

  • Unexpected: Not to knock the classics, but forget convention. These are the recipes that you never see coming until they’re on your plate. Still gotta be tasty, though.

Unexpected Grilling Spice

Whether you already have a top-notch recipe that fits into any of these categories, or are inspired to create one, send it in! From the tried and true staples to exotic innovations, all dishes are welcome. We’ll be selecting two winners in each of the above categories, one meat dish and one vegetarian, along with a single best-in-show winner to receive the grand prize of a spice cabinet makeover!

It’s important to note that while opinions may vary as to what constitutes true barbecue or “grill food”, for the purposes of the contest we’re adopting a pretty loose policy. You should feel free to interpret the categories as you see fit, but it has to be cooked outdoors!


  • Each recipe must use one or more World Spice blends. After all, it wouldn’t be a World Spice contest if you didn’t, right?
  • One entry per person, per category. Feel free to submit a recipe in each category, though. In fact, please do!
  • Each recipe must include a photo of the dish. Bust out your cameras, people.
  • The winners will be announced on August 1st.

We’ve got just a couple more caveats before you go shooting your recipe off to us, so check out the complete contest rules for details. Submit your recipe along with a photo of the finished dish to [email protected]. It’s as simple as that. There’s only one more rule, but it’s the most important, so we saved it for last and we’re going to make it extra big. Ready?

Play with your food!

That’s all for now.

For the full rules of the contest, please refer to this page. If you’re not a fan of fine print, or you find anything to be unclear, please feel free to contact us with questions.

Categories: Recipes | 2 Comments

Roselle-Rooibos Drink

Roselle-Rooibos DrinkblogAfro-Vegan  by Bryant Terry is the  World Spice Cookbook Club selection for May, and we’ll be serving up his delicious Roselle-Rooibos drink at the Meet & Eat.

From Bryant Terry author of Afro-Vegan: “This drink is tart, sweet, and floral and has become one of my favorite summertime beverages. In this recipe, I call for fresh pineapple to give the drink texture and vibrant tropical flavor, but when my editor, Melissa Moore, brought me a bag of fresh peaches from the farm of Mas Masumoto, I peeled, sliced, and used them in place of the pineapple. It was off the chain! I think any other stone fruit, such as nectarines or cherries, would also work well and I encourage you to experiment with adding them.

For a late fall or winter spin, serve this drink warm, omitting the fresh fruit and boiling the tea and hibiscus with 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves, in a nod to how roselle is prepared in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Roselle-Rooibos Drink


  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 2 (2 inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 6 tea bags or 3 tablespoons roobios tea
  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple, in 1-inch chunks, plus 6 spears
  • Ice for serving


  1. Put the water and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the rooibos, hibiscus flowers, orange juice, and agave nectar and mix well.
  3. Immediately remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Strain through a fines-mesh sieve into a pitcher, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. (Compost the solids.)
  6. Add the pineapple chunks and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.


Afro-Vegan--book coversmAfro-Vegan: Farm Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed is the May selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Afro-Vegan is currently available for purchase at our retail store and also online through the following sellers:,,,

Reprinted with permission from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Paige Green

Categories: Africa, Cookbook Club, Recipes, Tea, Wet Your Whistle | Leave a comment


Chermoula and Pom-Peach BBQsm

Afro-Vegan  by Bryant Terry is the  World Spice Cookbook Club selection for May. We are whipping up his incredible Chermoula recipe! Chermoula is a versatile marinade combining fresh herbs with dried spices, oils and citrus to create layers of flavor. It is used liberally in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking to flavor fish, seafood, meats and vegetables.



  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced seeded habanero chile
  • pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed minced cilantro
  • 1/2 cup packed minced flat-leaf parsley


  1. Warm the oil in a medium saute pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and salt and saute until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne and saute until fragrant, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice, orange juice, water, habanero, and saffron and mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in the cilantro and parsley.
  6. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
  7. Use immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Afro-Vegan--book coversmAfro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed is the May selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Afro-Vegan is currently available for purchase at our retail store and also online through the following sellers:,,,

Reprinted with permission from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Paige Green



Categories: Africa, Cookbook Club, Grilling Season, Main Meals, Recipes, Sides | Leave a comment