Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spicing It Up!

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Spices are a great way to add flavor to dishes. In honor of the power of spices, I took my group on a Spice Tour at the The Spice House, a wonderful spice shop owned by Tom & Patty Erd. If you're familiar with Penzey's spices, Patty Erd is the daughter of Bill Penzey Sr.! You can read about their history in the spice industry here. For this culinary adventure, my group received a wonderful presentation on spices. We learned the origins of common spices including vanilla, nutmeg, peppercorns, saffron, ginger just to name a few. After their presentation, we got to browse their shop and indulge in the amazing aromas and textures. Here are pictures of the great purchases I made...

Grains of Paradise
This was in a goodie bag given to all of us at the tour by Tom & Patty.
Interestingly enough, Alton Brown is an avid user of this product
and he can be seen using this specific spice in his pickling & brining show!
Red & Black Hawaiian Sea Salts
I purchased these for some dishes I plan on making in the future for some summer parties I have lined up. These are great finishing salts and are ideal for making kalua pork. The red salt is milder than the black but both offer some great flavors and aromas.

Crystallized Ginger
This was another treat in our goodie bag, We learned quite a bit about ginger and how it was used in history. It's a great thing to take for stomach aches and mild sicknesses.

Chinese Five Spice Powder
Since I love cooking asian inspired dishes, I was running low on this spice so I picked some up. I'm anxious to use this in some of my dishes including Chinese BBQ pork ribs!

King Creole Seasoning
Another goodie bag item, this seasoning mix is great for a little heat. One of the things I plan on making in a couple of weeks is a good hearty jambalaya... so this will come in handy!

Chesapeake Bay Seasoning
I'm hosting a seafood boil next month for a wine tasting event and this caught my eye. Rather than the usual Old Bay seasoning commonly used for seafood boils, I plan on using this for added flavor.

Chai
No more powdered chai mixes for me! I had a cup of chai using this mix and wow! It was fabulous and I'll never go back to those premade mixes again. The flavor was complex, rich and well, the way chai is meant to taste.

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