Monday, February 9, 2009

Foodie Freebie Friday: Urban Accents!

Welcome back from the weekend! Hope you had a great weekend in your corner of the world and are ready to tackle another week. This week's Foodie Freebie Friday is sure to give your taste buds a culinary adventure!

I'm a big fan of learning about different cultures, especially through food. It's quite interesting to see how a dish has variations that stretch among different countries. For example, take your typical filled dumpling. Japan has gyoza, Korea has mandu, China has filled wontons, Poland has pierogies, Russia has piroshki, Italy has ravioli, etc. As similar as they are, they are all unique and delicious!

Aside from similar dishes in different cultures, another way to learn about food is through the spices used in the cuisine. Countries use what they have on hand and often times, used similar spices in their dishes to give them a distinctive flavor. One Chicago-based company that specializes in spices is Urban Accents.

Urban Accents, Inc. was founded in 1996 with the goal of bringing premium, all natural and visually appealing herbs and seasoning to the contemporary home cook.

Frustrated with what he could find on the grocery store shelves, Tom Knibbs started Urban Accents in the basement of his Chicago home. As a packaging sales manager, he understood the need for image to convey the attention to detail and quality in his spices. ~ taken from the Urban Accents website

Since I love highlighting local food businesses, for this week's Foodie Freebie Friday, a lucky reader will receive their choice between the following 2 Urban Accents collections...

An Urban Accents Gourmet Spice Collection
of 8 different spice blends that capture
flavors around the world including:
Bayou Barbecue - This mild & spicy barbeque blend has the soul of Bourbon Street, but has its roots from the British West Indies which add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a distinctive flavor.

Kodiak Fish & Game - This hearty blend of herbs and spices gives a burst of flavor to your roasts and dense seafood filets. Use in your roasted veggie recipes for added zip!

Mongolian Ginger BBQ - Citrus and ginger brighten this Wasabi and mustard based grilling and baking blend.

Montego Bite
- A coarsely ground version of the Caribbean standard, this blend combines over a dozen zesty herbs and spices. Popular as a seasoning for marinating chicken and pork, this version also adds a spicy snap when sprinkled over turkey, steaks and ribs.

Mozambique Peri Peri
-This Peri Peri is a combination of over 6 herbs and spices accented with just the right amount of citrus for a flavorful blend with a touch of fiery heat.

- Italian cooking has become almost standard fare in America, but our Old World blend is anything but average. It unleashes the flavor and aroma of fragrant basil, oregano, garlic and other herbs reminiscent of the most popular neighborhood trattorias in Rome.

Tokyo Miso
- Shiromiso, a white miso with sweet and spicy flavors added for true Asian flavor.

Parisian Melange
- AFrench onion mix of leeks, shallots, and healthy flavors-a world apart from your traditional soup mix

An Urban Accents Gourmet Sea Salt Collection
of 6 different sea salt blends that capture
flavors around the world including:
Chateau Provence - Rustic grey sea salt mixed with Herbes de Provence makes an aromatic and subtle addition to any dish. Use this in soups, stews, roasted meats, seafood and game. The hint of lavender softens the sea salt just a bit and provides an elegant appearance and fragrance.

Ocean Smoked - Smoked sea salt mixed with French grey sea salt make this “tuxedo blend” the class of all sea salts. Use on slow roasted meats, steaks, game, seafood and roasted vegetables. The deep, rich smoked flavor stems from roasted pecan shells and oak and adds the savory smoke flavor to any recipe.

Isle of Capri - Inspired by the rugged beauty of Capri and the zesty cooking of Southern Italy, this combination is great on grilled seafood, pizza and pasta sauces.

Caribbean - A uniquely balanced blend between imported sea salt and crushed peppercorns makes this an incredibly flavorful and versatile seasoning. Ground Jamaican Pepper adds a touch of sweetness that completes this wonderful mélange. This will change the way you “salt and pepper” any dish.

Ginger Szechwan
- Combining the tangy flavor of Chinese Five Spice powder with the sweetness of ground ginger and imported sea salt, this blend brings the exotic cuisine of the Far East to any dish. Use in marinades, while barbequing, or add to season any stir fry recipe.

Santiago Citrus -
Imported sea salt, chili powder and red pepper flakes are balanced with a cooling note of citrus in this unique blend. Bring out the flavor in grilled or pan fried seafood, or use it to add some zest to your favorite guacamole or salsa recipe. This sea salt is also great on tomatoes and in soups.

So for this week's Foodie Freebie Friday, I've giving away your choice of the above Urban Accents collections. The winner of this week's giveaway will have their choice of either the Urban Accents Gourmet Spice Collection (8) or the Urban Accents Gourmet Sea Salts Collection (6). Either collection will add some spice to your dishes for a delicious culinary adventure!

Some guidelines:
- Giveaway is only for those who live in the United States. My apologies to my international readers!
- You must have a valid email address so that you can be contacted if you win.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about:
- Your favorite ethnic cuisine! What country has flavors you love? Is there a specific cuisine that inspires you to make many of your meals? I can't wait to hear all about it!

Deadline: Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 12 midnight CST.

One Winner will be randomly chosen by Random.Org's Interger Generator based on the number of your comment and will be announced on Friday, February 13, 2009. Good luck!