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Salt Talk

VSpicery LOVES flavor. Whether chili powders or different cinnamon varieties (yes, there is a difference) VSpicery loves fresh, big and bold flavors. The same can be said about salts. We have a variety of 17 sea salts, 5 of which are VSpicery’s very own sea salt blends.

There is a difference in the flake and taste of each salt that we carry. For instance, we have two salts infused with activated charcoal to provide digestive and other health benefits, but they are vastly different.

Cyprus Black Lava is very salty at the front of your palate then finishes very smooth at the back of your palate. As you can see in the picture to the left, this salt forms in really cool looking pyramid crystals.

Hiwa Kai is a delightful tasting salt that is tossed in activated charcoal from coconut shells and versatile enough to use in pretty much anything. Although we don’t recommend putting it on rimmed drinks, as the charcoal can dust off and cast a shadow on the drink. As far as salts go, both Cyprus Black Lava and Hiwa Kai are good for you and have striking visual appeal for dramatic presentation.

Another Hawaiian sea salt is Alaea. Although they both are Hawaiian sea salts, Alaea is different from Hiwa Kai in that it is enriched with purified red alaea clay from the Hawaiian island of Kauai. This clay gives a slight mineral taste and is delicious when used with pork or other meats.

Pure Ocean Sea Salt is exactly what it purports to be. It has a clean, refreshing taste and is lovely to use as an every day salt. Delicious on everything, especially veggies, seafood, beef and poultry.

Our Black Truffle Salt is so flavorful! Italian sea salt is infused with real Italian black truffles to create a true truffle flavor. Perfect for popcorn, fries, potatoes, eggs, veggies, chicken, beef and more! Other salts in our array are Fleur de Sel, French Grey, Murray River, Himalayan Pink, and two smoked salts: Alderwood and Applewood.

One of the fun dinner games we play with our dining guests is to set various bowls of salt down the center of the table for them to try. Frequent diners can be seen separating the food on their plates and trying a bit of each salt to experience the subtle flavor differences each of the varieties imparts on the food. This is fun, interesting and educational. Note: I make sure to under salt the food when this game is played.

Intrigued by our wide variety of salts? Then do yourself a flavor and come on in to sample something new. Our extensive line of salts are also available right here on our salt page.

That’s it for this month. We hope our northern friends have finally thawed out and that Spring has sprung in their towns, while our locals are gearing up for Summer.

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VSpicery’s Knife Skills Day!

Look Sharp! Mark Your Calendars for a Special Sunday Event at VSpicery, April 15th from 12:00p – 3:00p.

This event is all about knives, the benefits of keeping them sharp and a class on how to use them, along with a few recipes and samples of the tasty treats being prepared.

To kick things off, Mark Bertsche of M&M Sharpening will be setting up his shop at our shop! Mark is an expert in sharpening kitchen knives and garden tools. You can watch Mark work his magic on your tools or drop them off and schedule your pickup date.

Starting at 1:00pm, Chef Tina Hurless will demonstrate proper knife usage and help you hone your skills with your freshly sharpened knife. Come learn how to dice, mince, chop, and julienne like a pro while creating some delicious delights.

Chef Tina will show you how to make baked vegetable fries – avocado, zucchini and chick pea sticks with creamy ancho salsa in the first session of the day.

At 2:00pm Chef Tina starts the second session where you will learn how to chop and dice your way to a perfect comfort food bowl using vegetables, grains and seasoned meat (or meat alternatives).

Each session is $10.00 and we will be serving the yummy samples. Knife sharpening is priced separately. Registration is required. Please call 813-870-1133 to reserve by April 12th.

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Springtime Holidays

It’s Easter. It’s Passover. It’s, it’s both and April Fool’s Day too! In some years, Passover and Easter fall on the same weekend, and 2018 is one of those years. A festive yet reflective holiday that celebrates the Jewish exodus from slavery, Passover has its own cherished food traditions. For many folks, the star of the Seder (the ceremonial dinner held on the first two nights of the festival) is the Matzo Ball Soup. Here’s our take on it.

Minnie’s Matzo Ball Soup

INGREDIENTS
4 large eggs
¼ cup rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) or vegetable oil
¼ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup matzo meal (GF is available or make your own with ground GF matzo)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt V’s Version Garlic Salt (additional sea salt for cooking)
freshly ground black pepper (we recommend Lampong Peppercorns)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine eggs, schmaltz or oil, stock, matzo meal, and nutmeg. Season with 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt and a few grinds of pepper. Gently mix with a whisk or spoon. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil, lightly salt. With slightly wet hands, take some of the mix and mold it into a small ball (about 1¼”). Carefully drop it into the boiling water, repeating until all the mix is used.

Partially cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and cook matzo balls for 30 to 40 minutes for a firm matzo ball, longer if you like them fluffy. To serve, place two or three in a single serving bowl, spoon hot chicken broth or vegetable broth over them and serve immediately.

Of course, you shouldn’t forget the brisket. We love seasoning brisket with VSpicery’s Herbal Crust seasoning and for an Eastern European kick add some Smoked Hot Paprika.

Easter, so much fun. Coloring, hiding, and finding eggs. If you have thought about coloring eggs naturally, we can say that it really works. Too many websites toting how to, so look it up.

Easter Sunday, a day to celebrate and feast. Growing up my Mom would make roasted leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, a green vegetable, salad, rolls and her famous Lemon Meringue Pie. Good memories.

We like to take these memories and update them. A boneless leg of lamb stuffed with cranberry, apricot and herbs, mashed potatoes a la Herbs de Provence, roasted asparagus, salad, rolls and dessert. This is a delicious and easy to make meal.

Here’s our big recipe share for the meal.

 

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Cranberry and Apricot Stuffing

INGREDIENTS
3 Tbsp Cognac
3 Tbsp Water
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Dried Apricot, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Almonds, toasted & chopped
1 med. Shallot minced
3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, softened
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds, toasted and crushed
½ tsp. Kosher Salt plus Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 – 4 lb. boneless leg of Lamb
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 cup Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream
½ cup Dijon Mustard

DIRECTIONS
Warm the Cognac and water in a small sauce pan. Add cranberries and apricots and set aside until plump. In a small food processor pulse the fruit and any unabsorbed liquid with almonds, shallots, butter, fennel seed, ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

With a boning knife or other large thin knife make a cut 3 inches across in the center of the roast. Gently push and work the blade in and straight through the roast to the other end. Insert the narrow end of a wooden spoon into the opening to widen it a bit all the way through. Push the stuffing into the lamb working first from one end and then the other filling to the center.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; pat the lamb dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over a medium-high heat. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the meat side down for 1 ½ hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Whisk the Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream with the mustard in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

We hope that whichever Holiday you are celebrating, the celebration is a grand event.

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Irish March Madness

Does March Madness reign supreme at your place? Between the brackets, we suggest hosting a St. Patty’s Day gathering. A good stout is a slam dunk with some great St. Patrick’s Day plates. Bring your “A” game: Beef in Ale with Cheese Cobbler, served with Irish Soda Bread, followed up by Irish Whisky Balls for dessert.

Beef in Ale with Cheese Cobbler

CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons VSpicery’s Herbal Crust Seasoning
1 1/2 pounds beef brisket, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups premium ale
1 cup homemade beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 to 2/3 cups water
1 tablespoon milk for brushing tops

DIRECTIONS

This beef casserole dish is best when made with premium Irish ale. Topped with a cheesy Cheddar cobbler, the dish can be prepared in advance, with the cobbler added just before serving time.

To make the casserole: In a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, combine the flour and VSpicery’s Herbal Crust Seasoning. Dredge the beef in the flour mixture and set aside. Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the beef and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Add the carrots and celery and stir to coat. Stir in the ale, broth, tomato purée, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are tender and the sauce starts to thicken. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.

To make the cobbler: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Sift the flour and mustard into a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Add the butter, and pulse 4 to 5 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese, Tabasco, and 1/2 cup water. Process for 8 to 10 seconds, or until a soft dough forms. Add more water, if necessary. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Roll it out to 1/2-inch thickness. With a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Arrange the rounds on top of the meat mixture, overlapping in a decorative pattern. Brush the tops of the cobbler with the milk. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and the mixture is heated through. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6 as a main course.

 

Herbed White Soda Bread
Soda bread is as common to Ireland as rice is to China or pasta is to Italy. This bread has a soft rich flavor with a texture that is light and crumbly, and it’s aroma has wafted through every kitchen in Ireland. The delicate flavor of the herbs comes through with a subtle delight. You can add 1/3 cup of raisins or some ground fennel seeds to change it up.

INGREDIENTS
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon freshly chopped herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, and parsley
12 to 14 ounces buttermilk

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, make a well in the center and pour all of the buttermilk in at once. Using 1 hand, stir in a full circle starting in the center of the bowl working towards the outside of the bowl until all the flour is incorporated.

The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured board. WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS. Roll dough around gently with floured hands for a second, just enough to tidy it up, flip the dough over. Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2-inches deep. Sprinkle a little flour onto the center of a baking sheet and place the loaf on top of the flour. Cut a deep cross on it with a sharp knife and prick the four sections. Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until just cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.

Irish Coffee Balls
This recipe was one that we couldn’t resist trying, and really glad we did! Recipe by SkinnyMinnie, thank you for this delicious creation.

INGREDIENTS
3 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar, divided
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/3 cup Irish Whisky
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, pecans, and 1 cup of sugar. Dissolve coffee granules in Irish whiskey in a small cup. Add to dry mixture along with corn syrup, mixing until blended. Shape mixture into 1 inch balls. Roll in remaining sugar. Store in air tight container. Note: Cookies become more flavorful after sitting 2-3 days. Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Well that’s all for now. Hope you give some of these suggests a whirl.

 

Have you heard the news?

Our kitchen is open! This means that you can host your own fantastic evening at VSpicery Flavor Shop and let us do the cooking. Gather your friends (minimum of four couples), contact us so we can work out a menu, set the date and then come enjoy. These evenings consist of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. We don’t have a liquor license so we can only encourage you to bring wine or other beverages of choice to complement the meal. We will serve iced tea and coffee while you wow your friends with an unforgettable feast.

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Flavors of the Sea

As February is waning and we head into March, VSpicery is ready to spice it up!
Lent means fish on Fridays for many, and here are a couple of fun fish recipes for you to try. We have a few spins on the “usual” and a couple of fun alternatives that will help you keep fresh fish on the table frequently without getting bored. Just because it is healthy for us to eat, doesn’t mean it has to be boring!

Venture down the bayou with a seafood gumbo featuring VSpicery’s Creole Seasoning. Try our Blackening Seasoning on shrimp or fish, and our Shallots N’ Pepper blend is wonderful on any fish variety. Add a touch of our Chophouse Seasoning to perk up an Oyster Stew or Clam Chowder.

Fish Cakes
Fish cakes are fabulous with VSpicery’s Shallots N’ Pepper blend. So easy and so delicious, these fish cakes will please everyone at the table, including our picky kiddos. Here’s all you need:

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ lbs. Cod
1 egg
1 med. onion
1 stalk of celery
¼ cup bread crumbs, plus ½ cup for coating outside
2 tsp. VSpicery’s Shallots N’ Pepper divided

DIRECTIONS
In a food processor, chop down onion and celery until finely minced, and set aside in a bowl. Season fish with 1 tsp. Shallots N’ Pepper (use more, if you like). Put fish into food processor until finely flaked.

Combine fish with onion, celery, egg and 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and mix together well. Combine ½ cup bread crumbs with 1 tsp. Shallots N’ Pepper, form cakes and coat fish cakes with bread crumbs.

Place on a baking sheet, and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the fish cakes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and serve immediately.

One of our easy favorites is salmon seasoned with VSpicery’s Tasty Tango served with our French Inspired Rice. Simply bake the seasoned salmon at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes and follow the directions on the rice package. Another delicious combo for salmon is VSpicery’s Sweet Singing Seasoning paired with our India Inspired Rice.

If shrimp is your thing, try Shallots N’ Pepper or spice it up with Sriracha Sizzle. Here’s a quick and delicious shrimp marinade with our Sriracha Sizzle that is incredibly delicious and easy to make as an appetizer or main dish.

 

Sriracha Sizzle Shrimp
You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. Try this marinade for grilled shrimp too!

INGREDIENTS
3lb bag of shrimp, medium deveined and peeled
3/4 c. Olive Oil
2 tbs Sriracha Sizzle
1/2 c. Soy Sauce (preferably the low sodium Kikkoman)
1 Lime, zested and juiced

DIRECTIONS
Whisk ingredients until well blended, pour over the shrimp in a ziplock bag or bowl, and let the shrimp chill in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes.

Pour 2 – 3 tbs of Olive Oil in a large skillet, and put on medium-high. When the oil is hot, add shrimp to the pan, searing on both sides until shrimp turns pink and just starts to curl. Don’t overcook, or they become rubbery. Cycle shrimp out of the pan and onto plates as they finish cooking. Each batch should only need about 5 – 6 minutes total.

We like to place the shrimp on a small bed of arugula or any other peppery leafy greens, and a small lime wedge (or wheel) is optional. A fresh spritz of lime juice adds a bright, fresh touch. Serve and enjoy!

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Up Your Game This Valentine’s Day

Avoid the crowds and expensive restaurant meal prices, and make this a year to remember with a deliciously romantic, homemade Valentine’s Day dinner for your someone special.

After many requests over the past few years, VSpicery’s kitchen has reopened! We have rearranged the shop to make room for cooking classes, demonstrations and catering. We will also be offering meals soon on a pre-order basis. Keep an eye out for the update with full details as soon as we are ready to take orders.

Join us for our first class back in the kitchen this weekend where we will show you how to keep your romance alive through culinary bliss. Let us show you how to spark love and admiration in your significant other through your flavor mastery. After this class, you will be able to confidently choose from a couple of simple and delicious dishes that you can prepare for your special night.

When: Saturday, February 10th, 2:00 pm – until?
Where: VSpicery Flavor Shop
2913 W. Cypress Street, Tampa
Cost: $45.00 pp

This class will teach you how to make:

  • Chicken Breast with a Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction over Wilted Spinach.
  • Beef Filet Mignon, topped with a velvety Gorgonzola Sauce and Herb Pasta on the side.
  • Inside Out Strawberries for a quick and tasty dessert.

VSpicery will share our culinary expertise, provide written recipes, a shopping list and you will be able to sample the finished dishes at the end of class.

Seating is limited to 10, and a deposit is required. Call 813-870-1133 to reserve your spot today.

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15th Anniversary Rollback Sale!

VSpicery is celebrating 15 tasty years!

It’s because of all of you that a small business like ours has made it this far, and we have some great reasons to celebrate. Join us as we let loose with roll back pricing on some of your favorites in celebration of our 15th Anniversary.

Thursday, Feb. 1st – Saturday, Feb. 3rd
Spices (.4oz to 1oz. jars) $3.00 each
Curries (1oz. jars) $4.00 each
Culinary Rub jars $5.00 each

Rollback prices will be available at our shop and online. Net Wt listed in the online product descriptions are the sale priced items to select in the drop down menu on the product pages of the spices and curries.

We would love to see you at the shop if you are in town. Shop hours on Thursday and Friday will be from 10a – 6p, and Saturday 10a -2p. We wish you happy cooking!

This offer excludes Vanilla (ground or whole bean), Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper), Habanero, Saffron, Cocoa Powder, Seasonal spice mixes (Poultry Seasoning, Apple Pie Seasoning and Pumpkin Pie Seasoning), Peppercorns and Salts. 

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A Thanksgiving Story from Val at VSpicery

You know the food is good when you have a crazed chef running at you with a big spoon yelling, “Taste this” and evidence of their own sampling on their chin! This actually started last Thanksgiving when my sous chef and I were preparing a luncheon for a holiday office party. We made a full Thanksgiving spread, complete with turkey, ham, stuffing, spiced cranberry and orange relish, mashed potatoes and gravy, all made from scratch in our kitchen at VSpicery.
In the final preparations for this catering event, I had to run out for an ingredient and left her stirring the gravy.  As I walked back in the door, she came running at me with a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes and gravy shouting, “You gotta try this!”, and shoved the spoon in my mouth.  This sensational gravy that caused all the commotion was a simple concoction of  turkey fat, pan drippings and flour.  All this flavor from simply sprinkling on and rubbing Herbal Crust Seasoning onto a lightly oiled turkey (also great for beef roasts or venison) and roasting it in the oven until done.
We successfully repeated this fabulous gravy this past Thanksgiving and the only thing we can attribute to it’s divine flavor was the rub we used on the turkey.  That rub is called Herbal Crust Seasoning.  The pan drippings are the key to a fantastically flavored gravy or sauce to complete your meal, and “wow” your guests. We have known for a very long time that this rub is terrific on just about any roasted meat and makes a great beef stew.   Originally blended at customer’s request for something to put on venison, it has become one of our favorites.
We also have used it to make eggplant and turkey burgers.  Just mixing some of this rub into bread crumbs, using an egg wash and bread the eggplant rounds.  Drizzling with olive oil and baking for 20-30 minutes on 375 degrees.  A little pita bread and whatever condiments we like on our normal burgers makes this meatless dish a satisfying alternative.  Also fantastic on turkey burgers, and you can either sprinkle it on each side of the patty or mix it into the turkey meat as you form the burgers. But the gravy, oh the gravy!  Just fabulous.
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Cool Weather, Hot Plates

It’s that time of the year when the weather starts cooling down, and kitchens start heating up with soups, stews and all kinds of delicious takes on chili. We’re also just ahead of Holiday baking. Here are a few tips from our kitchen to help you welcome in the season.

Chili can be complicated or quick and easy. Our Cha Cha Chili blend makes a pot of delightful chili in about an hour or less. VSpicery believes that when cooking with tomatoes, keeping it at a simmer a little longer always makes a big difference.

Suggestion: Cha Cha can also be used to make a delicious tasting dinner using simple ingredients. Make a pot of yellow rice, then season chicken tenders with Cha Cha Chili blend. Sauté chicken in olive oil until cooked through, serve over yellow rice with a bit of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. A side salad works nicely to round out dinner.

If you want to make a different type of chili, we recommend using ground turkey, black beans, a can of tomatoes and our Cocoa Loco Taco Mix. It not only makes great tacos, but this chili is deliciously different.

Now if you want to make an all day pot of chili, we have a large variety of chili powders, from mild to wild. We simply love the combination of Ancho, Pasilla and Chipotle chili powders to season the pot, and Mexican Oregano is a must. This oregano makes a huge difference when seeking that special background flavor. Most “oregano” in the grocery stores is sweet oregano. Mexican oregano is earthly with hints of citrus and licorice (in a good way), and has a spicier flavor. VSpicery also has super fresh cumin, which makes your dishes even more delicious.

 

We love making a nice pot of stew to warm us up on cool nights! Our blend, Herbal Crust Seasoning, was originally developed for venison, this blend has taken us on all sorts of culinary journeys. We use it to season flour to dredge the beef and add a bit to the vegetables for beef stew. The end result is one of our favorite fall flavors. VSpicery also uses Herbal Crust Seasoning in turkey burgers, eggplant burgers, on our Thanksgiving turkey, and in a vegetable stew. We have discovered that our Thanksgiving Day gravy is ridiculously delicious just from using the pan drippings after baking a turkey with Herbal Crust Seasoning.

Baking season is just around the corner and VSpicery has all your fresh baking spices – whether you are looking for Korintje cinnamon, whole vanilla beans, Grains of Paradise, cardamom … we help your kitchen creativity soar!

For the Holiday season, VSpicery freshly blends brines, mulling spices, poultry seasoning, pumpkin spice, and apple pie spice. We want you to have the freshest possible flavors for your eating pleasures.

One last thing, we were astounded at the price in the grocery stores for cloves. VSpicery has fresh cloves priced just like all our other spices – only $4.00, and far fresher than you will find anywhere else in the bay area.

Remember, good ingredients equal great results.

 

 

MARKET UPDATE:
On a sad note, VSpicery has decided to sit out the market season this year so we will not be at the Saturday Morning Market, this was a decision made due to changes in our personal lives. We will miss the market and hope you all attend and enjoy.

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End of Summer Dishes

Heading towards the end of summer. Of course, being in Florida, it feels like summer most of the time.

Did you know that Labor Day became an official holiday to honor the contributions of American workers in 1894. That’s 123 years of cookouts and, wow, how cookouts have changed through the years. Baked beans were around during the cookouts of the 1800’s. Potato salad as we know it today didn’t make an appearance until approximately 1940, when mayonnaise replaced a French style dressing. Deviled eggs have actually been around longer than baked beans.

Most of us just open, add a few enhancements and bake the beans from the can then call it baked beans. Here’s how you can make them from scratch.

Baked Beans
Serves 10-12 as a side dish

Ingredients
1 lb dried navy or Great Northern beans
8 cups water
1/4 lb bacon (or salt pork), diced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Rinse 1 pound (about 2-1/3 cups) dried navy beans or Great Northern beans in a colander under cool running water. Be sure to sort through the beans to remove any debris. Soak the beans overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse the beans.

In a large Dutch oven combine the beans and 8 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans, reserving the liquid.

Now, it’s time to add the Flavorings! In a 2-1/2-quart casserole combine the beans with bacon, onion, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.

Cover the casserole, and bake the Beans in a preheated oven at 300°F for 2-1/2 hours or until the beans reach the desired consistency.

Baked Beans Tip: You can get a head start on baked beans by soaking them and cooking them in advance. Cover and store the cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Some cooks like their beans saucy, while some prefer them more dry. If you like them saucy, add additional reserved bean liquid during cooking. If, at the end of cooking time, the beans are not as dry as you like, continue to bake them, uncovered, until some of the liquid has evaporated. Keep in mind, though, that beans will continue to soak up the liquid after cooking.

 

Okay, that takes care of the baked beans, now on to the potato salad!

This is VSpicery’s take on potato salad using simple ingredients for great flavor. Wash, peel and chunk 5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes. Place in pan large enough to cover potatoes with an inch of water. Add 3 eggs to the potatoes so that they will cook with the potatoes. Bring water to a boil, adding 1 tbsp. salt and cook until fork tender.

While potatoes are boiling dice 2 carrots and a medium red onion. When potatoes are ready, remove eggs and drain water from potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, stir in carrots, cover and cool.

Peel and dice 2 eggs, third egg should be sliced to place on top of completed salad. Combine 1-1 ½ cup of mayo with VSpicery’s Salad Seasons to taste, set aside so flavors mingle together to make this tasty dressing.

When potatoes are cooled, fold in onion and dressing until totally covered with dressing. Place sliced eggs on top; sprinkle VSpicery’s Hungarian or Smoked Spanish Paprika for color and bit more flavor.

 

We also love deviled eggs and lots of our blends make delightful deviled eggs. Some suggestions to add to the mayo are: Shallots N’ Pepper, Salad Seasons, Greek Seasonings or even Red Hot Sting. Something as simple as Black Truffle Salt and Chervil make a lovely deviled egg. Our curries also make delicious additions to deviled eggs. Our favorite to use is Madras Curry Powder, but Ral El Hanout and Sweet Curry powder work really well too. Be unique, not traditional here!

Fruit salad
We have a delightful Strawberry Champagne Finishing Sauce which adds amazing flavor to a cut fruit salad.

If you’re grilling burgers we got your seasonings. Java-Jo Steak Seasoning, Soulful Seasons, Chophouse Kitchen, and Savory Steak Seasoning go great. Combine Chophouse Kitchen and Savory Steak Seasoning for that WOW factor! Of course, if you’re grilling steak, any of these will work perfectly as well!

Don’t forget the mustard if you serving burgers, hot dogs or grilled shrimp. We have a variety to change it up and delight your guests at any cookout.

VSpicery has all kinds of suggestions and we are always happy to share our ideas. Those of you who have stopped by the shop know we love talking recipes and how to’s. If you need a suggestion or have a question feel free to call, email or stop by the shop.

Well that’s it for now. Hope you all have a great Labor Day Weekend. Happy grilling!