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Fall is in Season

Well here in Florida it’s more of a wish than a fact. Floridians hope for a cool down with highs in the low 80s or high 70s, and that’s pretty much how fall goes here. Even the illusion of fall makes us want those flavors! The lower temperatures and declining downpours make us more apt to fire up our grills in the evenings.

New Delicious Additions

Summer is a creative time for us, and we have been working hard on new spice blends that turned out to be pretty amazing.

Our first creation from the summer is Fin & Feather Schmacker. Not only did we have lots of fun naming this blend, but the flavor combination is delicious on fish, chicken, roasted potatoes, and veggies. About every couple of weeks, my taste buds light up wanting this spice blend, and a round of tasty chicken wings are just the thing to soothe my craving. Try this blend on your next roasted chicken or turkey for a different spin on your common roast. We love Fin & Feather Schmacker on mild white fish as well.

Our next creation is called Sunny Soiree. This is a delightful combination of herbs, shallots, with a hint of sea salt. Originally blended with vegetables in mind, but we are happy to say that this combination works really well on many dishes. We have a super easy and tasty recipe below with this new blend on cauliflower, and it is a definite gotta have, gotta try! Sunny Soiree is incredible on fish, seafood, chicken and turkey, or mix in with pasta or rice dishes.

Maple Flakes are also new to our shop. This is exactly what it sounds like, dehydrated Maple Syrup. What can you do with this? Well … salad dressings, salmon, pancake batter, smoothies, rim a glass for an Old Fashioned, and on and on. We have had a lot of fun finding new way to use maple flakes, and it is the perfect pairing to many fall dishes.

Anyone for Squash?

Fall is a great time to enjoy squash, whether butternut, acorn, or spaghetti, they are delicious and flexible. We also can highly recommend a squash called delicata. Delicata is delicious just roasted with salt and pepper, but our house blended curries such as Berbere, Ras El Hanout or Garam Masala would also be an outstanding addition. For those who don’t like curry, our Sweet Singing Seasons would work very nicely as a substitute.

For the Locals

Tune up for the holidays and join us on November 4th from 12 – 3 pm when our professional knife sharpener, Mark, will set up to get your knives sharpened up for the cooking season. There is nothing worse than a dull knife in the kitchen. Mark will be happy to quote the cost to sharpen all your knives while you wait or VSpicery will hold them for pick up at your convenience.

While Mark is busy with your knives, VSpicery will be working in the kitchen. We will have a cooking demonstration of holiday flavors, traditional and some original tastes. Class starts at 1:00 and is $25.00 per person with a tasting included.

To reserve your spot for sharpening or our cooking class please call 813-870-1133 by October 26th or register and pay online. Seating for the cooking class is limited.

Because We Like To Share

Roasted Cauliflower
This is a wonderful side dish that is perfect for fish, chicken, turkey or beef. The bright herbal notes of our Sunny Soiree are brilliantly balanced by the crunchy savory bites of Pecorino Romano cheese. This combo makes it difficult to stop eating because it’s so dang delicious!

1 head of cauliflower, stems removed
3 tbs. Olive Oil or more
Pecorino Romano cheese
Sunny Soiree

Place cauliflower in a microwave proof bowl with ¼ cup of water, cover and microwave for 7 minutes. Remove from microwave, drain, cool and dry.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick spray, and place cauliflower on baking sheet drizzle well with olive oil. Season nicely with Sunny Soiree, top with Pecorino Romano.

Roast in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, check after 20 minutes.

Well that’s all for now. Remember, if you would like to attend our event on November 4th, please go ahead and register. Until then have a creative time with your food.

Food Should Be Delicious!

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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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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!

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Pumpkin Chicken Curry

Seminole Pumpkin Chicken Curry

We like to grow lots of different veggies in our garden, and recently harvested some Seminole pumpkins. We thought about making soup or roasted pumpkin for a side dish, but really wanted something different. That’s when Val came up with this scrumptious curry dish. We think you will love just as much as we did! If you don’t have pumpkins available, use butternut or acorn squash. This recipe is also delicious to make without the chicken and bacon for a great vegan curry.

 

Roasted Pumpkin
Ingredients

1 Seminole Pumpkin
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt

Directions

Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise, and season each cut side of the pumpkin halves with the olive oil and salt. Place seasoned pumpkin, cut side down, on foil lined baking pan. Roast in 350 degree oven 30 – 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

 

Curry
Ingredients

1 Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
3 strips of Bacon, cut into pieces
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can Coconut Cream
1 cup Water
1 cube Vegetable or Chicken Bouillon
1 – 2 tbsp VSpicery’s Madras Curry
1 roasted or store brought chicken, shredded (leftover chicken works fine too)

Directions

Render bacon and cook until crispy. Add onion and bell pepper, season with a bit of salt and saute until tender. Add tomatoes and cook until softened.

Add water and bouillon, bring to boil crushing bouillon until dissolved. Lower heat and add coconut cream and curry stir well to combine.

Skin pumpkin and cut into chunks, then add to sauce along with the shredded chicken. Simmer on low heat, until all ingredients are fully heated. Serve with brown rice.

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30 Days of Flavor: 03/26/11 – Indian Curries

We will be discussing flavors this month in our “30 Days of Flavor” blog series. Every day this month, VSpicery will select a spice, seasoning, salt, etc., as the flavor of the day, giving you it’s history, flavor profile, and uses. We hope you enjoy these flavors and their unique stories.

When you hear the word “Curry” it may instantly make you think of one dish you had in the past or a whole array of culinary delights. Curry is a broad category of spices in which the ingredients vary from each culture. Most widely known from Asian or Indian cuisine, curry is enormously popular in British, Japanese, Jamaican and Thai cuisines as well, and is gaining fans quickly in the US. The flavors vary according to the local palate, available spices, and food being spiced, but most curry powders have three common ingredients, turmeric, coriander, and cumin, then it branches out from there adding aromatic spices, chilies, and other ingredients to get the desired flavor. VSpicery hand mixes our own recipes every week for five different curries, and we will soon be expanding our variety, however we currently carry Garam Masala, Madras, Sweet, Tandoori, and Vindaloo Curry powders.

Curry_GarahmGaram Masala Curry is our most aromatic variety with very little heat, and lots of flavor. Mixed from peppercorns, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, and coriander, this blend makes your entire house fill with wonderful aroma and your taste buds dance with joy. Wonderful with chicken, fish, pork, and in rice dishes. Try this curry blend on salmon, and drizzle honey on the fillets for the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking, or sauté chicken coated with Garam Masala in butter for a delicious meal.

The Madras Curry we make is a mild, yellow curry, we can also add some heat for your desired heat level, just specify when you order. Madras is blended from turmeric, anise, ginger, tamarind, and other spices, with no chemicals or preservatives. Great for chicken, fish, vegetables, and pork. Madras also makes a nice addition to soups and stews for a different flavor profile from your normal fare.

Curry_SweetSweet Curry is a great place to start for newbies to the curry world. This is a mild blend that gives nice, richly balanced curry flavor without overpowering your palate, and is the equivalent to “Curry Powder” you find in the grocery store, although much fresher, making it very flavorful. There are many recipes that don’t specify what kind of curry powder, so it’s always a safe bet to use our Sweet Curry Powder for those recipes. Excellent with fish, chicken, rice and veggies.

Tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven widely used in the Middle East and India for a particular style of cooking and Tandoori is used to describe dishes cooked in a Tandor, the most popular being Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Tikka. Our Tandoori Curry Powder is a red curry with a medium heat level, and we can make it hotter for you if desired. This blend is made from garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, and other spices to give you a nice spicy curry for chicken and vegetables.

Vindaloo Curry Powder is our hottest blend, very similar to the Vindaloo that is popular in India, Germany, England, and the Middle East, which originated in the Goa region of India. Made from cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, fenugreek, cayenne and other spices, that really give your food a nice spicy kick. Great with chicken, lamb, pork, and vegetables (especially potatoes).