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Flavors of Fall

Greetings from VSpicery! It has been a year like no other, and we plan to end it by packing the next couple of months full of flavor with delicious meals. We hope you are looking forward to a special holiday season, even though it might be from a distance. As you make your holiday cooking plans, be sure to include seasonings from VSpicery to make your meals sparkle.

We have the freshest and finest in lovely fall flavors – nutmeg (ground and whole), four types of cinnamon, ginger (ground and crystalized), cloves (ground and whole), allspice (ground and whole), and much more. We have blended the first round of this season’s pumpkin pie and apple pie spices, and can’t wait to share them with you. The shop smells wonderful at this time of year!

Our other holiday selections include

Pumpkin Pie Spice
This blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom is the perfect mix for pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice lattes. Add some Pumpkin Pie Spice and maple flakes to oatmeal for a delicious breakfast. We also like to use it along with a little honey for sweetness to make spiced butter for baked sweet potatoes, pumpkin muffins, cinnamon raisin bread, dinner rolls, roasted butternut squash, or spiced cornbread. The 1 oz quantity in the jar is a nice size to get you through all your holiday baking, lattes, and more.

Apple Pie Spice
Our blend is made of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom. It makes the most delicious apple pie or apple pie spiced coffee cake you have ever tasted! Add it to poached, baked or sauteed apples. Take fall themed cocktails to the next level with a bit of Apple Pie Spice on the rim, try it with Caramel Apple Martinis or Spiced Apple Margaritas. The 1 oz quantity in the jar is a nice size to get you through all your holiday baking and happy hours.

Poultry Seasoning
Our freshly blended Poultry Seasoning is a wonderful mix of Sage, Savory, Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Pepper, Lemon, Dill and Coriander. It works really well with chicken, turkey, and stuffing mixes. Add a pinch to chicken soup, meatloaf, cornbread or chicken pot pies. Our 1 oz. quantity in the jar is a perfect amount to get you through the holiday season and flavor your roasted poultry dishes.

Traditional or Herbal Turkey Brines
Brining a holiday bird is a great way to get a juicy turkey with a full, deep flavor every time. If you struggle with a “too dry” turkey, try brining it this year. Our Traditional Turkey Brine is a blend of salt, turbinado sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and juniper. Our Herbal Turkey Brine is nice blend of Salt, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Savory, Pepper and Fennel. Make sure you plan ahead, since you will need to brine your turkey for a minimum of 10-12 hours. Full directions are provided on the back of the brine packaging.

Maple Flakes
Maple Flakes are exactly what they sound like, dehydrated Maple Syrup. We had a lot of fun finding new ways to use these tasty bits of goodness. We even used them in a salad dressing for one of our Fall Cooking Classes, click here is the salad recipe. Maple Flakes are the perfect pairing to many fall dishes, and simply divine on baked sweet potatoes and winter squash. They really amp up the maple flavor in anything they are added to, including salad dressings, salmon, pancake batter, smoothies. Rev up the maple flavor in a bowl of oatmeal by adding them before cooking. You can also try using them to rim a glass for an Old Fashioned, or Fall inspired Appletini.

Herbal Crust Seasoning
Herbal Crust is our go-to for roast turkey, and makes the best gravy from the tasty pan drippings. It also add a balanced zesty flavor to beef roasts, chicken and venison. Cumin, coriander, fennel, salt, garlic and pepper make for a fine and unique dining experience. Herbal Crust Seasoning makes a really fantastic turkey, and if you like making gravy along with it, you will thoroughly enjoy the gravy this blend makes. You may forget the turkey, and want to just drink the gravy! Check out Val’s Thanksgiving Story for more details and a finger licking gravy story.

Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard
This fabulously flavored mustard is one of our all-time favorites. It has a nice tangy balance from the champagne that compliments the savory roasted garlic infusion and strong mustard flavor. It works great for sandwiches, vinaigrettes, marinades, or use as a basting/grilling sauce. Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard is perfect for ham or turkey sandwiches as you use up your holiday leftovers.

Sweet Singing Season
We would cook this just to get the aroma circulating around the house! Great on sautéed chicken breast, baked ham, sauteed bananas, baked salmon, and wonderful in chicken salad. Yes, you heard right, chicken salad and we have a simple recipe for you to try! Sweet Singing is a blend of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, turbinado sugar, and salt that make this seasoning a delightful change of pace. Our recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Wedges using Sweet Singing is one you should try.

And don’t forget the hostess and holiday gifts this season! We offer holiday spice and rub bundles as well as our beautiful, customized gift baskets. Call us for a quote for any special requests and custom gifts. We are also adding some new holiday packages that will be available next week.

Thanks so much for being a loyal VSpicery customer, and if you are new here, Welcome! A reminder, we are still offering curbside only service at our shop for the safety of all but we are more than happy to consult over the phone for any flavor needs and recipe ideas. We look forward to having you back in our shop as soon as it is safe to do so.

Stay well and cook deliciously!

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October, October, October!

October is finally here. Cooler weather, heartier meals, warm drinks and a little trick or treating are some things we look forward to this time of year.

Our big announcement is that VSpicery will be returning to the Saturday Morning Farmers’ Market in downtown St. Petersburg. Our original start date was October 19th, but tropical storm Nestor decided otherwise. We’ll update you as to when our start date is rescheduled. It will be soon! We are really looking forward to reconnecting with our customers in St Pete, and meeting a bunch of new customers.

VSpicery will be taking only our culinary blends to the market, but any of our other lovely products can be ordered and picked up at our market booth.

October Recipes Ideas

For Fall tailgating occasions and in anticipation of Holiday entertaining, we have been playing around with meatball recipes and have a few for you to try.

Meatballs Italiano
1 lb Ground beef
1-2 tbs VSpicery’s Ammoyo seasoning
¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup bread crumbs*
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients, form into 1” diameter balls, place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done. Serve with a simple tomato dipping sauce

Savory Thai Meatballs
1 lb Ground Beef
1-2 tbs VSpicery’s Java Jo Steak Seasoning
¼ cup bread crumbs*
1 tsp Fish Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients, form into 1” diameter balls, place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done.

Thai sweet chili dipping sauce
1 cup plus 2 tbs. water, divided
2 tbs cornstarch
3 medium cloves garlic minced
2 tbs Crushed Red pepper
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Seed Oil

Whisk together 2 tbs of water and cornstarch, set aside. In a medium sauce pan combine remaining ingredients and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture to re-combine and whisk into simmering sauce. Cool until thickened, remove from heat and let cook. Serve with or pour over meatballs.

Americano Meatballs

1 lb Ground Turkey
1-2 tbs VSpicery’s Herbal Crust Seasoning
¼ cup bread crumbs*
1 tbs Mayo
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients, form into 1” diameter balls, place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done.

*For a GF version, add ¼ cup cooked Quinoa instead of bread crumbs.

New product alert!

Moo Char Gusto – Treat meat with some char before it hits the grill. This is more than just a savory smoky treat with a hint of sweet. Activated charcoal gives color, and helps detoxify your system. Wonderful on beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. Flavors caramelize and intensify when grilled, making your tongue tingle with delight.

We’ll leave you with one last creative and delicious dinner idea.

Asian Marinated Flank Steak
1 lb lean beef steak
2 tbs VSpicery’s Asian Xiang Liao
1 tbs Tamari
1 tsp sliced fresh Ginger

The day or morning before you want to serve this dish, drizzle olive oil over beef, rub both sides equally with Xiang Liao and place in a casserole dish. Add Tamari and ginger turning to coat both sides. Let marinate.

Before serving, simply remove from marinade and pan sear in cast iron skillet. Slice thin and serve with veggies or rice.

That’s our short and simple update. Let us know if you try any of these recipes, we would love to hear your feedback. Also, please leave a review on our site for any products that stand out for you. Until next time, we wish you happy cooking and flavorful meals.

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Class is in Session

Cooking class can be so much fun! Pretty sure we have just as much fun, if not more, than our students. Classes at VSpicery are all about demonstrating how to create maximum flavor with minimum effort. We love to answer questions about cooking techniques, and regularly help our students and customers perfect everyday dishes that wow the diners around their family tables.

In our November cooking class, we had some tasty alternatives on the menu for holiday dishes, and the results were delicious. We began with a simple and flavorful salad that pairs beautifully with fall and winter menus. To make the salad we added granny smith apple chunks, sliced red onion, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and toasted coarsely chopped pecans to a bed of fresh romaine and arugula lettuce. The sharpness of the cheddar cheese nicely balances the tart apple flavor and nutty toasted pecans, making this salad a serious taste bud teaser.

Next, we made our maple orange dressing using our Maple Flakes, maple syrup, honey, Himalayan Pink Salt, Green Peppercorns, Apple Balsamic Vinegar and Seraphino Greek Organic Olive Oil. We developed this dressing for our previous salad class, and it has quickly become one of our favorites! Our dried maple flakes are key to giving this dressing a delightful maple kick. The orange juice brightens the dressing and balances the acidity of the vinegar really well. Once the ingredients are mixed together well, and emulsified with olive oil, it’s ready for serving.

Our class moved right along to the main course with Herbal Crust Turkey Thighs. VSpicery’s Herbal Crust Seasoning was developed specifically for roasted meats, including game meats like venison. This blend is perfect for your holiday bird, and the pan drippings make the best gravy we have ever made. We normally roast a whole turkey for our Thanksgiving meal, but using turkey thighs is just as tasty. Turkey thighs take less time to cook, are really flavorful and no carving is needed. All you need to do is lightly coat with olive oil (or any oil of your choice), add Herbal Crust Seasoning, and bake. We tend to prefer using bone-in, skin-on thighs, since roasting with the bone in gives much better flavor and the skin keeps the meat moist throughout the roasting process. After the turkey thighs were cooked, we took the bone out, and sliced each thigh into 3 nice sized chunks. You can serve it with or without the skin.

We rounded out the meal with some yummy side dishes that are super easy to make, healthy to eat, and diet friendly. If you haven’t tried Delicata Squash yet, you really should! Delicata Squash is low in calories, and has a thicker consistency than other squash varieties. This is the perfect alternative to high carb sides like mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. All you need to do is roast the squash in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast cut side down. Once cooked, scoop out the meat of the squash into a bowl and mash it up with our new blend, Sunny Soiree, some butter and a tiny splash of heavy cream, then season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add a little goat cheese, if you want a creamy tang of flavor, but it’s entirely optional. This simple dish will quickly become a go to side for any meal.

For the final two sides, we made steamed green beans and roasted carrots. This may sound uninspired, but as usual, VSpicery takes the bland and unexciting to flavor heights that will make you crave these healthy veggies regularly.

After steaming the green beans, we made a simple warm vinaigrette for them. We used our Champagne Pear Vinegar, Yellow Mustard Powder, Shallots, Honey and Himalayan Pink salt. We poured the vinegar into a sauté pan on medium heat, and added the rest of the ingredients as it warmed up. When vinegar mix is just coming to a boil, remove the pan from heat, then pour the mixture over green beans just prior to serving.

The last side dish we made was Spiced Roasted Carrots. We started by quartering the whole carrot sticks, then tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme. While the carrots were roasting, we softened some butter and stirred in cumin, coriander, turmeric, and aleppo pepper. Then, we tossed the roasted carrots in the spiced butter and transferred them to a serving platter. You can use cumin and coriander ground powder, but you get a deeper nuttier flavor if you lightly toast the whole seeds, then grind them down before adding to the butter mix. This carrot side dish also pairs really well with roasted meats, baked salmon and pork.

Last, but definitely not least, is the gravy! As mentioned above, the pan drippings from roasting the turkey with Herbal Crust Seasoning is what makes this so incredibly good. Just make gravy as you usually would by adding the pan drippings to a sauté pan over medium heat. Stir constantly, while thickening it with flour to your desired consistency. For this class, we used a gluten free flour to accommodate our student’s dietary restrictions, and it turned out great! We discovered how tasty this gravy is a few years ago while cooking a Thanksgiving feast for a catering client, and now we look forward to it every year. If you want to read more about it, check out our original Tasty Gravy blog post.

That’s it for this class menu! This meal can be ready in a fraction of the time that it normally takes to fill up your holiday table, and will work for just about any diet. Treat your family to a healthy, quick and incredibly delicious holiday meal this year. VSpicery is here to help you with all of your flavor needs. Keep an eye out for our next class offering! We try to schedule at least one public class a month. You can also book your own private demonstration. We just need 6 or more to put your group on our kitchen calendar. We can create a menu for your private class, or you can choose. Call us at the shop 813-870-1133 for more info.