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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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30 Days of Flavor: 03/28/11 – Vanilla

vanillabean

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.

Vanilla is used for many dishes and desserts around the world, and most of us have experienced it’s delicate, sultry, and sweet fragrance and flavor. Used in many products outside of the kitchen as perfume, body care, air fresheners and candles, this fragrant fruit of the Vanilla Orchid has found a way to integrate into our lives and senses. The three main culinary preparations of vanilla are always available at VSpicery, as whole vanilla beans, vanilla extract, or ground vanilla beans.

When you’re looking for whole vanilla beans for a recipe, you don’t want to use dry, brittle beans that have a limited amount of seeds to scrape. You need grade A, plump, and pliable vanilla beans. VSpicery carries the finest quality gourmet vanilla beans that we can find. They are usually 7 – 10 inches in length, with a high vanillin content that gives big vanilla flavor. A general equivalence ratio for vanilla from fresh, whole bean is one inch equals one tsp of extract, equals 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of ground vanilla bean.

VSpicery also has ground vanilla bean available by the ounce. This is a flavorful and convenient way to use vanilla for any baked good, or other culinary application that calls for an extract or whole bean. Fresh vanilla beans are finely ground to easily incorporate in any dish, but this will be twice as strong as an extract, so don’t go overboard. Ground vanilla beans also give a great visual component to your desserts, especially ice cream, custards, and cakes.

VanillaGroundCloseupWe spent almost a year looking for extracts, since the ones available at the grocery store seem to be alcohol with a touch of flavor, the search was on! We finally found the best extracts available from a great company based out of Baltimore, Maryland, and every flavor we’ve gotten from there has been fantastic. Our most popular extract is, of course, vanilla extract. It is created with the finest essential oils and natural flavor from grade A vanilla beans, with very little alcohol by volume, is bake and freeze-proof giving it staying power in your foods, and is stronger than most you will find in other stores. VSpicery’s other extract flavors vary a little depending on the season, but we can always order any flavor you need. We currently carry these flavors: Vanilla, Bourbon, Brandy, Rum, Almond, Cardamom, Blueberry, and Black Walnut extracts. We don’t currently list these products on our website, however, you can always email or call in with an order for them and we can ship them right out to you.