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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Free Saffron Drawing!

My dear friends, I have a nice little gift for you.

::tap dancing with excitement!!::

A few weeks ago, I ordered my yearly supply of Saffron from my fav supplier. I wrote to them, asking if they be willing to donate some saffron for a contest that I wanted to hold – and they generously said, “YES!”

I’m not talking about a few wispy threads in a teeny tiny jar the size of my thumb. I’m talking about a mountain of saffron so big that you’ll giggle and squeal with delight.

Just so you know, I’m NOT getting paid to promote their stuff - I contacted them with the idea of a random drawing.

Saffron

Let’s talk about saffron for just a bit. If you aren’t familiar with how saffron is graded or how to judge good saffron from the crappy stuff – here’s a little lesson.

What is the stuff and why is it so *(&#!!&*$%% expensive?

Saffron is known as the world’s most expensive spice. It is the stigma from a Crocus flower. Each flower produces 3 saffron threads, which must be harvested delicately by hand and dried. Itakes over 13,000 threads to make one ounce!!!

My photo above is one ounce of saffron.

<–photo from Wiki

Crocus Sex 101

The top part of the stigma (above the dotted line) is the “saffron” – this is the only part of the thread that has flavor and intense color. These are the goods.

The bottom part (below the dotted line) is the shitty stuff, called the style. It has virtually no culinary value – being aromaless, tasteless and gives no color to your dish.

Some evil saffron sellers will try to package the entire thread as “saffron.”  Bastards.

So, to judge quality of saffron, you can just simply look at the color of the threads and see if you have a lot of the shitty style part attached. Of all places that I get my saffron, the most consistent quality + best prices have been with Saffron.com, which is based in San Francisco. (hey, you San Franciscan’s out there – give me your input on this company…have you purchased from them before and do you know anything about the company?)

Saffron

To use saffron, you first soak a pinch of threads in a couple tablespoons of warm water to release its flavors, color and aroma. When the recipe calls for the saffron to be added, just add the threads + water to the dish.

To enter, comment below!

 



144 Responses to “Free Saffron Drawing!”

  1. betty q. — 10/7/07 @ 2:34 am

    So sorry…I forgot to paste the recipe or the link of the Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding…(was in so much of a hurry …my family beckons…) Instead of the bread, I use cubed croissants …then I add about 1 1/2 tsp. of saffron threads which I steep in a little warm milk. This is the season for chanterelles and boletes and other wild mushrooms. If you have access to them, please use them for it makes a whole world of difference esp. the KING BOLETE. I think this is the one they call porcini…Then when you bring the baked pudding to the table, take a bow and be prepared for the …”ooohhhs and the wwhhooaassss and aaahhhhhhsssss!”

    wild-mushroom bread pudding
    Bon Apptit | December 1997

    recipe reviews (50) my notes Servings: Serves 6 as a side dish.

    subscribe to Bon Apptit
    Ingredients3 tablespoons olive oil
    6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thickly sliced
    6 ounces oyster mushrooms, thickly sliced
    6 ounces crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
    2 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, caps thickly sliced
    4 teaspoons chopped garlic
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    5 large eggs
    2 cups whipping cream
    1 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    6 cups 1-inch cubes crustless day-old French bread (about 6 ounces)

    PreparationPreheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms, garlic, basil, parsley, sage and thyme and saut until mushrooms are tender and brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
    Whisk eggs, cream, milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Add bread cubes; toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture. Transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over. Bake until pudding is brown and puffed, and set in center, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

  2. Pingback: Hairy Asian Fruit: Rambutan | Jaden's Steamy Kitchen

  3. Mike — 10/7/07 @ 11:04 am

    Jaden, I just stumbled across your website on a search for rambutan, which showed up in the grocery store the other day. Absolutely fantastic site!

    I do hope I win, so I’ll finally have no excuse not to try my hand again at St. Lucia buns!

  4. Colin Cronenberg — 10/7/07 @ 12:27 pm

    my wife loves when I make this english saffron bread. I’ve tried several recipes but like this one best.
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/English-Saffron-Bread/Detail.aspx

  5. Hi Jaden!

    Miss Mary here. No, you don’t know me. :)

    I put the name of the dish (which is just HEAVENLY delicious) under the name section – cause I *think* that is what you want?

    Anyways …. love your recipes …. and come here for those and because you make me ROFLMAO!!!

    PS – I love saffron ….. keeping my chives crossed.

  6. Sara — 10/7/07 @ 4:23 pm

    Enjoy the Moroccan Spiced Red Lentil Soup, if you make it….

  7. The Cooking Ninja — 10/7/07 @ 6:31 pm

    oops! I entered my name instead of the dish. :( Dumb dumb dumb

    Just tried out this Moghlai Murgh recipe the other day and it was so delicious – can smell and taste the saffron flavour.

    Me me me … I would love to do more cooking with saffron.

  8. Patti Anastasia — 10/7/07 @ 9:58 pm

    I love saffron. It was hard to pick a favorite.

  9. Dustin Coates — 10/8/07 @ 1:31 am

    A lot of good recipes. I entered 91.

  10. threemilechild — 10/8/07 @ 1:50 am

    I had scallops in saffron sauce at this Peruvian restaurant in Delaware. Thanks for reminding me I wanted to find a recipe. I don’t know how close this one comes, but seems similar.

  11. Baxie — 10/8/07 @ 2:05 am

    Love – your site and recipies. They’re easy, tasty and beautiful! Please enter me and pick me as I love saffron and cook with it often.

  12. argus lou — 10/8/07 @ 10:50 am

    I’m sorry, Mrs Steamy, pretty puh-lease. Methinks I got your instructions mixed up and instead of the name of the dish ‘Easy Paella’, my blogname appeared next to the number. And it’s not my URL; it’s where I found a nice recipe using saffron that I’d love to cook. Oh, dear.

  13. Food Hunter — 10/8/07 @ 11:31 am

    Gnocchi Sardi with Asparagus and Saffron

    I saw this recipe on another site and would love to try it if I had some saffron. This is a great idea. Thanks for thinking of it.

  14. Grace Chiu — 10/8/07 @ 12:01 pm

    I want to be entered in the contest! I love this souffle recipe, crab meat, cheese, saffron, WHAT CAN BE BETTER?!

  15. Monkee — 10/8/07 @ 1:46 pm

    Saffron Mayonnaise is so goood!! so simple, so easy and you can basically eat it w/anything (bread, potatoes, chicken shawarma…yah, and it was surprisingly goood :))

  16. Bill Grebner — 10/8/07 @ 5:42 pm

    I’m just mad about saffron, but no one actually calls me Mellow Yellow.

  17. Hoa Chau — 10/8/07 @ 5:45 pm

    Do we suppose to enter our name or the name of the dish ? :D I put my name . If that way was wrong , sorry . :)

    Panna cotta is something that (most of) everyone loves and with a twist of saffron , I think it would be “erotically” delicious . However, I couldn’t put my hands on this expensive spice , so I used saigon cinnamon & rum instead and my family loved it . :)

    http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.com/2006/05/spice-is-right-2-sweet-or-savoury.html

  18. Blake — 10/8/07 @ 7:08 pm

    There is a special place in my heart for fish soup, thus the orange saffron seafood stew, which you notice is tailor made for a lazy person who just happens to have some delicious shrimp (er, “prawns”) and saffron on hand, which is why I luurrrve it. Thought I also like to add a bit of heat … it gives you an excuse to chow down on extra bread.

  19. Laurie Espinosa — 10/8/07 @ 7:52 pm

    Several people submitted my favorite saffron dishes, so I thought I would submit from the Top Chef Season 2 contest. Fideos with Clams and Saffron. Looks super yummy! Good quality saffron is the only way to get the flavor and looks for a truly “Top Chef” dish.

  20. Nicole — 10/8/07 @ 8:50 pm

    Love the idea of this contest. Can’t wait to look through what others have suggested.

    My favorite recipe with safron (at the moment) is Gabanzos con Espinacas. The most wonderful dish of chickpeas with a savory (and slightly sweet) broth with safron and spinach. Not what I think of as a “classic” use of saffron but just wonderful. I friend found the recipe after we received an over abundant supply of spinach from our CSA. Now I go out seeking spinach to have an excuse to make it. The second time I also added a pinch of mild Pimenton de la Vera, a smoked paprika, which made the broth even better.

  21. Mona — 10/9/07 @ 12:06 am

    Hi Jaden, Saffron’s really one of the best spices used in food preperation ! And nice idea for a collection of best saffron dishes :-) Hats off :-) Well, i’ve just entered the recipe i like the most just now. See ya cooking princess :-)

  22. Ed L. — 10/9/07 @ 2:34 am

    What a great idea for a contest! I often just put a half teaspoon of saffron in a small bowl of hot water, let it steep for a couple of moments, and throw the whole thing into a pot of rice. I’ll add shiitake mushrooms from time to time if I want another flavor dimension.

  23. KC — 10/9/07 @ 2:03 pm

    This is my all time favorite Saffron recipe

    Veal Scaloppini with Saffron
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_30487,00.html

    You can also substitute chicken for the veal if you have baby cow issues.

    P.S. I love your site, I only came out of lurking because the call of free saffron was too great, but I do love your site.

  24. Turkish Style Chicken — 10/9/07 @ 9:11 pm

    Wow, I just found you this week. This is an amazing website. I have a German girlfriend who’d love to share some saffron with me. She says it’s very expensive there. We’ve sent some to her mom (who still live in Germany). Thanks for the chance :)

  25. Robin — 10/10/07 @ 12:03 am

    Yes, I can follow directions, lol.

    I made the noodle crack yesterday; woo hoo was that everything you promised it would be and more!

    Love the blog.

  26. betty q. — 10/10/07 @ 1:04 pm

    My family just adores this Hainan Chicken dish. So I figured this dish couldn’t be that hard to dulplicate at home.This is comfort food for my 3 growing boys (my 43 year old husband, 17 and 15 year old sons…hahaha). It’s simple but tastes sublime with the added saffron in the rice.

    For 4 generous servings:
    4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
    6-8 cups of rich chicken stock
    3 inch knob of ginger, squashed with back of cleaver
    half a bunch of green onion, cut in half

    Put stock in big pot and add the green onion and the squashed ginger. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and turn off the heat. Cover pot and let the chicken cool in the broth ( i cook this in the morning so it’ll be ready by supper time).

    For the rice:
    4 cups of jasmine scented rice, washed
    2 large pinches of saffron steeped in a little broth
    2 tablespoons of ginger-onion sauce (recipe below)
    enough broth to cover rice (I use the method my mom taught me…liquid should come up to the FIRST LINE of the MIDDLE FINGER!). Put everything in rice cooker.

    Dipping sauces:
    1 big bunch green onion, chopped
    3 inch big knob ginger, finely minced
    1 cup of oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    Heat oil to SMOKING HOT!. Place ginger and onion in bowl. Slowly pour the hot oil over the onion mixture. DO THIS IN THE SINK just in case it splatters.

    Chili dip
    2 tablespoons of garlic chili sauce (bought from Asian markets)
    1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    sugar to taste

    5-spice dip:
    1/2 tsp. 5-spice powder
    1 tsp. salt
    pinch white pepper
    1 tablespoon oil from the ginger-onion sauce

    When everything is ready, put the rice in a medium size individual bowls, top with sliced ginger chicken brushed with a thin film of sesame oil. Put the dipping sauces in really small saucers for each person.

    I am getting hungry…better start making this for supper tonight!

  27. Dan — 10/10/07 @ 2:05 pm

    Alright. Mine’s been added. Sorry for screwing up the directions. I suppose you could just refer to mine as Basmati rice with almonds and saffron. But, I tend to call it “Dan.” hahaha…

  28. Christine — 10/10/07 @ 2:45 pm

    Oh please add me to the contest…how I love saffron. And excellent tip about saffron.com…even if I don’t win, I’ll definitely have to buy their stuff. Woot!

  29. Julie — 10/10/07 @ 7:41 pm

    I linked to a soup recipe that is supposed to have saffron in it, but the one time I’ve made it, I had no saffron (and also was not exactly a foodblogger yet, hence the lack of photos). Now I have a teeny tiny bottle of saffron which I have used exactly once to make risotto milanese for osso buco. It’s so expensive that I have been afraid to use it for anything else, even though I’d like to. Save me from becoming a saffron-hoarding miser, please!

  30. Melinda Barrable — 10/11/07 @ 8:44 am

    I found your site in Wednesday’s St. Petersburg Times “The Dish” . I haven’t been able to stop reading it….and can’t wait to try the recipes.

  31. Norman — 10/11/07 @ 9:02 am

    Almost missed this. I want to be entered in the contest so I can make Lamb Curry w/ Bananas and Saffron

  32. Melinda — 10/11/07 @ 9:24 am

    Oops…when I left my comment earlier I forgot to say I’d like to be added to the contest.

  33. Suganya — 10/11/07 @ 3:32 pm

    Saffron Rice is my favourite saffron dish. One, it easy; two, it goes well with any vegetable without overpowering the palette. Saffron rice is my choice :).

    http://tastypalettes.blogspot.com/2007/10/saffron-rice-and-punjabi-okra.html

  34. Jonathan Johnson — 10/11/07 @ 4:16 pm

    *anticipation builds*

    Now, is that 4:00 what time zone? :)

  35. SteamyKitchen — 10/11/07 @ 5:19 pm

    Posting winner……

    after the commercial break

    (i.e. dinner)

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  39. Thao Pham — 11/1/07 @ 2:48 pm

    Saffron are soooo expensive that I don’t cook much with them. I hope I got selected from this recipe called “Potato Saffron Omelet.”

    My frist time viewing your webiste and boy I sure do love your recipe and your blog!

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  43. Kitt — 11/23/08 @ 9:30 pm

    Shucks. All the Mr. Linky links are gone. I wanted to find the Swedish saffron bread Hanne posted about.

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