Welcome to Steamy Kitchen!

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.


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?)


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. SteamyKitchen — 10/2/07 @ 2:24 pm

    Princess Jaden, you awe me with your grace, blind me with your beauty and inspire me with your angelic aura of innocence.

  2. AJR — 10/2/07 @ 3:34 pm

    Ok, so the Onion and Saffron-Roasted Lamb looks really simple. And it is. But it is also oh-so-good. I recommend garnishing with scallions and cilantro but I’d leave out the mint unless you’re a huge fan of it. It tastes a little bit off with the onion.

    Oh, and you blind me with your grace, inspire me with your beauty, and awe me with…oh, forget it. But I do like the steamy kitchen.

  3. Lilie — 10/2/07 @ 3:44 pm

    Sorry I don’t have any Saffron receipes. Cool contest though!! :)

  4. Evelyn — 10/2/07 @ 3:45 pm

    LOVE Paella! Actually the only dish I have ever made using Saffron. This is the recipe that I use when I make the dish.

  5. Jessica — 10/2/07 @ 3:49 pm

    *Sorry I messed up my link above – I read the wrong directions first, then read the right ones *after* I’d already done it!

    I love to order Lamb Korma at Indian restaurants, and have been wanting to try my hand at this recipe: http://www.thespicehouse.com/recipes/lamb-korma-recipe
    but $12 for a tiny bottle of saffron just seems over the top. Thank you for holding this contest, and for explaing what the heck saffron is. I love that about your posts – they are very informatvie but written with a sassy attitude (not to mention mouthwatering photos!)

  6. veron — 10/2/07 @ 3:51 pm

    Okay, I should have read your instructions clearly. I didn’t mean to double-enter the challenge with the same dish. Can you fix it, thanks!
    Oh Jaden you are indeed the Goddess of all things yummy!

  7. Jonathan Johnson — 10/2/07 @ 3:58 pm

    I subscribed back with all the flurry around the steak article (and we tried it, turned out great). I submitted recipe #7, and would love to be entered in this contest.

    A programmer by day, I love getting into the kitchen and trying out new recipes. I honestly haven’t cooked with Saffron yet, but I’ve been getting my wallet ready to do so one of these days.

    Excellent site, and you have a great writing style that keeps me reading each article all the way through.

  8. bee — 10/2/07 @ 3:59 pm

    queen jaden,
    thanks for picking my fav spice. the best recipe that brings out the essence of saffron is one by anita of A Mad Tea Party.


    she’s from kashmir and you’d better believe that the best saffron in the universe comes from her enck of the woods. the stuff you’re getting from the folks in SF had better be from there.

    we have a great saffrony dessert at our blog too,
    but believe me the one i recommend screams ‘essence of saffron’.

    deep bow,


  9. bee — 10/2/07 @ 4:04 pm

    and here, empress jaden, is another favourite i enter for your event.

    it’s a rice dish.

  10. leanne — 10/2/07 @ 4:18 pm

    Okay, I know Mark Bittman’s tomato paella has gone around the blog-world multiple times, but it really is good and pretty easy, too. I love it because it doesn’t require a special shopping trip for the chorizo and seafood. Mmm… saffron rice…

    Great, first you get me hooked on noodle crack, now I’m going to be addicted to all things saffron. Are you happy now?

  11. Mike Tidmus — 10/2/07 @ 4:45 pm

    Wow! Free saffron. I usually stop here for cool cooking ideas and recipes. Keep up the fabulous work!

  12. Sorry, no precious princess comment here…
    Only that you make me laugh my brains out everytime I read a new post of yours, people around you must cherish their time spent with you.
    If everyone was as good of a blogger as you, the world wouldn’t need antidepressant anymore.

  13. Melissa Reynolds — 10/2/07 @ 5:04 pm

    I’m hooked on your blog. Not only do you make me laugh out loud (which I’m glad I’m not wearing dentures, b/c I’d spit them across the room with laughing fits) but you inspire me to become a better cook.

  14. Richa — 10/2/07 @ 5:05 pm

    Princess Jaden, you awe me with your grace, blind me with your beauty and inspire me with your angelic aura of innocence.
    Hope i got that right, don’t want to be disqualified for a spelling error……… ;)

  15. Hanne — 10/2/07 @ 5:08 pm

    I’d do almost anything for free saffron. One of my favorite saffron things is Swedish Christmas bread like the example I linked to above. I love the colour of the dough, and I love how usually the saffron doesn’t disappear completely so that you still see some specks of red in the finished product. Oh, and it’s delicious.

  16. Richa — 10/2/07 @ 5:09 pm

    oh! just to clarify, saffron is called ‘kesar’ in Hindi, an Indian language!

  17. Jim d'Esterhazy — 10/2/07 @ 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the contest – I’d love to win some free saffron, it’s one of my favorite spices.

    Here’s a recipe that we enjoy. I don’t know where it originated, but I’d gladly give them credit, it’s a keeper. If saffron was less expensive, we enjoy it more often.

    The risotto is a basic recipe, however the saffron makes it sublime. You can finesse the seasoning recipe to your own taste, but stay within reasonable limits. We tend to cook by feel and taste, unless we’re baking bread or pastry.

    Pancetta wrapped Scallops served over Saffron Risotto

    For the Risotto:
    5 oz butter
    1 large yellow onion, cut into p inch dice
    salt TT
    1 p cup Arborio Rice
    3 fl oz white wine
    3 tsp saffron threads
    6 cups chicken stock
    4 tbsp grated parmigiano

    Heat 3 oz of butter in a 12 to 14 inch skillet on medium heat until melted. Once butter is melted, add yellow onion and pinch of salt. Continue to cook over medium heat (sweating the onion) for 15- 20 minutes or until mixture is blonde in color, not brown. When onions are cooked, add rice. Cook over medium heat for approximately 1 minute. Add white wine and saffron to rice and continue to cook over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes. Meanwhile, bring chicken stock to a boil. Using a medium ladle, add chicken stock to risotto one ladle per time and simmer until it is absorbed. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon. Make sure that liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle of stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Add remaining butter (2oz) and parmigiano and continue to cook over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes. Serves 4

    For the Scallops:
    1 tbsp lemon zest
    1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
    1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
    1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
    1 tsp butter, finely chopped
    salt and pepper TT
    12 large sea scallops
    24 slices pancetta
    2 tbsp olive oil
    6 tbsp butter
    1 fl oz lemon juice

    Preheat oven to 450.

    Combine lemon zest, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and coat each scallop. Wrap pancetta around the perimeter of each seasoned scallop. Fasten with oven-safe skewer. Drizzle oil onto baking sheet and position scallops on top, scallop side down. Place bit of butter atop each scallop and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until bacon is crispy. Drizzle lemon juice over each scallop Arrange scallops over risotto and garnish with fresh herbs of choice.

  18. meeso — 10/2/07 @ 5:22 pm

    Really great idea, Jaden!

  19. robbie — 10/2/07 @ 5:30 pm

    Mmm.. rice. Yummy delicious rice.

  20. Lindsay — 10/2/07 @ 5:39 pm

    O lovely and delectable Empress Jaden…my RSS thrums with pleasure whene’er you post anew. Please endow my impoverished and hardworking kitchen with golden orange goodness.

  21. Marius — 10/2/07 @ 5:39 pm

    I’ve gotta say, a simple Saffron Rice is quite wonderful.

  22. Jeff — 10/2/07 @ 5:43 pm

    Three unfortunate and unappetizing words:

    Carrot Tope’s pubes.

    —-you are SO gross Jeff! Good thing I know you and love you dearly!!! -jaden

  23. Jaime — 10/2/07 @ 5:48 pm

    Seems I cant follow directions :)
    Everything looks soooo good! Cant we all win some?!!

  24. LiveToFish — 10/2/07 @ 6:18 pm

    Great site. I love saffron.

  25. Blair — 10/2/07 @ 6:19 pm

    I put in the Garlic and saffron soup recipe and it is a fabulous recipe if you like bread based soups. Eating it will cause people to have a Jedi mind trip and say “Princess Jaden, you awe me with your grace, blind me with your beauty and inspire me with your angelic aura of innocence”.

  26. andrea — 10/2/07 @ 6:27 pm

    “Princess Jaden, you awe me with your grace, blind me with your beauty and inspire me with your angelic aura of innocence.”

    That’s why I submitted 26. Yum, cookies

  27. Scott — 10/2/07 @ 6:47 pm

    Mmmm… saffron is too rich for my wallet! Please, ma’am…can I have some? My wife loves my cooking, and I’m sure she’d love it even more if I spiced it up with saffron!

    And at least I have the decency not to make a Carrot Top joke… he’s not funny in any context! Okay, maybe he’s funnier looking after the plastic surgery.

  28. Another Lindsay — 10/2/07 @ 6:52 pm

    Oh my god I would kill for that Saffron. Kill what? I’ll leave that up to your imagination. *grin*

    I love, but have never cooked with, such an expensive spice (until recently I was cooking on a college student’s budget, actually, I still am, even if I am no longer a student).

    Since I couldn’t give you a recipe I’ve actually made (*sob*), I gave you a recipe for the first thing I’d make if I had me some saffron, Saffron Aioli. I’ll eat aioli on anything, and this one surely seems like the ultimate of ultimates.

    You rock. And so do your kids. Keep it up! :)

  29. Courtney — 10/2/07 @ 7:06 pm

    i recently discovered your site and Love it. Keep the yummy recipes coming. you are in my rss reader now.

  30. Kat — 10/2/07 @ 7:12 pm

    never bought saffron, so I’ve never used it in a recipe, though I love to see what you use it for :)

  31. Krizia — 10/2/07 @ 7:28 pm

    SO THE FIRST THING I THOUGHT when I read this was “Saffron Ice Cream!” And then I kind of frowned b/c I wondered if such a phenomenon would dare to exist. And indeed it does. I tried snooping around the web for a recipe that looked legit, and I found this one: http://www.tartingitup.com/tarting_it_up/2006/04/saffron_ice_cre.html with pictures and everything! :D Thanks for setting up this contest Queen Jaden of all things royal like saffron threads!

  32. Amy — 10/2/07 @ 7:37 pm

    Ooh! I’ve been wanting to make Ilan’s Fideo with Saffron and Clams from Top Chef. I’m a Top Chef junkie. :D I really want to try saffron (never had it before *blush*).

  33. chilihead — 10/2/07 @ 8:03 pm

    We just remodeled our kitchen this summer and I’m cooking more and more. I’ve never used saffron and I’m dying to! Please enter me in your drawing! Thanks.

  34. Pingback: Ember Case » Blog Archive » Favorite foods - Bouillabaisse

  35. Ember Case — 10/2/07 @ 9:04 pm

    Bouillabaisse is my absolute favorite use for saffron. It’s the light touch of heaven on an already delicious dish.
    I’d love to be entered in the giveaway, and hope you enjoy the recipe!

  36. Christine Cao — 10/2/07 @ 9:14 pm

    oops! Jaden! I entered my name instead of the name of the dish! What a dufus. Can you remove it? The dish name is Mussels with leeks, saffron and cream. Thanks!

  37. Deborah — 10/2/07 @ 9:26 pm

    Thank goodness my sister put up her recipe for Bouillabaisse! I love it when she makes it for me – and I love it even the more the next day when the leftovers are made into seafood bisque!

    Ok, it’s not my recipe – but I hope it qualifies me for the contest, so I can give her half of the saffron and force her to cook it for me. Because I’m selfish like that.

  38. Hi Jaden, Love your blog…*especially* the negative calorie cake…that kind of thinking is awesome :)
    I made a mistake that some others have made too…entered my name instead of the dish…so #36 and 37 are both me :( …sorry for that trouble.
    The dish is a favorite of mine- very simple, with only 3 ingredients, but does it taste good!! The caramelly ricotta cheesecake is the perfect bed for the saffron glaze…my doesn’t do justice to the beautiful crimson, caramel and gold tones….

  39. Kelly Mahoney — 10/2/07 @ 10:22 pm

    Saffron seems so exotic and is quite pricey, but the key is to use it as a spice to a familiar dish so that you enjoy the flavor of it as opposed to some elaborate and foreign meal. A Spanish-inspired chicken and rice meal using saffron would be filling and approachable, but would highlight the spice’s aromatic and flowery flavor.

  40. Sue Ann — 10/2/07 @ 10:35 pm

    Morrocan Chicken, not my recipe, my friend Monica’s. would like it better if only it had saffron and NOT powered curry!!!!!

  41. Maria — 10/2/07 @ 11:30 pm

    Oooh, free saffron… I’ve never used it before, so I hope I win! Thanks for the contest, Jayden! And I love, love , love your blog… you totally crack me up!

  42. Eli — 10/2/07 @ 11:35 pm

    Your highness, I beseech you: when you and your friends are cooking with that magical spice, please remember those of us whose allergies prevent us from enjoying it. I once used saffron as often as I could afford, but now the best I can do is hold back tears as I remember those times gone by.

  43. BigBoysOven — 10/2/07 @ 11:46 pm

    Ahha yes I got saffron at home…. let see what i can churn out this time!…..

  44. Nan — 10/3/07 @ 12:25 am

    Dearest Jaden,

    You and this contest rock my FACE OFF. I linked to Asparagus and Sugar Snap Pea Paella, which is the closest thing to my very favorite recipe. I intend to blog about it sometime, but it’s a green vegetable, mussel, and pine nut paella that is SO GOOD. Again to reiterate, saffron is the shit and so are you.

  45. Brian Seward — 10/3/07 @ 1:15 am

    This is a delicious contest.

    I like that people are asked to leave their favorite recipes, every link I’ve looked at sounds wonderful.

  46. Chris — 10/3/07 @ 1:28 am

    Oh No! I entered my name instead of the name of the dish. Sorry, it’s been a long day. Spanish Paella is my entry dish which was posted May 22, 2007 in my site. Just scroll down and find it. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and it’s good to know where to get my saffron.

    Your beauty and grace, your bubbly personality and your extraordinary writing skills is what draws everyone to your site. Not only can one learn to cook your recipes, it also is a place where one can enjoy your blog and unwind after a long day.

    I wish that you can come to the San Francisco Bay Area to conduct a cooking instruction someday. It would positively attract aspiring cooks to be a part of your culinary expertise.


  47. BerlinKitchen — 10/3/07 @ 2:43 am


    youre the Greatest! :))

    Martin “BerlinKitchen”

  48. Rudi — 10/3/07 @ 3:57 am

    Hey hey hey, I quite like this persian jeweled rice recipe.. it goes superbly with roasted chicken bits marinated in OJ with rind, garlic, herbs and olive oil. The rice can be rich, but when eaten sensibly with an accompaniment, its delish!

    pls pls pls, put me in your draw. I’m in Brisbane, Australia, and its really difficult finding someone who sells a decent quantity of saffron… all i can find is the small 0.5g boxes for $6.00!!! I can use this up in one dish cause its not the best quality either…so pls pls pls… let me be the one! oh and of course, you are the yard stick by which all other beauties are measured against….

  49. sia — 10/3/07 @ 4:13 am

    my choice is Saffron Kulfi which is a popular Indian dessert made with boiled milk. As a kid I would beg my parents to buy me this dessert. Even if its not for the competition, try this for your kids Jaden. Its simply delicious… Here is the link to the recipe.

  50. Sui Mai — 10/3/07 @ 6:16 am


    The only dish I ever made with saffron….and so incredibly delicious, I visit the your picture all the time to prevent myself making it. I *will* eat the whole thing by myself. It is most definitely that good.