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, February 26, 2008
From Simply Gluten Free, who made an awesome Mexican Chocolate Bark:
The first thing I noticed (besides the really cool packaging) was the aroma, then the color then the taste. The closest to fresh ground I have experienced in a packaged spice.
Cindy wrote: i found the spices smelled very fresh when i opened the packets, but they seemed to be a little bit crushed. maybe being in a small packet makes them prone to coming apart? (or in the mail?!) and i ended up adding a bit more of it than was in the packet, maybe they should make it ‘tbsp’ spices!
From Joanne: I received two packets of the zest and decided to use them in my madeleines. Upon opening the packets the scent of oranges was mild, the zest was chopped up and the size of the granules was similar to kosher salt. The color was darker I am assuming due to the dehydration process. As I was folding in the zest, the scent became stronger. It was easier to fold in than fresh zest. The difference being the drier state and smaller size. I made one batch with the zest and another with fresh zest, and I must say that I liked the TSP product quite a lot. It was distributed evenly through out the batter, and it was pleasing. I found that the taste though wasn’t as strong. I believe a little orange extract along with the zest would bring out the flavor better.
As for the mild chili pepper. I used that for a spicy marinade for fish tacos. I marinated mahi mahi in canola oil, minced garlic, jalepenos, salt, pepper, and the chili pepper powder. The flavor was mild and very tasty. We grilled the fish and served it alongside flour tortillas, slivered radish, chopped green onions, shredded lettuce, cubed avocados, salsa and sour cream.
From Argus: I made Spaghetti with herring canned with tomato sauce, sliced onions, dried parsley, coriander, sliced fresh chilli, a bit of water, salt and pepper.
After boiling the spaghetti ‘al dente’, I threw the lot into my fishy sauce mix for a few turns in the saucepan for extra aroma.
It’s quick and easy, and oh so tasty!
I added the fennel seed to Rendang Veal, a dryish Malaysian curry, which is differentiated
from other curries by the use of dry-fried grated coconut, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. The organic fennel added
a subtle aromatic almost-crunch to certain mouthfuls of the Rendang.
Thanks for the opportunity to try the new product.
Using it to flavor pickled onions worked a lot better than my previous attempt with the squash. Even after 36 hours submerged in vinegar, the spice still had lots of flavor!
and then Katharine made another dish: The flavor was great, but the texture of dried herbs is always a little iffy to me. Roasting wasn’t the right way to use them, it just dried them out further. I bet the sage would work much better in sauces and soups than it did in this dish. Overall, though, pretty good.
From Lexi: I made Lemon Yogurt muffins with the lemon zest, modifying it off a recipe from Milk and Cookies: The lemon zest smelled zesty but lacked punch when I tried it, compared to fresh citrus zest. However, in the final muffin, you could definitely tell the zest was there and it was quite handy knowing I could open 1 packet at a time.
From Lindsay: I battled over what to make with the Ancho Chili Pepper you sent me…. and finally decided to make one of my favorites, just give it a bit of ‘kick’. Instead of a measly 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne in the cornstarch dredge, I used the full teaspoon of ancho (yes, I dumped in the whole thing!). While it did have a kick at the end (which could have also been because of the fire oil in the peanut sauce), it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Probably should have used a dish more centered around ancho, like just about anything from Bobby Flay. Oh well! It was still delicious! I was impressed with the packaging, as a designer I’m drawn to anything pretty. Great idea too… I have a birthday coming up so this might make a nice hint for the family.
From Mia: Thanks so much for sending us a sample of tsp spices. We were happy to find our anise seed in the mail, and we made one of our favorite treats with it: itty-bitty anise-almond biscotti. Attached are a few pictures. Here is my review of the spice:
We used our anise seed in a cookie, and the flavor was lovely – bright and fresh with a little bite. However, I’m not sure that it was much better than other brands of anise seed I’ve used (I generally use 365 brand from Whole Foods), and I have one complaint: What if I need to use 1 1/2 tsp.? The cookies were delicious, but I could have used just a touch more anise.
Thanks again, and look for a blog post about our cookies in the next day or so at www.redramekin.com. I’m interested to know what others thought about the spices…
From Chezannie’s: I made breakfast sausage using the sage and the marjoram. I forgot to add the allspice, opting instead for nutmeg. There’s also brown sugar, kosher salt, and paprika in the mix. It came out surprisingly close to some Trader Joes brand breakfast sausage we had eaten earlier in the week. Only ours was less fatty. The sage and the marjoram really make the sausage flavor pop!
We made korokke with tonkatsu sauce, based on a recipe from “The Japanese Kitchen” by Hiroko Shimbo. It was really good. Although, I only used 1/4 tsp of the allspice in the tonkatsu sauce.
From Thevars: I made Shrimp dish with the lemon zest. Here is my review:
“I could smell the spice as soon as I cut the packet. You could actually smell the lemoni-ness in the shrimp dish and it wasn’t over powering at all. Only thing is, you have to cut the packet just before you want to add your spice. Keeping it out too long made it lose some of the aroma.”
From TastyPalettes: This is what I made with the packet you sent me – No Cinnamon Apple Turnovers. My review – ‘ The packaging is cute and convenient to use. Cardamom seeds were neither whole nor finely ground, just right. They were fresh and aromatic. I hope to see a wider spice selection in the future’.
It was informative and fun testing new products. Thanks for sending me some
From Tai: Thanks for taking the trouble to send the spices. As per your request, I’ve used them in two recipes, but the thing is, this was my first time using these spices so I have no yardstick to measure them against.
Anise seed: I made a cake with it. It has the same active compound that gives star anise its distinctive flavour and I would say that this comes across in the cake but not overpoweringly so. A pleasant, ‘spicy’ aroma…nice! Would definitely stock this in my pantry for making anise seed cookies next.
Dillweed: I sprinkled this on top of my fish and onion ‘crustless’ quiche- it didn’t leave much of a distinctive flavour on my tastebuds but the smell reminded me of, oddly enough, ketchup. Not too bad, but I’m not sure if I would invest in a bottle of the stuff.
and James even sent in his recipe!
This recipe does not fit with your Asian style, but it does expand your horizons as you mentioned on your website! It is a good country breakfast with savory flavors and warm, but subtle differences to an old favorite. There is never any left when my son is around!
Country Eggs Benedict with Marjoram and Tarragon
Buttermilk Biscuits: 4500 9-in greased pan
4 cups of flour
2 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp marjoram
1 T sugar
2/3 C cold unsalted butter (plus ¼ cup melted butter for tops before baking)
1 ½ C buttermilk
Cut butter into well mixed dry ingredients until the texture of coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk to form soft dough. Transfer to a floured board. Knead briefly. Roll to 1 ¼ in. thick and transfer to greased pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden. Keep warm.
Country Hollandaise Sauce
4 T minced onion, garlic or shallot
4 T balsamic vinegar
Mix onions with vinegar in small skillet over medium flame. Watch closely. Reduce vinegar to about 1 T. Strain into stainless mixing bowl and place over gently simmering water.
4 Jumbo Egg yolks
¾ pound butter, cold, cubed
Add egg yolks one at a time to vinegar, incorporating with whisk. Whisk continuously. Add butter, 2 small cubes at a time, whisking continuously (do not let water touch the bottom of the bowl or get too hot) until all butter has been incorporated and sauce is thickened. Add a very small amount of beef flavoring (this can be very salty! Use a good quality). Keep sauce covered and warm, but not over heat until use
Eggs, Sausage, Apples and Onions
6 Jumbo eggs (or for hearty eaters, use 2 eggs per person)
6 sausage patties, country style bulk sausage (or 2 sausage patties per person as above)
1 onion cut in strips
2 tart apples, peeled and cut in thin wedges
¼ C apple juice
1 T peppercorns
2 tsp tarragon
Fry sausage patties over medium heat. Remove and keep warm. Add apples, onions and peppercorns to skillet. Fry gently for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat; add apple juice and 1 tsp tarragon. Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Prepare poached eggs (other style eggs may be substituted) Assemble dish by slicing open a biscuit on a large plate. Place sausage on biscuit and then egg. Top with sauce. Serve with spoonful of onions and apples by the side of the biscuit. Garnish with the additional tarragon.