Sunday, June 29, 2008

Raj el-Hanout

In Morocco every house has a blend, a house specialty, which is their raj el-hanout. Mine has the hard to find ingredients used in those authentic and complex blends ... 15 ingredients including galangal, rose petals and lavender along with mace blades, allspice and more.

You'll need raj el-hanout for authentic tangines and other dishes that will amaze your guests.

√ The quintessential blend for tangines.

√ A great rub pork for barbecue. Add a little demura (raw) sugar or brown sugar.

√ Stir into lemon juice and olive oil and rub on chicken for barbecue or roast.

√ Stir into squash or pumpkin soup.

√ Add to pilaf with the onion.

√ Add to a tomato sauce to be used in any Greek or Middle Eastern recipe.

√ Fry cubed potatoes in butter or oil and then toss with raj el-hanout.

√ Sprinkle on baked pears.

Hand roasted and shipped the same day, guaranteed. $8 for 1/2 cup, no extra shipping charge.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Sometimes the simplest things are the best. In a few restaurants you will discover incredible pita chips, using this za'atar. Slice a pita in half so you have two rounds. Then cut into eight slices. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with this mixture, bake at 350ยบ for five minutes, turn, bake another four minutes until crisp. Very tasty; nice with hummous. I roast black sesame, add sumac and a half dozen other spices for this blend.

√ Add a tablespoon to a couple of lamb burgers, top with tzaziki.

√ Add a little to your meatloaf.

√ Stir into tzaziki, hummous and other dips.

√ A great rub for pork to be grilled, or mix with olive oil and garlic and use as a marinade on chicken or pork.

√ Add a little to your potato, baked or fried.

√ Wonderful sprinkled on fish.

Hand roasted the day it is shipped. Half-a-cup $8 including shipping.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Black or Kala Masala

If you have some fresh ground dried mango (amchur as it is called in India), Turkish bay leaves, black sesame seeds, star anise to grind and 10 other ingredients you can probably make this incredibly rich and complex blend. Or you can let me make it for you.

√ Use in place of any garam masala for the taste of western India.

√ Rub on fish before broiling or grilling.

√ Add to rice dishes.

This blend takes a bit of roasting, which is done the same day it is sent to you. $8 for a half cup includes shipping.

From Remote Svaneti

High in the Caucasus Mountains in northern Georgia lies the isolated province of Svaneti, a place deemed too dangerous for travel. The locals use fenugreek and Aleppo pepper and several other spices for a unique blend that goes well with their beet and cabbage dishes; and potatoes, soups and stews.

A chef who purchases the blend from me rubs it on fish for a delicious barbecue.

√ Use it like the natives in cabbage, beet and potato dishes, including soups.

√ Terrific on steaks before grilling or broiling.

√ Sprinkle on Brussels sprouts.

For $7 American I'll save you the trek to Svaneti and grind a fresh half cup to send to you. No shipping charges. Such a deal.

Juniper Mix & A Gin Marinade

The predominant flavor in gin, as you likely know, comes from juniper berries. Juniper was a staple of cooking long before the Dutch invented gin some 400 years ago, bless their hearts. I've created/adapted well worn uses to make a juniper blend since the berry is a bit strong on its own. It has things like pomegrante and fresh ground allspice, along with half a dozen other ingredients. Use it in place of recipes calling for juniper and you'll add a complexity to the dish - like this one from Bon Appetit.

Here are a few more ideas for you:

√ Rub on game, beef, duck, Cornish game hens.

√ Add just a pinch in your frosting recipe for gingerbread cookies or in a rhubarb dessert.

√ Use a teaspoon with a half bottle of wine and some garlic for a lamb marinade.

√ Mix 3 tablespoons with 3 ounces of gin, add some fresh minced rosemary and shallots, use as a meat marinade.

√ Sprinkle on duck before roasting.

Ask nicely and I'll pull out my grinder and send you half a cup of this blend. It is $7, shipped for free.