I have only been to The Spice House in Old Town a handful of times, but there is just something about the place that takes you on an imaginary journey to a spice warehouse on the old Spice Routes between the old and new worlds. I think it is the aroma of freshly ground spices that hits your nostrils as you walk through the door, this combined with the rows and rows of glass jars all around the somewhat cluttered space. The air is filled with spice, probably as the staff are constantly mixing up blends in front of you and pouring or is it as they are decanting ground spices and spice mixes from the huge jars into smaller vessels and packets for the eager buyers?
There are so many blends, rubs, spices, teas and all sorts that it would be impossible to list them here, but they are all listed on their website so check that out. Each time I have been in here I have seen something new that I did not even know that you could get. This time is was Tomato powder, I had a taste and it was just the essence of tomato, I do not know what we are going to use it for, but we know have some in the store cupboard ready and awaiting. Apparantly 1 Tablespoon tomato powder is the equivalent of 1/4 Cup ketchup.
What we were actually in search of was some File powder to add to some planned Gumbo. File powder is the powdered leaves of the sassafras tree. To be honest we didn’t know how this was used in Gumbo, or what it tasted like, we just knew that we needed some to get that true authentic flavour. The Staff in the shop were so knowledgable that the lady serving us gave us her personal Gumbo recipe and explained how she used the File powder herself. If you want to know how then you will have to go in and find her yourself, I am not giving up this trade secret just yet. Although I expect that practically every cajun cookbook will give you just as good advice. More details of the File Powder is on their website together with some links to it’s use in recipes; http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/gumbo-file-powder-powdered-sassafras-leaves. If her advice works then I will let you in on her secret.
On top of that to assist us with our attempts of some Southern style Cajun cooking we got our hands on a pack of the “King Creole Lousiana- Style seasoning” which is “Hand mixed from: salt, paprika, high bulk garlic, onion, black and red pepper, Greek oregano, and thyme“. We actually had to make a second special trip all the way back down to Old Town just get some of this, as we regretted not buying a packet when we got the File powder. More details of the seasoning on their website; http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/king-creole-seasoning#content
I have recently become addicted to brisket, or is it obsessed? One or the other or probably both. As a result I could not resist getting one of the many rubs for meat that they have on mass in the jars at the Spice House. I was drawn to the “Brisket of Love ” Barbeque Rub – It’s quite hard to read the ingredients off the label so to make it easier they are as follows “cane sugar, brown sugar, Hungarian sweet paprika, salt, ancho chile, tellicherry pepper, worcestershire powder, cayenne, celery seed, garlic, New Mexican chillies, coriander, green onion, citric acid, and mesquite smoke powder.” I have no idea of the proportions, but it gives you an idea of what is in there. I am going to try this one out by rubbing onto my brisket , leaving to cure a bit and then slow cooking. I will let you know how good it is.
You can get more detail on the story of this particular rub on their website. It is a nice story worth reading and they give advice on how to use it as well. Advice that I will be taking, so thanks guys for that help; http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/brisket-of-love-bbq-seasoning-rub#content
The Spice House has one of the best websites by a purveyor that I have seen for sometime. Not only do they give a pretty comprehensive details of all their spices and rubs, but they also give links to recipes that people have used these spices in. I was particularly interested in the southern section and the different gumbo recipes. Well worth checking out, even if you are not interested in buying any spices, it is worth it just for the cooking tips that are left in the comments sections of each recipe. http://www.thespicehouse.com/