Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Spice of Life

Saturday past, I went to a mid winter festival sponsored by the CSA my daughter is associated with, which was held at the historic Flushing Meeting house.

I've been to other Flushing CSA events, and this time, (as in the past) I contributed items to the fund raising raffle (this time, some framed food prints... one set of 3 small prints; chard, asparagus, and carrots) , and a pair of prints with a selection of root vegetables and another with a selection of carrots)
I am not a member of the CSA—(my neighborhood is filled with many greens grocers) but I think CSA are a wonderful idea.

One reason I went was for the spices—The CSA tries to work with other local vendors that supply local and/or organic foods and the result was a number of organic food suppliers participated.

John Bowne HS representatives were there—Bowne HS has an agricultural program, and raises life stock (and fresh vegetable) –and offers local free range chicken eggs for sale (of course, a dozen came home with me!) 

And a local apiarist was there, with local honey (and the local winter meant honey production was going on right up till Christmas (2015)--I've purchased honey back in the spring—I don't use a lot of honey in my cooking, so my 4 oz bottle is still half full--but is great when I became sensative to local pollen and was reacting to local pollen..

There were an assortment of home made jams and preserves (nice but a bit to pricey for me...I made jams and preserves when I lived in the house and while they are so much better than commercial productions... $10 for half pint was just too much (in my opinion).

For me, the highlight was the spice ladies They are sisters in law, and both decided on being stay at home mothers once they had children. They, like my daughter, were concerned about GMO (not many spice are GMO) and about pestisides, and additives. Did you ever read the labels on your spice containers?  So many spice have “yeast extract” and salts, (simple salt and more complex ones like MSG,) and “anti caking agents”--and some of these are made from GMO's.

Their  goal was to buy organic spices and mix up their own blends. Like any obsession, things grew. Some of the spice they wanted were only available in bulk—and even when you are from an ethnic background that enjoys spice food, bulk can be more than you can readily use.

So they shared --between themselves, and then with family, and then a business was born!

My parent were Irish—and spice are not much part of Irish cuisine, Salt, pepper, mustard and cinnamon make up the bulk—Occasionally caraway seeds--(in breads) but my mother didn't like caraway, and not much else. So learning about spices, and using them, has been an adult occupation.

I've come to love Indian foods—years ago, it was simple premixed yellow curries (which I still use) and as time went by, I learned to use and mix up my own “curries”--some very mild, some a bit hot (very hot is not part of my food prep!) some green, some red, all with a  range of spices. Chinese golden curry is a staple, and Red and Green Thai curries are not unknown (these are used sparingly—they are often at the far range of heat, for my taste.  But I am still a novice when it comes to many ways to use spices.

But the spice ladies (who are properly known as Spice Tree Organics) have a huge selections of blends—from organic taco spices, to curries, to falafals, and sweet chia blends—which they used for making cookies. Everything for seasoning soup to nuts and every thing in between. I got a small selection to start—and on their web page, a collection of recipes that will make my life a bit spicier.

Spice Tree Organics is the only vendor that sells mail order--If it wasn't, why not make spicing up your life a resolution? 

(The opinions expressed are mine, and I was not, (and will not) be compensated in any way,except for the pleasure I have using these spices) 

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