Things You Want to Know About Spices, Plus Recipes for Red Rocks Mac & Cheese, Smoked Serrano Cranberry Chutney + Chicken Tikka Masala

When we had the FORK Social Lab space on Main Street in Louisville, I reached out to Dan Hayward, owner of Boulder’s Savory Spice Shop, to ask if he’d be interested in coming to teach spice classes.
He was, and over the course of a year, we hosted 9 public classes, and 1 private.
They were a big hit and we all learned a lot about the fascinating history of the spice trade, how to use them best in cooking, and how the wealthy used to pile them up on tables in their homes when entertaining as a show of wealth [!].
I did a short interview with Dan recently and here’s what he wants us to know:

HB: What’s something you wish more people knew about spices – either origin or application related, or both?
DH: The history surrounding the spice trade is quite fascinating and complex, especially when considering how certain spices have been adopted into various cultures i.e. Allspice berries where discovered in Jamaica by Christopher Columbus, brought to Europe, and then traded with Arab spice merchants. You will find this spice used in many Middle Eastern dishes. In addition, people should be aware that spices have a shelf life. Ground spices are at their peak from 6 to 9 months. Whole seeds and spices can last for years. Spices should be kept cool, dry, dark, and sealed.

HB: If someone could have only 3 spices in their kitchen, what are the musts in your opinion?
DH: A good multi-purposed salt like Himalayan Pink Sea Salt (high in minerals), a high quality Peppercorn like our Telicherry Peppercorns from India (well rounded flavor, mellow, not too sharp), and a good herb blend like our Herbes de Provence.

HB: What are your top sellers, and what kind of classic dishes are people making with them?
DH: Our curries and BBQ blends are our best sellers. Our curries cover regions like India, SE Asia, Africa, and other non-traditional regions like Spain and France. Our most popular curry dish is our Chicken Tikka Masala (family friendly and easy to prepare) http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/recipes/chicken-tikka-masala.html. Our most famous BBQ blend is our Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning closely followed by our Pearl St. Plank Rub. Our BBQ blends are designed to be used as a simple rub or as a marinade. One of our favorite recipes is the Red Rocks Mac & Cheese…smoky, cheesy goodness! http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/recipes/red-rocks-mac-cheese.html

HB: Anything else you want us to know…
DH: We have over 400 herbs, spices, and seasonings fresh ground weekly in small batches. The advantage to buying with Savory Spice Shop is that you can buy in small quantities (as small as 1/2 ounce), you can try before you buy (taster, samples jars throughout the store), and our knowledgeable staff can help guide you to the perfect spice for whatever dish you can imagine.

Plus a bonus recipe!
Here’s a fun twist on the traditional cranberry dressing for the Holidays…Smoked Serrano Cranberry Chutney! http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/recipes/smoked-serrano-cranberry-chutney.html

This week I wrote a feature for Boulder Weekly on this very topic, so grab a copy [free; published every Thursday] if you’d like to read it in print.
Here’s the link to it online:
http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-11957-season-for-seasoning.html

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