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Well, this is it. The spice store has made it's last gasp & is shutting down. Thanks for your support. If you have any requests or questions, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards to all,
Elliott

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Important Notice:


6/7/2010:

We're back. I'm still trying to re-figure/ streamline the Spice Selections to make it all more sensible to you and feasible to us. Truth is, y'all just don't use the spices and seasonings as much as I do (despite that, as with all spice & seasoning ingredients, they are best if used within a six month period and not after). That's understandable, but it makes having an online business impractical, is all. Over the course of many months I've been considering ways to make the spices more appealing to first time as well as repeat buyers. I've sought to solve several problems with the product, including:

The tendency for the spice seasonings to clump - I've switched suppliers and am now using ingredients which are ground finer and have less tendency to clump. I've been satisfied with the results and I hope that you have as well.

Packaging: The metal tins I'm using are, at best, a compromise in order to ship the spices as well as make them appealing and functional. When I initially started selling spices back in 2005, I was using 4 oz. glass jars. People really like the jars over the tins, and while the tins cost more, they are easier to ship without worrying that you will end up with a package of seasoned glass shards on your end.

Packaging #2: I have been considering losing the tins in favor of simple, functional, utilitarian plastic bags. Why? I have a lot of plastic bags in stock intended for refills of spices, and that just doesn't happen. If I switch to using the plastic bags, I could probably increase the amount of spice seasoning per order while decreasing the cost of each item as well as shipping. How about that?

Packaging #3: Wouldn't ya know, now they are saying that plastic is EVIL and DOES NOT LIKE YOU or YOUR FAMILY. Oh, plastic - we lived with so many hopes for you that must now go unfulfilled. It was sweet while it lasted.

Scrapping the catalog: That's right. Another serious consideration I've had for some time now is to scrap all of my current product and sell only certain items. What I have been selling over the past several years would essentially be retired. "What will you replace it with?", you ask? Well, let me tell you - I've been thinking of starting a whole new line of extremely hot and spicy seasonings and bbq rubs, so that I can rename it THE BURN WARD. That's right. I don't joke about such things. We're talking (or rather mumbling, since we've been steadily searing off the nerves on our tongues) serious Scoville Units here. What is your vote?

Spice of the Month Club: While it is still a serious consideration, it has never generated enough interest to convince me to do it. Maybe. Drop me a line and tell me you'd support it if I made it available. No, not just you, I mean some of those other people out there who haven't piped up yet.

Gift Sets: Of course - there will always be gift sets, as well as sales, like the ever popular buy 2 get 1 free deal.

Cost: Oy... one could make a living, if only they'd let you - ya know what I mean? Over the past 12 to 18 months, cost just got weird, particularly because import/ export costs that bear on the availability of ingredients for the spices and seasonings. I try to keep that old carbon foot print as small as possible - I've even considered binding my carbon foot to a child's size 2 - but there are certain ingredients that just are not easily available in our area of Western Massachusetts. Things like fresh Kaffir Lime Leaf and Lemongrass which, the last time I had to purchase a bulk of each I was told that I would need to pre-order it as it comes from places with sunnier climates, yet it is also affected by state restrictions which prevent growing these plants in proximity of delicate citrus agricultural regions. So - I temporarily stopped making the Green Thai Curry, which needs a good amount of each to get the flavor perfect. I know - it makes me sad, too, not to have my Green Thai Curry.

So that's the short of the long on the matter. Write me and let me know what your vote is on any or all of the intertwining topics.

And thanks for your support, your patience and your friendship - I really do appreciate it!

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This blog is a companion site to my online business at emburke.etsy.com where I sell unique spice and seasoning blends. I will be featuring recipes that use the spice blends here, but you can easily adapt them to suit your own needs. Also, my spice and seasoning blends are interchangeable - you can easily use one blend in place of another to get a different creative result or you can play it safe and stick to the recipe.

I have a variety of spice & seasoning blends available for purchase here - the perfect compliment for your meat & vegetarian entrées or side dishes. Each of my spice blends are made from fresh, organic spices purchased locally and are ground & blended by myself. They can be used as a dry or wet rub, as a marinade or sauce, or as a seasoning to add a little extra flavor.

Also, if you have any ideas, suggestions or challenges - send them on to me and I'll place them on the site as well.

Each quarter a portion of all sales from this site will be given to support a local charity in Western Massachusetts.

I think you will enjoy them as much as I do. Please spread the word!

Thanks, Elliott

P.S. - I'll have some other items available here in the near future.
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What would you like to find here?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ethiopian Berbère Chicken with Lentils & Greens

I'll be trying to update this site regularly with ideas, suggestions & recipes to use with the spice blends featured here. I know - for the most part I have singled out the Green Thai, Cajun & Greek seasonings and have neglected the Moroccan Tajine, Indian Tandoori & Ethiopian Berbère - so I will try to add some posts that will help others in creating dishes with these particular spices. Here is a dish suggestion for Ethiopian Berbère using chicken. Of course, you can use almost any other meat in place of chicken. Lamb in particular would be great.

Ethiopian dishes traditionally come with Injera , a warm, soft & spongy bread which you use to pick up the food and eat it with. It adds an extra texture to the wonderful, tasty curries and stews common to the cuisine & will become one of your favorite comfort foods. I haven't made injera bread at home - yet- and the one book I have on regional African cooking has a recipe which calls for instant pancake mix! I did some searching and found this simple recipe which I'm sure will do nicely, courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network. You won't want to miss out on the wonderful addition of injera bread for your meal.

Injera Bread

2 pounds self-rising flour
1/2 pound whole-wheat plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
16 ounces soda water

Combine the dry ingredients and then add the water. Mix to a smooth, thin batter. Heat a large nonstick skillet. Ladle enough batter to cover the bottom of the skillet, tilting the skillet to cover the base evenly, and then set back on heat. When small holes appear on the surface remove the injera bread. Cook only on 1 side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Chicken

1 - 2 lbs. boneless Chicken, in pieces

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat the chicken pieces lightly with extra virgin olive oil and place in a baking dish.
Season evenly with 1 - 3 ± teaspoons Ethiopian Berbère Spice.
Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 20 - 30 minutes.

You can also try this variation:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the seasoned chicken in an uncovered baking dish in the oven for 10 minutes, then cover and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.

This should give you crisper chicken pieces which will still be tender.

Serve with:

Lentils

1 pound dried lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil (to saute white onion)
1 white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Ethiopian Berbère Spice
1 teaspoon fresh Sage leaves, finely minced
1 teaspoon Marjoram
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
salt and pepper to taste
1 large ripe tomato, seeds removed and diced
4 cups vegetable stock

Rinse lentils in a colander and examine to make sure there are no pebbles or other strange objects. Transfer to a saucepan, add the 4 cups of vegetable stock, Ethiopian Berbère Spice, sage, marjoram, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes until lentils are re-hydrated and water is absorbed, then lower the heat and cook for a few minutes to integrate flavors, but do not allow lentils to get mushy.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent, then add the diced tomato and sauté until soft but still firm. When the lentils are through cooking and ready to be served mix in the sautéed onion and tomato.

Spinach, collard or mustard greens

In a steamer on medium high heat, add plenty of washed and cleaned fresh greens and steam cook them until they have just begun to turn dark, wilt and shrink. Remove from heat.

Serve each plate with a generous ladling of lentils and greens. You can season the greens with a touch of salt and pepper. Trying adding a light squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice on the greens or grating fresh romano cheese over the greens. Place 1 - 2 pieces of chicken on each plate and serve with the injera bread.

Print this recipe!

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Read what some nice people have to say about my spices:"

Some mornings, I just stand in the kitchen alone and sniff Elliotts' spice. Then I'm somehow ready to start my day. And, oh yes, Elliott's spice IS great for cooking. Your eating habit will literally get "spiced up"."~ Tomoko Deeney (TADworks)

"I’ve almost never finished a full jar of spice and I’ve used several jars of Elliott’s spices in a matter of months. They are very unique and full of different flavors without being too salty or overpowering. They get my highest recommendation. Try them and you will love them."~ Keith Brisebois

"Elliott’s Green Thai is the most amazing spice... perfect for tacos, fish, chicken or beef. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t be able to cook without it!"~ Chrissie Henry

"I hadn't really explored the world of spices until this mixture somehow found its way into my cupboard. I had lived a fairly plain sea salt and cracked pepper food life, until this came along. I enjoy the 'kick' it has on my palate. And still the blend lends itself to good eatin'."~ Rachel Wilson

"Having a jar of Elliott's spice blends in my cupboard I feel as if I have been instantly transformed into a fantastic chef. Dishes I would normally feel intimidated to try - Curried Cauliflower, Tandori Chicken, Morrocan Lamb Stew - now feel within reach. Thank you, Elliott for opening up a whole world, literally, of fabulous food!"~ Alicia Pritt

"Filled a void in my life."~ Elizabeth (from Russia)