greetings - thanks for visiting my site!

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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,

.:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:.

Important Notice:


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!


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.

What would you like to find here?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

moroccan tajine spare ribs

I'm trying to keep up with trying out new recipes using my spice blends so that those of you who have purchased them will have some recipe examples to follow and try yourselves. Fact of the matter is, I either forget to put them to good use, or I either don't write down the steps and measurements I used or I add other stuff in with the spices, which changes everything and then becomes a challenge to recreate. Now, I know you don't want I should confuse you with weird combinations and approximates for you to try out on your friends, family, loved ones or hopeful soon to be loved ones. Right?

When we came back home from our mid-west vacation, where we ate lots and lots of local fare (more on that later), there was some serious clearing out of the freezer to be done as we had shoveled everything left over from our Labor Day barbeque AND what remained in the refrigerator into the microwave sized cubicle for safe storage until we returned. It was a marvellous feat of real life spatial organizing, the kind that M.I.T. students play around with for cerebral kicks but couldn't accomplish on packing day if their graduation required it of them. There, nestled in the back behind baked beans, roasted potatoes with garlic, a container of spaghetti noodles and several packages of assorted buns, I re-discovered that we had two pounds of pork spare ribs. It all began to add up into a menu of baked spare ribs with potatoes and beans for dinner, so I pulled them out, half-heartedly ecstatic that I didn't have to go to the store to forage for our next meal.

But what to do? I had to check this blog just to see which of the seasonings had been the most neglected when it came to testing a recipe for them, and the winning candidate turned out to be
the Moroccan Tajine Spice Blend. But should it really accompany beans and potatoes and not something more exotic? While I was in the midst of making them it occurred to me that it was still corn season and, despite having spent eight days in the mid-west, we saw neither husk nor hair, kernel or cobb of an edible corn product, only those grown for ornamentation or subsidized farming, unfolding like unkempt shag carpeting over the horizon. It was then and there that I knew we needed some fresh corn from our local farm stand to compliment the spare ribs. I threw together this quick barbeque baste, let the oven do the rest of the work and jumped into the car to visit our local procurer - I mean purveyor - of corn and other farm goodies.

moroccan tajine spare ribs

2 Lbs. (approximately) fresh Pork Spare Ribs
2 Tbs. moroccan tajine spice blend
3 Tbs. Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tbs. Tamarind Paste
1/4 Cup Marsala Wine

If you put them all together
Much to your surprise (oh tell me what)
You'll find a bit of heaven
Right before your eyes...

(Sorry. Sometimes my muse comes in the form of a one-hit wonder all-female vocal trio).

Pre-heat the oven to 400 or 450 degrees (I used the 450 setting). Place the ribs in a Pyrex baking dish and coat them with about half the amount of the sauce. I used 2 Tablespoons of the seasoning because I love strong flavors and I happen to have plenty of the stuff available for use. You may want to use less. Cover the dish with foil - or a lid if you have one - and then bake at high heat for 30 to 40 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 or 250 degrees (I used the lower setting this time) and let them slow bake for at least an hour and a half, basting again with the remainder of the sauce when they are about half way done. The ribs will lose some of their juice which you can spoon over them as they bake.

That's pretty much it besides taking them out of the oven before you serve them. It is really uncomfortable and can be very difficult dining inside a warm, cramped oven, even for Harry Houdini or an M.I.T. undergrad.

Oh, and have some fresh corn from your local farm with them!

Bon Appétit!

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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)