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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,
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?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A New Feature

I've been rather lapse on blogging for sometime, with plenty of posts queued up to be published, but for some reason I just haven't been on top of it. Maybe it's the levity of the whole format of blogging - really, if I can't play around and have fun with something, then my interest in doing it is probably going to wane really, really quickly. I recently had a thought and, as most thoughts that draw me in and inspire me tend to be, I was amused by it, so I'm presenting it here as a feature among the mountain of spices blog-log. Are you ready? Are you really, really ready?

Here it is:
Presenting the "Double Wide Diner".

Admittedly, the logo is rather shoddy, but hopefully it conveys that lifted from an old fifties or sixties TV show look. I just hastily put it together after thinking about what it should look like, because it is also necessary for it to convey something as well.

What is the "Double Wide Diner", you ask? Well let me tell you!

Basically, the "Double Wide Diner" is going to cater and pander to those of us who shamelessly admit to loving junk food and junk recipes in all of their glorious forms, something I'm sure you all - all two of you faithful readers out there - can get behind. I believe that the concept has probably been fermenting in the back of my mind for sometime, but what set it off on this current precarious course was a haphazard discovery of a recipe for Chocolate Puddin' Pie on the side of my box of graham crackers. This is just the sort of homespun recipe that the Double Wide will be seeking to fulfill you with. Puddin', indeed.

Years ago I worked at a small, funky Café whose tongue-in-cheek mission was to redeem the bad food stuffs from our childhood, re-creating and making them palatable and tasty once again. Their specialty was in comfort foods and the traditional ethnic background which spawned the affronting weekly meal. As an example, something like Pork Chops and Applesauce with Mashed Potatoes, Spinach or Asparagus - which, for my family meant that it came primarily from a can, including the pork chops, I often suspected - would have become an unendurable standard fare that now creates mixed feelings for us in both the food and comfort categories. What to do? Embrace it and improve upon it. The food wasn't bad, per se, it's just that our parents and our school cafeterias didn't know how to prepare or cook it, and often the recipes found in magazines and newspapers of the day could be held directly responsible. At the Café they sought to change all of that, and they succeeded; soon any dish or recipe deemed unsalvageable was brought in and tinkered with, resulting in a near-miraculous transformation and a new found retro culinary delight.

Here at the Double Wide, we won't aim so high. There won't be any lofty ambitions to Frenchifize a lowly American classic, regulating it to high brow status so that we can worship it before others. We are going to call them as we see them and present them as we find them, in all of their glorious, high calorie, health defying, decadent audacity. We're talking Junk Food here, folks, made with the cheapest of ingredients for the fullest effect of a quick and easy high.

For our first feature presentation, we bring you a recipe, direct from my Graham Cracker box -

Chocolate Puddin' Pie

Crust:

12 Whole Honey Graham Crackers crushed to 1 - 1/2 cups
(process in blender or use a rolling pin)

3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

6 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine, Melted

Filling:

1 - 1/2 Cups Milk

1 Package (4 oz.) Chocolate Instant Pudding

1 Container (8oz.) Dairy Sour Cream

For Crust, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9 inch pie plate. Combine crumbs and sugar. Add butter. Mix thoroughly. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

For Filling, combine milk and pudding in mixing bowl. Beat slowly with rotary beater or low speed of electric mixer about 1 minute. Beat in sour cream just until blended. Pour into crust. Chill at least 1 - 1/2 hours or until set. Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Weren't those directions completely thorough and directly to the point? It's like being told, in no uncertain terms, the exact procedure to follow at the Department Of Motor Vehicles, lest you make a mistake and have to do it all over again. Or the way I speak when I'm feeling grumpy and surly. No room for art here. But thankfully there is never a day so terrible, an encounter so difficult, a mood so bad that can't be lightened with a very large slice of Chocolate Puddin' Pie or something equally satisfying from the large selection we'll have at the Double Wide Diner.

Y'all come on back, now - Ya hear?

1 comment:

tomoko said...

My favorite line from this post:
"...in all of their glorious, high calorie, health defying, decadent audacity."

Your writing cracks me up.

And I may need to try making that pie for Jude. I already know that he's going to love it!

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)