I’ll admit it. My spice cabinet is a bit of a mess. And it seems the more cooking I do, the greater into disarray my cache of seasonings falls. A six-year-old, nearly untouched jar of marjoram rests atop a pillow of unlabeled ziploc bags filled with heaping spoonfuls of unidentified yellow and green aromatic powders. Towards the back of the cupboard, a tub of oregano the size of a house cat mocks me. Too much of this, too little of that, and what to do with it all, assuming the old stuff still has pungency? Greenpoint’s Tara Suan, has come up with an idea to combat these common kitchen conundrums.
She’s just launched a spice CSA of sorts, dubbed “Seasonal Spices,” set to begin this November after a successful Kickstarter campaign. This subscription-based spice share is a simple way to add new flavors to your cabinet—without: A. Taking up a lot of space in your cupboards; or B. Having to buy mass quantities of a single spice that you may not be able to use (at least not before its flavor has dulled with age and oxidation). With each pack, you get a mix of spices and a few recipes that complement the spices included in the box. Here’s a peek at what’s she’s got on the cold-weather roster:
November: Autumn Spice – Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg. Recipes and info for pumpkin pie, spice cake, spice latte, hot buttered rum
December: Holiday Roasts and Stocks – Bay leaf, thyme, sage, rosemary. Recipes and info for roast turkey, bone stocks, broths and soups
January: Superbowl Chili – Chile powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano. Recipes and info for American style chili, spice-rubbed beef roast, spicy cocktails
If you’re interested in finding out more about Seasonal Spices or to sign up, check out Tara’s Kickstarter page here.
Want to try one of her favorite seasonal recipes? She likes to make this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte when the weather gets chilly. Says Tara, “The Pumpkin Spice Latte is celebrating a decade of domination in the seasonal latte world. But with the right spices you can make your own version right at home. The key, according to the Chowhounds, is to make a spice simple syrup – and then its just a simple mix and froth and your latte is ready to drink!” I say yum.
1 part water
1 part sugar
1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of cloves (or allspice)
1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1-2 shots of espresso, depending on desired strength
Bring water and sugar to a simmer, and stir to dissolve. Add spices and stir to combine. Simmer for several minutes. Cool and strain. Add vanilla extract. This is your flavor syrup, which should be stored in an airtight container, away from sunlight.
To make a two-shot latte, add a shot of syrup to the espresso, stir, and pour in the steamed milk.