Midwest spice sellers say they see a growing interest in exotic spices. "All the cooking shows and magazines out there have really turned people on to the magic and multitude of flavors available to them," says Patty Erd, who with her husband, Tom, runs the Spice House in Evanston, Illinois.
Burgers can be transformed with a dusting of kosher flake salt, peppers, garlic powder and parsley. An omelet dressed with herbes de Provence turns ooh-la-la. Debi Myer, buyer for Planters Seed & Spice Company in Kansas City, Missouri, says the average kitchen has only 12 spices, but she's noticed "a move away from the basics" in the past five years. "You know, you can't hurt anything by experimenting with different spices, really. Unless it's hot pepper powder," she says.
The next slides feature 10 recipes from the Spice House.
This is a slightly tweaked version of the Spice House's traditional jerk marinade recipe. Mix this up the night before your barbecue, and you'll be ready to go straight to the grill. Serve the wings with Mango Salsa from Spice House customer Ruth Sikes of Chicago.
"This recipe comes to us courtesy of the Junior League of Chicago. It is from their cookbook, Celebrate Chicago! A Taste of Our Town," says Spice House co-owner Patty Erd. These ingredients make a memorable side dish.
"This is the original recipe handed down from my mother," says former Spice House Chef Jennifer "J.R." Statz. "This dessert is so quick and delicious, you'll make it every year during strawberry season!"
Patty Erd says the secret to this great cookie (left) is the layering of different ginger flavors: ground ginger, candied ginger, ginger juice and ginger sugar. The result is spicy, but delicious! If you love this spice, use the larger amount listed next to each seasoning.
Another unusual dessert is Spicy Brownies, from Spice House customer Alyx Kesselring of Evanston, Illinois. The combination of cinnamon, anise and cayenne pepper gives these brownies a Mexican flavor. The consistency is halfway between cakelike and fudgy.
Spice House customers have enjoyed the special recipe for Asian Coleslaw (left). It complements Chinese Five-Spice Marinated Pork Satay, which uses Asian spice blends. This meal represents the cuisine of Chicago's Chinatown.
Tom and Patty Erd (left) took over the spice business in 1992 from Patty's parents. Just as they're happy to share recipes, they have customers who bring recipes to them. One favorite recipe is Clay's Colossal Chili, which won a national chili cook-off. "Chef Clay Erickson actually brought me a container of this chili at the store one Sunday afternoon, still warm," Patty says. "Tom was sick that day, so I took it home, and it was perfect for him."
The Spice House