Most of us have been faced with the dilemma of dealing with a few rapidly ripening bananas and understand the tension between not wanting to waste good food while also not wanting to put overly soft, brown bananas on top of our morning cereal. After my partner and I both purchased a full bunch of bananas on the same day, I found myself staring down at half a dozen soft, spotted pieces of the yellow fruit and debating what I would bake to use them up. Bananas are wonderfully versatile in baking, as their soft consistency doesn’t create the worry of getting the fruit soft enough to be enjoyable (like apples), but aren’t so juicy that one must compensate for the extra liquid by adding other ingredients (like with blueberries). I quickly found a recipe for banana cookies in my recipe tin, copied down during the year of so I spent building out this tin’s collection as a college student. Since I had just purchased some hazelnut paste (basically unsweetened Nutella), I decided to incorporate it into the recipe. I added the claim of “healthy” to this recipe after modifying the original to include less sugar and more banana, as well as more oats. I find that with a little experimentation, one can always decrease the amount of sugar and increase the amount of redeeming ingredients, and luckily, I got it right on my first try with these cookies.
As the temperature begins to drop, it’s official. It’s time for bourbon. During the summer, the drink of choice definitely trends toward clear liquors, and clean flavors. Fruit and frosted glasses take center stage. But, as soon as the weather begins to turn drizzly, I find myself craving amber spirits and spices. It’s the season for mulled wine, hot buttered rum and, of course, my favorite winter warmer: the hot toddy. This spiced drink is relaxing, invigorating, and somehow a mysterious cure all. Whether it’s at get together with friends, or just to sip by yourself on some blustery evening, this drink is always warming, and always a hit.
Ocassionally we end up on a really nice roll of fun PR. In the current Greek Issue of Saveur magazine, we are recommended in their section called The Pantry, as a resource for our Aleppo pepper. They use it in this really great sounding recipe, roasted lamb with rosemary. (Saveur's photo at left) We also had a nice mention in Food and Wine magazine this month, we are included in their list of five obsessed spice importers. This is one obsession we are okay with! NBC Chicago did a piece on our cinnamon last week, running with a trace back the ingredients concept. While tasting one of Bill Kim's fantastic desserts, a Vietnamese Cinnamon caramel ice cream, at Urban Belly, they wanted to source his ingredients. He very generously led them to our Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon. We can not wait to go and try this, by the way. Interesting how reporters sometimes know more about where are spices are ending up than we do! Last, but not least, we have made some wonderful connections via email correspondance with some really interesting food blog posters. I really want to thank Alice and Jared Zhao, who blog under eataduckimust, for their sensational blog post about The Spice House, calling us a Chicago Landmark. Your photography is awesome, by the way. So, who does handle the PR? Continue reading →