Hoosier Mama, we love your pies.

We are so lucky to have wonderful customers. In addition to our mainstream of home cooks, we also number a huge amount of chefs, caterers, bakeries and other food related companies among our clientele. It is a really good feeling when we see chefs in their checked pants browsing the shop,  they often just really like to hang around, absorb and smell and taste. This tells us we are doing something right. Yesterday Paula Haney, owner of Hoosier Mama Pie Shop even brought us a pie! A very delicious Dutch apple pie. Paula's story is a wonderful example of how hard work and a good product pay off. She learned about making desserts in the restaurant world,  working with the world-renowned Grant Achatz at Trio. We met back then, as Trio chefs would stop into our nearby Evanston shop to pick up spices. Eventually she took a leap of faith and ventured out on her own, making pies and selling them at farmer's markets. Not too long ago, she and her husband took another chance and opened a little pie shop at 1618 West Chicago Ave. Trust me, I know how much sleep you lose when you have decided to spend your life savings on a venture where there is no guaranty of success. We have done it four times now, it is scary every time. She had one assistant to begin with, they figured the break even number was 20 pies sold. Now she has 20 employees and might make and sell 100 pies a day. And they are really, really good. She uses only the best ingredients, obviously! You can find her on Chicago avenue, but also another one of my favorite farmers markets, the Green City Market, in winter months this is at the Peggy Notebaret Museum. Why not make a trip there this Saturday, April 14th? Another equally wonderful chef customer, Bruce Sherman of North Pond Restaurant, will be doing the chef demo at 10:30. My money is on an asparagus dish.


Spice Boss’ Top Three

People always ask about my top blends and seasonings. For me, Bronzeville Rib Rub is number one. My father-in-law created this seasoning at the original spice shop, located at 33rd Street and Galena in Milwaukee….

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Thanks to Clare Barboza for mixing up Moroccan Carrot Salad in this delicious video. See much more from Clare on her beautiful site: clarebarboza.com.