Category Archives: On Spices

Make Your OWN Prepared Mustard!

Prepared mustard.

It’s in nearly every fridge or pantry in the modern world and used in, or on, thousands of dishes ranging from the classic and iconic, to today’s contemporary recipes.

The list is simply exhausting!

Salad dressings, sauces, deviled eggs, potato salad, beef, lamb, pork, seafood, and of course, on our beloved hot dogs.

Yet as ubiquitous as prepared mustard around the world, it’s a recipe rarely made in our homes, or, in professional kitchens?

Why is that?

Because it’s beyond simple to make.

Mustard surely gets enough love otherwise. In fact, there are numerous festivals all around the world extolling mustard’s culinary virtues.

From Napa Valley, California to Berlin, Germany, mustard festivals are held each year and feature famous dozens of contests.

Famous Chefs at these events offer demonstrations, and there are numerous opportunities to feast on fabulous dishes using mustard in every imaginable way.

How is prepared mustard made?

Let’s look at how a prepared mustard recipe is made. Maybe, along the way, you’ll discover that it’s something you’d really enjoy making in your kitchen.

“House” prepared mustard is a pretty impressive (and very simple) way to add a distinctive and artisanal flair to your menus.

The basic ingredients needed to make mustard can be as simple as mustard and a liquid. The method however, can done in one of 2 ways.

  • Soak the whole seeds in the liquid, then blend or grind the mustard seeds into a paste. Or,
  • Grind the seeds to the desired fineness BEFORE adding your liquids. The additional grinding afterwards isn’t necessary.

Chemistry in action.

There’s a lot of chemical stuff going on when you make mustard.

The “heat, or bite” that comes from prepared mustard is within the seeds, and then it reacts with the liquids. So, breaking the seeds open is a part of the process.

It’s already been done for you with powdered mustard but it’s something you must do if you’re also using whole seeds.

Spicy or mild?

Temperature “heat”, (even hot water) negates much of the chemical reaction that give you the “spicey heat” component in prepared mustards.

If you want a mustard with more of a “bite” you should use cold water.

Warm water also works, but gives you more of a “mild” mustard reaction and flavor.

Using water alone, generally only gives you a few days (or less) of great mustard flavor. This can, (and should) be “stabilized”, by adding an acid (such as vinegar, lemon juice or horseradish) and some salt.

It also gives you that traditional taste, that most people love and accept.

Which seeds?

Three seeds used to make mustards, they are: white, brown and black.

The white mustard plant, actually makes the mustard seeds that we call yellow, and they make a very pale-yellow powder, not the bright yellow you see in the bottle. They also make a rather mild mustard while, brown and black mustard, are a bit more “robust” in flavor.

The yellow “salad” mustard you see in your grocery store is typically made with the yellow seeds from the white mustard plant with turmeric spice added for color.

The ingredient statement on a bottle of Heinz mustard reads: DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR, MUSTARD SEED, WATER, SALT, TURMERIC, NATURAL FLAVOR AND SPICES.

Brown mustard seeds are found in many premium prepared mustards including the popular Grey Poupon brand.

Black mustard seeds (called rai) are the most pungent and the least common seed to be found in American mustards but they are popular in Southern Indian cuisines.

Many people who enjoy making prepared mustards for their kitchen prefer to use at least 2 mustard seed varieties to create a more “complex” flavor.

A common combination is a hand or machine ground, brown seed, with a white (or yellow mustard powder added as a base).

Making your prepared mustard.

Since making a prepared mustard is rather easy, try making a batch using this recipe. We think you’ll agree that adding your own house-made mustard to your culinary repertoire might just plant the “seed” for many great recipe ideas.

We’ll use method number 2 with brown mustard seeds and yellow mustard powder.

Simple Prepared Mustard

Makes about 2 cups

½  cup brown mustard seeds

1  cup ground yellow mustard powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 tsp ground turmeric (optional)

2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (optional)

1  cup cold water

¼ Cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider or white wine vinegar

  1. Grind the whole mustard seeds for a few seconds in a spice grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Leave the seeds only coarsely ground to give the final prepared mustard some whole seed identity.
  2. Add the ground seeds into a non-reactive (Stainless steel or glass) mixing bowl and add the salt and mustard powder. If you choose to add the turmeric and sweetener, add that as well.
  3. Pour in the water, then mix together well. When everything is incorporated, let this rest for at least 15 minutes, then add the vinegar.
  4. Pour into a glass or plastic container and store in the fridge.
  5. Your mustard will initially seem thin, but fear not, as the liquids are absorbed by the mustard, it will thicken up in a day’s time.

Perhaps the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the mustard to fully mature, which takes at least 2 days.

You’ll be tempted to taste it right away, even the next day, but fair warning, you’ll likely be disappointed because it will taste a bit bitter as the vinegar will just be beginning its to do its transformational “mellowing”.

Having said that, if it’s your first go at it, give it a try right away, and then a few days later. You’ll definitely notice the difference!

Once you’ve made your first batch, you may want to make some tweaks to suit your own personal tastes, or to fit a particular menu item you’ve created.

Among the things you can “experiment with” are:
  • Changing the mustard seeds to powder ratio.
  • Using beer or white wine as all or part of the water
  • Changing the sweetener
  • Adding some “heat”…chopped chiles or horseradish.
  • Adding chopped herbs (tarragon is a very popular option)

Your finished mustard, if stored properly under refrigeration, can last up to a year. Even longer if you process it as you would any canning technique.

Of course, you’ll want to use a great source for your mustard seeds which is why so many Chefs buy their mustard seeds from the Red Goose Spice Company.

If your goal is to eventually make larger batches of mustard, we sell our mustard seeds in any size quantity that suits your seed needs.Prepared 

Spices, Spice Blends and Tips for the BEST Barbecue Chicken.

Barbecued chicken, when done well, is a beautiful thing.

But not every Chef puts the time and effort into making their barbecued chicken EVERYTHING it can be.

Some, think it’s all about their award-winning sauce, when, in effect, that’s only the cherry on the sundae.

What makes a truly exceptional barbecued chicken is focusing on the “ice cream”, that is, the chicken.

No matter if you’re grilling OR barbecuing your chicken, it’s important to remember that unlike some barbecued meats, such as beef and pork, chicken contains very little fat within its tissue, to counterbalance the long slow, or fast hot heat required to bring that internal temperature to the magical 165F needed to fully cook it.

It’s no wonder what so many people complain that their barbecued chicken is dry and or tough.

Of course, the first step in making a delicious, mouth-watering, lick your fingers goodness of a great barbecued chicken, is brining.

This super-hydration of the meat in a solution with salt, a bit of sugar and spices, is, perhaps, your best hedge against dry/tough meat in the end.

Everything from here on out is fighting against you, especially intense, dry heat.

The next best step is pre-seasoning.

The Red Goose Spice Company makes a number of delicious seasoning blends which you can consider, one, being our popular Barbecue Seasoning Rub.

Our recommendation here is to apply is rather liberally and then, allow the chicken pieces to “marinate” for at least 3 to 4 hours in this rub. You may even consider tossing in a bit of oil to this during this time. Not much however, just enough for that bit of oil, plus the juices which will be emitted from the chicken, to give each piece a wet coating.

Again, allow this flavoring to macerate and do its thing.

If you’re wanting to give your chicken a bit of light smoke, do it after this initial marination.

On to cooking.

If you’re smoking your chicken first, in a hot smoker, then your chicken is likely nearly, if not fully cooked through at this point. From there, you can finish the chicken on a rather hot grill, basting your sauce on as you go.

If, however, you’ve smoke them a shorter period of time, in a lower temperature smoker perhaps, then you would want to also set up your finishing grill on a lower temperature, (initially), and without basting them with sauce at first.

Then, once they’re fully cooked, raise the temperature of the grill, and finishing them with your barbecue sauce basting.

If smoking is not part of your method, after brining and then the wet rub marination, all of the initial cooking (from the raw state), can be done either in an oven, or, by Sous Vide if you’re really able to, or, on the grill itself, if it’s set on a low enough temperature at first.

However, barbecuing chicken, from a raw state, from beginning to end on the grill, is, perhaps, the trickiest method, and especially challenging if you’re also cooking for a large group and, on a tight schedule.

One other consideration, is your sauce of choice.

Very sweet barbecue sauces will caramelize/burn on your chicken a bit faster than sauces which are more vinegary and less sweet. That will, with your regulation of the intensity of the heat below, determine when to begin the application of sauce, with sweeter sauces being basted on later in the cooking process.

The end goal, is a piece of barbecued chicken which is both moist and flavorful.

Red Goose Spice, and their parent company Asmus Seasonings, can supply you with choices of both brine mixes as well as a number of barbecue seasonings, for you to choose from to help you make your barbecued chicken EVERYTHING it can be this summer.

Au Gratin Never Tasted SO Good!

Bread crumbs aren’t just bread crumbs anymore, in fact, bread crumbs offer the Chef many opportunities to add a “gratin of greatness” to your dishes.

 

Most Chefs think of bread crumbs as either Plain, Italian or “Japanese” Panko. And their uses, as either a filler (crab cakes or meatloaf for instance), a thickener, usually in soups, such as the classic Tuscan soups Ribolitta and Pappa al Pomodoro, and, of course, as a topping or gratin on casserole dishes, roasted vegetables and pasta dishes.

The classis Gremolata is a perfect example of this.

But as far as the flavorings that are added to bread crumbs, beyond an oil or butter, Chefs usually stick to Italian herbs, garlic, grated cheese, pepper and occasionally, lemon zest.

And that’s all fine and good. Those flavors are amazing.

But there are others, and it’s sometimes the road less traveled makes all the difference in your cuisine.

With that thought in mind, we thought we’d explore that road less traveled to give you a glimpse of some of the ways you might consider your bread crumbs, as an opportunity for creative expression.

All of the suggestions below can be created using plain bread crumbs or plain panko crumbs.

As far as the exact proportions of bread crumbs to spices or to other ingredients, our suggestions are simply a starting point and should be adjusted you your taste so that they appropriately complement whatever product/s that you may be using them with.

For a baseline, we’ll presume approximately 2 cups of bread crumbs as your base and either clarified butter or an oil of your choice, to moisten your crumbs before adding the following:

  • ¼ cup of Peanut Butter Powder or ½ cup of Ground Pistachio Nuts make an interesting gratin over some Thai or Indian inspired casserole dishes or even a chocolate custard with a gratin.
  • 2 cups Shredded Sweetened Coconut. Is a typical coconut mixture used for Coconut Shrimp in a standard breading procedure.
  • 3 TBSP Anchovy, or ¼ cup Katsuobushi /Dried Bonito Flakes or ½ cup Flaked Smoked (Whitefish). Fish are all an unusual but imaginative gratin over seafood pasta dishes. If using the Bonito, a splash of soy sauce and a drizzle is sesame oil in the bread crumbs is a consideration.

  • 1/3 cup Curry Powder in your bread crumbs can be an excellent topping over everything from pasta dishes to a crust on chicken, lamb, pork, beef…you name it. Also as used in a 3-stage standard breading procedure.
  • ¼ cup Chili Powder with ¼ cup Cumin (and Chipotle Powder or Cayenne as desired for some smoke and heat), creates a wonderful Southwest gratin or coating over so many dishes.
  • 1/3 cup Barbecue Seasoning/Rub added to your bread crumbs can be a unique and delicious gratin over a casserole of pulled chicken, black beans, peppers and onions.
  • 1 tablespoon each of freshly grated Orange, Lemon and Lime Zest can be a show stopping crust on grilled or pan-seared fish and complements them beautifully . A pinch or so of Old Bay Seasoning is also a nice touch. We recommend panko crumbs for this one.
  • 2 tbsp Dark Cocoa with 2 tbsp Light Brown Sugar and 1 tsp of Cinnamon as an alternative topping to a Brule when lightly broiled over a vanilla or caramel custard.

The delightful crunch of a flavored bread crumb topping can be one more tool in the Chef’s culinary tool box to help create memorable dishes.

The Red Goose Spice company has all the herb, spice and flavoring essentials to help you turn your inspiration and imagination, into plated realities.

Saffron Alternatives

Let’s begin by stating the obvious.

First, saffron is a wholly unique spice. Nothing tastes “quite” like it and nothing has quite it’s earthy aroma.

On the downside however, it’s also, pound for pound, the most expensive spice in the world.

So expensive that in many kitchens, it’s quite often locked up in one of the Chef’s desk drawers.

And while a little goes a long way, it’s still an expensive proposition when choosing whether you’re or not to prepare an item on your menu that uses it.

The Red Goose Spice Company does of course carry a fine Saffron.

The good stuff.

But we also have some suggestions for you to consider in the event you want to either “stretch” the contribution your saffron makes to a particular recipe, OR, to simply use some recommended “alternative spices” to “imitate” saffron while neither suggesting it, or naming it, as an ingredient on your menu’s offerings.

For instance, just as some Chefs use a fortified stock “base” to enrichen a house made “scratch” stock, or a mid to low-priced wine to add to a braised meat dish instead of a higher priced vintage wine, or using dried herbs versus using fresh herbs, these alternative saffron “options”, offer a Chef multiple choices depending on the intended use and final intended outcome.

First, a short dissertation on saffron itself.

Coming from the Persian word zarparan, which translates into “gold strung”, saffron is a gold to crimson colored stamen of a flower, specifically a Crocus flower.

These stamens are harvested, dried and used for flavor, color and aroma in many dishes.

Although many if not most Chefs believe (or prefer) Spanish saffron in their kitchen, Iran produces the vast majority of saffron in the world.

Saffron’s high cost is due in part to the tremendous amount of labor that it takes to harvest it. It takes approximately 200 thousand stigmas from about 70,000 crocus flowers to yield 1 pound of saffron.

Not all saffron is the same quality or strength. It is graded and classified by quality, color and style, (more red is better).

As mentioned, the crème de la crème of saffron is generally considered to be the Spanish-grown La Mancha saffron, which has PDO protected status which is displayed on the product packaging.

Back to our earlier message regarding alternative spices which can be used to supplement or replace saffron in certain recipes, we emphasize that these suggestions cannot fully replicate saffron’s flavor but rather its appearance, color and a to some degree, its aroma.

They are:

Chili Threads: These slender, thread-like strands of red chili peppers, look nearly indistinguishable from saffron at first glance. They can be used in the same way and in the same dishes that saffron is used. Chili thread’s aroma is earthy and, as you would expect, has a faint aroma of dried chilis. It casts a slight orangish tint to dishes it is used in (such as rice), and, after cooking, its thread shape is reminiscent of saffron.

Turmeric: Often used in curries, in this scenario, turmeric is used primarily for its color. It also adds a slightly woody, slightly warm, bitter, black pepper-like flavor and an earthy, mustard-like aroma. In combination with Chili threads, these 2 spices alone get you in the saffron ball park.

Aleppo Pepper Flakes: Also known as the Halaby chile pepper, it’s named after the Syrian city of Aleppois.

These deep red, mild chili flakes have quite a complex flavor which most describe as slightly fruity, tangy, with hints of raisin, citrus with some background suggestions of tomato.

Similar to the preceding 2 spices, Aleppo Pepper Flakes have a earthiness and a slightly roasted taste.

It does have some heat, but at about 10,000 Scoville Units, it comes in just a bit towards the higher end of jalapenos so use it to add a bit more complexity to your blend, but sparingly, unless you’re wanting the heat to be predominant.

These 3 spices can give you a new opportunities for flavor expressions in many of your existing and possibly some new dishes on your menus.

There is no real blend recipe for these 3 aforementioned spices which can be used to imitate some of saffron signature flavors, colors and aroma. Much of that depends on the specific dish you may be using it in.

Dishes with seafood, tomatoes, wine and other aromatics, can be good opportunities for this experimentation.

One of the classic dishes in the French repertoire is Bouillabaisse from theMarseilles region. This “peasant style” fish and shellfish stew feature the catch of the day and usually contains local “fin fish”, some mollusks and crustaceans.

All swimming in a hearty broth of saffron accented tomatoes, garlic and other ingredients.

Here is a recipe which we hope you’ll enjoy. It can be adapted to be a Bouillabaisse broth-like base for whatever fish and seafood you care to bathe in it.

Mediterranean Style Seafood Sauce / Broth

Yield 1 Quart

½ cup       Vidalia Onion, 1/4″ Diced

1 tablespoon    Garlic, Fresh, Minced

1 tablespoon    Ex. Virgin Olive oil

¼ cup       Green Bell Peppers, Finely chopped

¼ cup       Red Bell Peppers, Fine Chopped

4 oz           Calamari, Finely Chopped

2 oz           Shrimp Peeled & De-veined, Fine Chopped

2 oz           Bay Scallops, Fine Chopped

3 cups      Diced, Canned Tomatoes

2 tablespoons           Tomato Paste

½ cup       Lobster or Seafood Stock (Strong)

¼ cup       Red Wine

3 or 4        Saffron Threads

OR   10 Chili Threads

         ½ teaspoon  Turmeric

         ¼ teaspoon  Aleppo Pepper

¼ tsp        Oregano, Dry

1 tablespoon    Brown Sugar

¾ tsp        Parsley Flakes, Dry

  1. Heat olive oil in sauce pot.
  2. Add onion, then peppers and garlic and sauté on medium heat until softened and transparent.
  3. Add minced calamari, shrimp and scallops and sauté until cooked and opaque.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat for 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Add additional stock as necessary to adjust consistency.
  6. Adjust seasonings (Salt & Pepper, etc.) as necessary to taste.

Exactly What IS Poultry Seasoning?

From early fall and all throughout the winter, you’ll find one particular seasoning in high demand as menus tilt more towards roasts, in particular, roasts of the “bird” kind.

And not only the roasts, but in many cases, the stuffing, dressings and other side dishes that often accompany them.

Although Poultry Seasoning isn’t exactly a “seasonal” seasoning, for all intents and purposes, our expectation of what roasted poultry “taste”, just naturally coincides with the savory flavor of this popular blend of herbs and spices.

Especially at Thanksgiving.

Exactly what is Poultry Seasoning anyway?

To begin, it is of course a seasoning blend, and as such, is always open to interpretation as to not only what specific herbs and spices are used, but in what proportion. Much in the same way curry powder, chili powder or Italian seasoning blends are.

If you’re buying a pre-blended Poultry Seasoning, and find one that you particularly like, stick with it, because it’s quite possible that a different brand will not have the exact same blend formula.

The most common herbs used in this blend are: sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary. The most common spices being: nutmeg and black pepper.

6 basic ingredients. That’s it.

Among the variations to this blend, are using oregano instead of marjoram, (they’re closely related), and, the use of ginger.

You’ll also occasionally see Poultry Seasoning with the add-ins of onion, garlic, parsley, red bell peppers, celery seed, ground coriander, allspice or savory. But again, it’s not all that common.

Of course, poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, squab, quail etc.), isn’t the only protein whose flavor is graced by this popular seasoning. Pork is another center of the plate meat that is closely associated with Poultry Seasoning, and it’s no coincidence that a bread or corn bread stuffing, seasoned with Poultry Seasoning, is a go-to accompaniment with both.

In addition, gravies and sauces which accompany both poultry and pork dishes are often lightly seasoned with this blend.

Another great use for Poultry Seasoning is as a seasoning in flours and batters used for fried chicken, and with roasted vegetables. You’re even seeing it more and more used in fish dishes and with tofu.

You don’t have to buy the pre-blended Poultry Seasoning. It’s quite easy to create your own, or, you can have the Red Goose Spice Company make one exactly to your specifications if your usage complies with our minimums.

How to Make Poultry Seasoning

Sage and thyme are THE 2 key ingredients in this blend, and as such, you want to be sure that BOTH of these herbs are fresh and full of flavor.

This recipe is a volume recipe, as such, if you are using rubbed sage instead of ground sage, or leaf thyme instead of ground thyme, you will need to use nearly twice as much, as it will be less compacted in your measurement container.

You should also consider blending it with a food processor to ensure that all of the particulates distribute throughout the blend equally.

If all of your ingredients are ground, then all you have to do is stir or toss them to give you an equal distribution.

Lastly, after creating your blend, you’ll want to store it in an air-tight container in a cool place, to extend its shelf life.

Poultry Seasoning Recipe

Makes approximately 6 cups

2 Cups        Ground Sage

1 ½ Cups           Ground Thyme

1 Cup          Ground Marjoram

¾ Cup         Ground Rosemary

1/3 Cup              Ground Nutmeg

1/3 Cup              Ground Black Pepper

As mentioned, you can substitute oregano for the marjoram. You can also consider customizing this recipe by adding onion powder, garlic powder or any one of the other herbs or spices we’ve mentioned.

Whether you purchase a finished blend, or create one of your very own, fall is a wonderful opportunity to revisit Poultry Seasoning, one of the most popular seasoning blends in a Chef’s repertoire.

The Red Goose Spice Company is a valuable resource for all of your seasoning needs, whatever the season, and whatever your recipe needs are.

Just where, and how, did Corned Beef get its name?

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, we’ll spare you all of the usual traditional Irish phrases and “corny” or should we say “corned-e” history lessons.

Save one.

Did you know that the word “corned” in reference to the popular curing of meats actually comes NOT from the residents of Cornwall, England, (the Cornish), but, (according to most historians), from the fact that the original meats used in this preservation process, were preserved using, among other ingredients, salt.

Not just any salt, but salt, potassium nitrate, the size of corn kernels.

This corn sized salt is supposedly responsible for the name “corned”.

Interestingly, it’s a phrase actually attributed to the English, not the Irish, even though the Irish were more well known for their salt cured and processed meat recipes.

Of course, today’s recipes still use salt, (most often kosher or sea salt to avoid the iodine taste), but it’s much finer.

We also, nowadays, use a different meat that was originally chosen by both the English and the Irish for “corning”, which was pork.

Usually from the belly.

In England, and throughout Britain, pork was cheap and plentiful for the commoners who prepared this dish.

Beef however, was a luxury.

All that changed when their migration to America began. Beef was more plentiful, and relatively cheap.

The switch was on.

One thing did stay the same. They stuck with the same primal cuts of beef, as they once used from the hog.

That is, the belly or brisket.

Corned beef was here to stay and became the preferred meat for this corned dish, now so closely associated with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.

What about Pastrami?

The difference between corned beef and pastrami.

There are a lot of similarities between corned beef and pastrami but there are some significant differences as well.

Here is a simple explanation:

The similarities are:

  • They come from the same “general” vicinity of the animal (the brisket or belly/navel/deckle/plate area). Corned beef almost exclusively from the brisket cut and pastrami mostly from the plate or navel area).
  • They are both cooked with moist heat (not roasted.)
  • Both are cured.
  • Both make iconic deli sandwiches!

The differences are:

  • Corned beef is boiled or simmered while pastrami is generally steamed.
  • Pastrami is smoked, corned beef is not
  • The seasonings are slightly different, generally, pastrami is a bit more seasoned and uses black pepper prominently.

Whether you enjoy preparing Corned Beef OR Pastrami, one of the things that you can always know is that the Red Goose Spice company not only has all the herbs and spices you need to create both of these amazing and historic dishes, but we carry a Pickling Spice Blend that is just outstanding!

This is no wimpy, off the supermarket shelf, down the middle of the road pickling spice recipe, but instead, chocked full of crushed bay leaves, cinnamon, mustard seed, allspice berries, whole black pepper, coriander, whole chiles, dill seed and whole cloves.

And amazing blend for amazing results.

5 Chef Tips for the BEST Corned Beef In Town!

For most Chef’s, preparing a Corned Beef brisket isn’t something you do every day.

It may actually be something that you only tackle once a year?

These 5 TIPS will give you a great start in making this years Corned Beef Dinner one of the best ever.

The first thing you have to decide is whether you’re buying a pre-cured brisket or, curing one of your own.

If it’s the latter, you’d better start now because typically, a brisket takes at least 7 days to properly cure.

The good news is that the Red Goose Spice Company makes a fabulous Pickling Spice Blend that is simply amazing and it’s our TIP # 1, right out of the gate.

          

From there, consider these 4 additional tips.

Trim your brisket and then totally submerge it throughout the refrigerated curing process, in this curing brine recipe below for a whole, 5-to-6-pound brisket. The optional pink curing salt is not essential.

Corned Beef Brine

1 Gallon            Water

1 1/2 cups         Kosher or Sea salt

1/3  cup             Granulated Sugar

1/3  cup             Light Brown Sugar

1/3 cup              Red Goose Pickling Spice Blend

1 TBSP             Pink Curing Salt / Prague Powder #1 (Sodium Nitrate) Optional.

  1. Place all of the above ingredients in a sauce pot of sufficient size, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Remove from the heat and refrigerate the brine until cold, leaving all the pickling spice in the brining liquid.
  3. Once the brine is cold, place your raw brisket in a non-reactive pan or food service storage container and pour the brine over the brisket to cover. Weight down the brisket so that it stays completely beneath the surface of the brine at all times.
  4. Cover the container and keep it in a secure area of the fridge.
  5. Inspect the brisket daily to be sure it remains beneath the brine. You may turn it over every other day to ensure the brisket is being evenly cured.
  6. Brine for a minimum of 7 days. 10 is even better.

Ok, so, if you’ve “corned” your own brisket, wonderful. Regardless, our # 2 TIP gives you a bit of additional flavor AND color to both the brisket and to your resulting broth.

Once your brisket is cured, rinse off any brine, pat it dry, then add a bit of vegetable oil to a MEDIUM hot pan, or griddle, and sear it on both sides until lightly browned. Nice and slow now, not too hot and don’t let it get too browned.

Remove the brisket from the pan and then sauté a couple of white onions, 2 large carrots and 2 ribs of celery, all cut in 1” to 1 ½” pieces. While sauteing, throw in a few whole garlic cloves at the end. The vegetable should have just a bit of color.

You’re sautéing these vegetable to extract some of their sulfur in the onions (and garlic), which in turn will make the resulting broth a bit better.

So, what are the best ways to cook corned beef brisket?

Depending on the number of briskets you’re cooking and the equipment available to you, you have a number of options at this point.

  1. Sous Vide
  2. Slow Cooker / Crock Pot
  3. Braising (Covered in the Oven)
  4. Range Top Simmering (The Traditional Method)

For all of the above cooking choices, we recommend that you strain the original brine mixture, and save the resulting herbs and spices.

TIP # 3  Rather than using just water and a bit of the spices, to cook the brisket in, consider using ½ water and ½ low sodium beef broth or stock. Other options are apple cider and water.

TIP # 4 Sous Vide is considered to be, by far, the best method of cooking corned beef but unfortunately it has some drawbacks, the first being that you may not even HAVE a Sous Vide device, and even if you do, not one large enough to cook a good size brisket… or 2 or 3.

If you do however, we recommend cutting the briskets in half, placing each half in a sous vide bag, then adding 1 tablespoon of the pickling spice, half of the sauteed vegetables and approximately a cup of the water/broth mixture before vacuuming the bag.

Set your Sous Vide for 180 F and your timer for 10 hours. You should have a tender, succulent and juicy brisket you’ll absolutely love.

A second sous vide option is to simply rinse the brisket after fully brining, then vacuum sealing with no additional garnishment, vegetables, spices OR liquids in the bag.

For the remaining 3 cooking choices, the procedures are pretty much the same.

Place the seared brisket in the crock pot, the stove top pot or in a brasier, add the sauteed vegetables, a tablespoon or two of the pickling spice, then your liquids.

If you choose the crock pot and braising method, you only need enough liquid to barely cover. For the stove top method, you’ll want to have nearly double as it is (generally) uncovered.

Cooking times comparison:

Sous Vide:                        10 Hours at 180 F.

Crock Pot:                         8 hours on a LOW setting to 5 hours on a high setting.

Oven Braising:                 3 to 4 hours at 325 F.

Stove Top Simmering:     3 to 4 hours (simmering in liquids)

Once your corned beef briskets are fully cooked, remove them from the cooking broth and reserve until sliced. The broth itself can be strained and used as a jus or, used to cook the traditional  vegetable garnishes including cabbage, small potatoes, onions and carrots.

Lastly, our # 5 TIP is that you don’t need “Irish Luck” to successfully cook a delicious corned beef brisket dinner this St. Patrick’s Day.

And that’s no blarney.

The Spice Trade’s Big BANG! A Time Line of How it All Got Started.

Scientists agree that our “species” of humans has been walking the earth for at least 100,000 years. And that civilization, as we know it, goes back at least 6 thousand years.

And, not so coincidentally, that’s just about the time of “The Big BANG!”

Of spices that is.

Before that big bang, trees were just trees, bushes just bushes, and no one had any clue, or interest, or knowledge, about just how valuable the bark, leaves, berries, flowers or roots of these plants really were.

Then, for whatever reason, BANG! Humans suddenly discovered their amazing virtues, and we’ve never looked back.

It hasn’t been an easy ride for that pepper to end up in your peppermill.

The spice trade has been part of life, and unfortunately, death.

It’s brought wealth to nations, and it has started wars.

To understand a little bit more about how we got from there to here, below is a snapshot of some of the more important and interesting sign posts along the spice trade path.

Important Dates and Events Along the Spicy Journey to Your Cupboard

When          Where                                          What

BC

5000               Middle East               Evidence of spices being used. Among the first are cinnamon,                                                                     cassia, cardamom, ginger, and turmeric.

4000               Asia/Middle East      The “Silk Road” becomes the most important trade route in the                                                                     world, connecting Asia and the Mediterranean spice Meccas.

3000               Egypt                          Spices used for embalming. Frankincense and myrrh are popular.

Frankincense resin in olive scoop

2000               Arabia                         Monopoly of the spice trade for 2000+ years.

1750               Mesopotamia             Clay tablets found with recipes using garlic, cumin, and coriander.

1000               Palestine                    Use of spices in anointing oil and incenses.

Incense holder with burning charcoal, incense resin, and myrrh

992                 Arabia                         Queen of Sheba brings spices to King Solomon.

500                 Greece                       Importance of spices in diet as a medicine.

200                 China                          Cloves imported from the Spice Islands.

AD

1st Century   Rome                          Extravagant use of spices and development of sea-trade with India,                                                              which lasted 3 centuries.

330                 Constantinople          Becomes a trading metropolis, Nutmeg and cloves brought to                                                                        Europe for the first time from Moluccan (Spice) Islands

500                 Arabia                        Controlled spice trade until the Middle Ages.

1100               Europe                       Crusades stimulated interest in spices.

1200               England                     Guild of Pepperers established; merged with the Spicers.

1250               Europe                       Spices regarded as aphrodisiacs.

1300               Italy                            Marco Polo’s book stimulates interest in Oriental spices.

1350               Europe                       Spices used as medicines & fumigants during The Black Death.

1350               Italy                           Venice and Genoa now begin to control the spice trade.

1400               England                     The Spicers’ Guild becomes the Grocer’s Company.

1450               Turkey                        Controls spices; forced other sea route discoveries.

1450               Spain                         Columbus finds spices in the Caribbean islands.

1500               Portugal                     Controls spice trade after Vasco da Gama sails to India.

1500               England                     It’s said that dockworkers now paid bonuses in cloves!

1500               Holland                      The Dutch and English East India Companies come on the scene                                                                and compete with Portugal for world spice trade dominance.

1521               Spain                          Magellan’s expedition circumnavigates the globe.

1525               Italy                            Venice’s spice wealth helps finance the Renaissance.

1550               England                     Drake circumnavigates globe; imports spices to England.

1600               Holland                      Gradually takes the Spice Islands from Portugal in an attempt to                                                                  monopolize spice trading.

1600               Spain                         Competes for spice trade.

1650               Holland                      Controls spice trade from East Indies.

1700               Ceylon                        Coffee trees planted; later, grown in Brazil.

1700                Europe                       Coffee, chocolate and tobacco favored over spices.

1750               Holland                      Destroys spices to try and create price increases.

1800               England                     Takes over the Spice Islands, briefly.

1800               America                     Pepper trade with East Indies makes millionaires in Salem, MA.

1850               Europe                       Spices decrease in significance a sugar becomes favored flavor.

1900               World                         Dietary fashions change; spices decrease in cost and importance.

 

Sources: UCLA History & Special Collections Library, CABI Digital Library (The Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture).

 

Of course, nowadays you don’t have to form an army, or live a privileged life to afford or have your choice of the huge variety of herbs and spices available to you at the Red Goose Spice Company.

You don’t even have to own a ship; we’ll ship them to you!

Simply pick up the phone and give us a call.

5 Amazing Spice Blends That Will Change the Way You Cook in 2023!

Even Chefs get stuck in a seasoning rut once in a while.

We tend to fall in love with OUR favorite recipes.

The tried-and-true favorites we often call them.

And while our favorite recipes are great…you can’t go back to that well too many times without eventually creating a “stale” menu.

Even without realizing it.

The phrase “variety is the spice of life,” has never rang truer than when it comes to deciding what should be on your future menus, and when to consider “retiring” some “old favorites” to make room for some NEW favorites in 2023.

Yes, there will always be a few customers that will perhaps lament about losing a dish that they love, but consider the fact that they may also be one of the many customers that are desperately trying to get out of their time-share resorts.

First experiences can be magical, and for a while it’s THE “thing.” But sometimes, the magic just wears off.

People, whether they admit it or not, do like some variety.

With that said, we’d like to give you some “spicy” options that you may never have tried, to head you on a new course this year.

Five seasoning blends that just might change the way you cook in 2023.

Not surprisingly, most of these blends are from the ancient HOME of spice blends, namely the Middle East.

Even if your customers aren’t necessarily big into traditional Middle Eastern fare, don’t let that deter you. Most all of the spices that make up these blends are ones that your customers are VERY familiar with, including savory spices like cumin, coriander, paprika, fennel, and marjoram as well as sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.

Adding a bit of these unique spice blends to your current or future recipes can add an enormous range of interesting flavors in your culinary arsenal this year.

Dare to be bold.

Let’s start with…

Ras el Hanout

Most commonly found in the cuisine of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.

Kasbah of the Udayas in Rabat, the capital of Morocco

Ras el Hanout translates from Arabic into English as “head of the house.” Meaning it’s the best and highest quality blend a seller has to offer.

Similar to curry powder, the recipe of herbs and spices that make Ras el Hanout, as well as their ratio to one another, can vary from shop to shop. You can however, expect to see the “usual suspects” such as: cardamom, black pepper, cumin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, chili peppers, coriander, fenugreek, paprika, turmeric, and coriander seed to be in most all of the blends.

Safe to say, that unless you go to the trouble of making your own blend “in-house,” it’s best to find one to buy that you like and stick with it. Especially when you consider that many traditional recipes use more than 4 dozen herbs and spices in their recipes!

Of course, as you might expect, Red Goose has created a traditional blend what we think you will thoroughly enjoy.

Ras el Hanout is pretty much a 50/50 sweet and savory spice blend with a mild amount of heat, if any at all. Its complex flavor is typically used as a meat or a fish rub in specialty dishes.

Moroccan roasted root vegetables: parsnip and carrot with Ras el Hanout .

It’s also added to pasta or rice as a flavoring, and stews and meat casseroles cooked in a tagine.

Harissa Spice Blend

The main ingredient in Harissa is chiles, so it’s no wonder that this North African spice blend was created by this region after chiles were introduced there in the 14thcentury by spice traders.

Spicy hot, is probably the best way to describe Harissa.

You’ll often find it used as a condiment when it is pureed with olive oil and/or water. Considering its name derives from the Arabic term meaning “to crush, grind, or puree,” it’s quite often how this spice blend is used, as it creates a condiment similar to sriracha and Tabasco sauce.

The dry Harissa blend is also used as a meat rub (especially kabobs), and as a flavoring in stews, soups, vegetables, and rice dishes.

Its flavor is considered to be spicy, peppery and a bit smoky and its typical ingredients include more savory than sweet spices which include: chili peppers, coriander, paprika, red pepper, dehydrated garlic, salt, cinnamon, caraway and ginger.

Biryani Spice Blend

Biryani spice is named after the rice dish called biryani, developed by the Muslims of South Asia. This dish eventually spread throughout India, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Similar to how curry powder came into being, the blend, represented the usual combination of individual herbs and spices used to make Biryani, and if you buy the blend, it makes the final preparation much easier.

While the ingredients and their proportions vary from region to region, the most common ones are: fennel seeds, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint, ginger, dried onions, green chiles, star anise, allspice, and garlic.

As is true with curry powder, once again there are many spice blend recipes for Biryani, and they all differ according to their region and all with different pre-fix names as a result.

Indian Chicken Biryani served in a terracotta bowl with yogurt over white background. selective focus

For example:

Sindhi biryani, which is popular in Pakistan.

Hyderabadi biryani: This biryani is one of India’s most popular types of biryani.

Malabar biriyani: From the Indian state of Kerala.

Calcutta/Kolkata biryani, likewise from Calcutta

Ambur biryani: From the leather-tanning city in Tamil Nadu

Lucknowi biryani: Based on the Persian cooking style.

Mughlai biryani: With cheese curd, chicken, almond paste, ghee, dry fruits, and green chilies.

Zahtar Seasoning

More savory spiced than sweet spiced, Zahtar or Za’atar Seasoning (not to be confused with the herb za’atar, a wild, mint-related herb similar to oregano and marjoram), is a mainstay seasoning blend popular all over the Middle East.

Once again, and forgive me if you’ve heard this story before, its recipe varies from region to region adding or subtracting various herbs as spices to satisfy the tastes and traditions of the locals.

While the original recipe does call for the use of the za’atar herb, its not easy to find. So more often than not, the recipes use thyme, oregano, or marjoram as a substitute.

The other key components in Zahtar are sesame seeds and sumac while still others add: dill, savory, cumin, fennel, coriander, orange peel, caraway seed, cinnamon, allspice, hyssop, and even rose buds!

Being a more “savory” flavored seasoning, Zahtar can be used in so many ways, such as: a meat rub, in hummus, as a topping on crusted breads, and even in salads and salad dressings.

It is however, recommended that if using Zahtar seasoning in a cold dish recipe, that it first be “bloomed” by adding it to a heated oil to help release its full flavor potential before then adding it to the recipe.

Berbere Spice Blend

Translated to “pepper” or “hot,” you’ll love this 5th century Ethiopian spice blend used in its national dish Doro Wat, which is a spicy chicken stew, or, perhaps mixed with oil, mead, or red wine to make a condiment called awaze.

Made from key ingredients such as: red chili peppers, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, cardamom, allspice, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and some lesser-known spices grown in that region such as korarima, ajwain, and long pepper, its complex flavor is known as slightly spicy with warm notes of citrus.

The Ethiopian traditional, delicious Derek tibs meat dish

Berbere is also used as a meat rub, in braised casserole dishes, and when used as awaze, as a dipping condiment for breads.

Other honorable spice blends to try this year are: Tandoori Seasoning Blend, Herbs de Provence, Garam Masala, and Rosemary Rotisserie Marinade Seasoning

Of course, ALL of these seasoning blends are readily available at the Red Good Spice Company and we hope that you’ll take the opportunity to try one or all of these amazing seasoning blends as you create some of your NEW favorite dishes of 2023!

Make Your OWN Prepared Mustard!

Prepared mustard.

It’s in nearly every fridge or pantry in the modern world and used in, or on, thousands of dishes ranging from the classic and iconic, to today’s contemporary recipes.

The list is simply exhausting!

Salad dressings, sauces, deviled eggs, potato salad, beef, lamb, pork, seafood, and of course, on our beloved hot dogs.

Yet as ubiquitous as prepared mustard around the world, it’s a recipe rarely made in our homes, or, in professional kitchens?

Why is that?

Because it’s beyond simple to make.

Mustard surely gets enough love otherwise. In fact, there are numerous festivals all around the world extolling mustard’s culinary virtues.

From Napa Valley, California to Berlin, Germany, mustard festivals are held each year and feature famous dozens of contests.

Famous Chefs at these events offer demonstrations, and there are numerous opportunities to feast on fabulous dishes using mustard in every imaginable way.

How is prepared mustard made?

Let’s look at how a prepared mustard recipe is made. Maybe, along the way, you’ll discover that it’s something you’d really enjoy making in your kitchen.

“House” prepared mustard is a pretty impressive (and very simple) way to add a distinctive and artisanal flair to your menus.

The basic ingredients needed to make mustard can be as simple as mustard and a liquid. The method however, can done in one of 2 ways.

  • Soak the whole seeds in the liquid, then blend or grind the mustard seeds into a paste. Or,
  • Grind the seeds to the desired fineness BEFORE adding your liquids. The additional grinding afterwards isn’t necessary.

Chemistry in action.

There’s a lot of chemical stuff going on when you make mustard.

The “heat, or bite” that comes from prepared mustard is within the seeds, and then it reacts with the liquids. So, breaking the seeds open is a part of the process.

It’s already been done for you with powdered mustard but it’s something you must do if you’re also using whole seeds.

Spicy or mild?

Temperature “heat”, (even hot water) negates much of the chemical reaction that give you the “spicey heat” component in prepared mustards.

If you want a mustard with more of a “bite” you should use cold water.

Warm water also works, but gives you more of a “mild” mustard reaction and flavor.

Using water alone, generally only gives you a few days (or less) of great mustard flavor. This can, (and should) be “stabilized”, by adding an acid (such as vinegar, lemon juice or horseradish) and some salt.

It also gives you that traditional taste, that most people love and accept.

Which seeds?

Three seeds used to make mustards, they are: white, brown and black.

The white mustard plant, actually makes the mustard seeds that we call yellow, and they make a very pale-yellow powder, not the bright yellow you see in the bottle. They also make a rather mild mustard while, brown and black mustard, are a bit more “robust” in flavor.

The yellow “salad” mustard you see in your grocery store is typically made with the yellow seeds from the white mustard plant with turmeric spice added for color.

The ingredient statement on a bottle of Heinz mustard reads: DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR, MUSTARD SEED, WATER, SALT, TURMERIC, NATURAL FLAVOR AND SPICES.

Brown mustard seeds are found in many premium prepared mustards including the popular Grey Poupon brand.

Black mustard seeds (called rai) are the most pungent and the least common seed to be found in American mustards but they are popular in Southern Indian cuisines.

Many people who enjoy making prepared mustards for their kitchen prefer to use at least 2 mustard seed varieties to create a more “complex” flavor.

A common combination is a hand or machine ground, brown seed, with a white (or yellow mustard powder added as a base).

Making your prepared mustard.

Since making a prepared mustard is rather easy, try making a batch using this recipe. We think you’ll agree that adding your own house-made mustard to your culinary repertoire might just plant the “seed” for many great recipe ideas.

We’ll use method number 2 with brown mustard seeds and yellow mustard powder.

Simple Prepared Mustard

Makes about 2 cups

½  cup brown mustard seeds

1  cup ground yellow mustard powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 tsp ground turmeric (optional)

2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (optional)

1  cup cold water

¼ Cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider or white wine vinegar

  1. Grind the whole mustard seeds for a few seconds in a spice grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Leave the seeds only coarsely ground to give the final prepared mustard some whole seed identity.
  2. Add the ground seeds into a non-reactive (Stainless steel or glass) mixing bowl and add the salt and mustard powder. If you choose to add the turmeric and sweetener, add that as well.
  3. Pour in the water, then mix together well. When everything is incorporated, let this rest for at least 15 minutes, then add the vinegar.
  4. Pour into a glass or plastic container and store in the fridge.
  5. Your mustard will initially seem thin, but fear not, as the liquids are absorbed by the mustard, it will thicken up in a day’s time.

Perhaps the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the mustard to fully mature, which takes at least 2 days.

You’ll be tempted to taste it right away, even the next day, but fair warning, you’ll likely be disappointed because it will taste a bit bitter as the vinegar will just be beginning its to do its transformational “mellowing”.

Having said that, if it’s your first go at it, give it a try right away, and then a few days later. You’ll definitely notice the difference!

Once you’ve made your first batch, you may want to make some tweaks to suit your own personal tastes, or to fit a particular menu item you’ve created.

Among the things you can “experiment with” are:
  • Changing the mustard seeds to powder ratio.
  • Using beer or white wine as all or part of the water
  • Changing the sweetener
  • Adding some “heat”…chopped chiles or horseradish.
  • Adding chopped herbs (tarragon is a very popular option)

Your finished mustard, if stored properly under refrigeration, can last up to a year. Even longer if you process it as you would any canning technique.

Of course, you’ll want to use a great source for your mustard seeds which is why so many Chefs buy their mustard seeds from the Red Goose Spice Company.

If your goal is to eventually make larger batches of mustard, we sell our mustard seeds in any size quantity that suits your seed needs.Prepared